Oxford County, Ontario, has just opened a wind farm as part of a project to go 100% renewables for electricity and heat. Craig Morris visited the project, which could become a role model for the entire country.
“You are doing something special,” José Etcheverry tells a group of locals at an informal town hall meeting in Woodstock, the regional seat of Oxford County. “Yours is the first 100% renewable community project east of Vancouver,” he says with a smile. It’s a polite way of saying this is the only such project in the country.
At the same time, the county will not ban fossil fuels. Instead, consumption would be offset by renewable energy production to produce net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
A professor of environmental studies at York University, Etcheverry helped get the Oxford County project moving, as the website Smart Energy Oxford acknowledges. Now, he wants to make sure as many Canadians as possible hear about it. But it’s an uphill battle. “When the wind farm was inaugurated recently, no one from the media was here,” says Kris Stevens, an energy consultant and former head of the Ontario Sustainable Energy Association (OSEA).
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