something going on in Southeast New Brunswick. The tingle's in the air.
They're setting up offices in Halifax, Sackville, and Fredericton. They're
sending their reps from Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, California, and Texas.
They're hiring real estate agents; they're meeting with the MPs, MLAs,
Town Councils, and community environmental groups. They're hiring
self-proclaimed experts in the field to make maps, take measurements,
assess the resource, examine the red tape, push through the morass of
bureaucracy so they can exploit the riches of New Brunswickers, once
wind turbine built
by Hervé Richard, Memramcook,
currently undergoing improvements
for this winter's winds
(photo: David Belliveau)
This time it's not trees, it's not minerals, it's not oil and gas, it's
not water, it's not even housing developments or malls. They're in a 21st
century style gold rush. But instead of gold, the resource is something
that blows through all of our back yards, all of our neighbourhoods, all
of our fields and farms.
This newest "gold rush" is to exploit our wind. New Brunswickers
are obviously unaware of the value of the wind resource. That's why we
need all of these developers and investors from Toronto, Calgary, and
Texas to come here and show us how it's done.
They've done it before in other parts of the world; they've designed
their own methods, they know what hurdles have to be overcome. They know
how to market their ideas to communities. They tell everyone, "Who in
their right mind would be against Renewable Energy generated from the
wind? Just let us do it for you and you'll see how great things will
Of course renewable energy from the wind is a noble undertaking. Any
type of renewable energy production is great. Retired Westinghouse
electrical wizard Hervé Richard, a renewable energy pioneer from
Memramcook, put it best years ago when he said, "Let's use the sun,
the wind, the rain, the tides, the natural heat of the earth - but let's
not use anything up!".
And that's the point. We have the expertise right here in New
Brunswick. We have engineers, we have project managers, we have
construction firms, we have people who are passionate about generating and
using renewable energy. We have landowners, we have financial experts, we
have legal experts, we have all the pieces of the puzzle for wind energy
development right here in New Brunswick. All we need now is to put the
puzzle pieces together.
In Southeast New Brunswick, two intertwined
organizations are doing just that.
EOS Eco-Energy and RenewCo-op.
These two organizations exist because the founders know that all the
expertise that's needed to generate electricity from our commonly held
renewable resources is right here in our region. Do we need, or do we
really want, corporate interests from away to derive the majority of the
benefits from harnessing the wind? Do we realize that since the wind blows
through all of our back yards, it isn't something that can be owned by a
company from Calgary? It can't owned by a developer from Ottawa or Texas.
Wind is something that we all have lived with for ages, and now that it's
worth something, should we be sending the value of that resource into the
pockets of corporate investors that don't live here, have never lived
here, and most likely have no intention of ever living here?
View of the Vestas 90
from North Cape in PEI
(photo: David Belliveau)
EOS Eco-Energy is an organization that was created to ensure that the
Tantramar region and surrounding regions would become a model that is
known for energy conservation and energy production from renewable
resources. EOS Eco-Energy would join communities together to bring this
vision to reality. EOS Eco-Energy would develop a model template for the
communities to pave the way for Renewable Energy development. From that
model template, the members of EOS Eco-Energy then realized that there's
great opportunity for community economic development in the generation of
energy from renewable resources. Thus, RenewCo-op was born.
RenewCo-op was created in partnership with EOS Eco-Energy to perform
the development activities that are required for renewable energy
generation. This co-operative, comprised of community members from
Memramcook, Sackville, Fort Folly First Nation, Dorchester, Port Elgin,
Baie Verte, and all the villages and local service districts in the
region, would ensure that when renewable energy is being developed in the
region, it is being done with the blessing of the people of that region.
A corporate developer coming in to exploit our commonly held wind
resource can only impose the will of its shareholders on the communities
affected. A co-operative comprised of all the community members who wish
to join will be carrying out the will of the community. That's the big
difference. That's the opportunity. That's the way resource development is
kept under control. That's the way the community members can achieve the
most benefit from the development of resources in their region.
Wind energy generation requires a great deal of capital to get underway.
That's the perceived advantage of corporate wind development companies.
They have designed their system to access the capital first and then use
that capital to amass access rights to a resource they wish to exploit.
RenewCo-op doesn't yet have that capital, but it does have access to the
resource that will be harvested. The corporate developers have the
capital, but they don't yet have access to the resource.
EOS Eco-Energy and RenewCo-op will work together, supporting each other
in keeping as much of the access to the resource in the hands of the
people that live here. RenewCo-op will offer investment shares to raise
the capital. Renew Co-op may choose the most accommodating developer to
partner in the development of the resource, or it may perform all of the
development work in-house. In the end, there will be no room for corporate
developers who think that they can exploit the wind that runs through all
of our back yards without the community deriving the most opportunity from