NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton said today if he becomes the province’s next premier he’d expand renewable energy projects throughout the province.
Flanked by former energy minister Tim Sale, Ashton said he’d double the number of geothermal installations on First Nations to 300 per year and install 100 rooftop solar systems in the province. It would include 50 electricity-producing solar panels and 50 solar thermal units to heat water.
Ashton also said he’d establish a target of 20 megawatts of power to be produced from community wind farms in several communities.
“It’s a win for us as a province because it provides a renewable energy source that is also very cost effective,” Ashton said. “If you look at the shifting cost structures and the shifting potential in terms of alternatives to fossil fuels, we want to make sure we’re front and centre.”
The Thompson MLA added that as premier he would provide support to social enterprises to produce and distribute healthy food such as vegetables in northern and remote First Nations.
Sale said he supported Ashton because of Ashton’s commitment to improving First Nations.
“He was always a person of integrity,” Sale said. “Whenever I had an argument with him we had an argument and when the argument was over, it was over. He was always the kind of colleague that you could say anything to and at the end of the day you could have a beer with.”
Ashton also garnered the support of Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson.
Ashton, Hudson and Sale were also joined at today’s announcement by Shaun Loney of the Social Enterprise Center. Loney is working with Peguis and Garden Hill First Nations on alternative energy and food projects.
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