Wyatt wants Winnipeg to generate and sell solar power

Coun. Russ Wyatt wants Winnipeg to create a new arm's-length corporation that will generate solar power and sell it back to Manitoba Hydro.

Transcona councillor pitches new arm's-length green-energy corporation

This 60-kilowatt system at FortWhyte Alive generates enough solar power to provide half of the electricity consumed at its farms. Coun. Russ Wyatt wants Winnipeg to set up a solar-power corporation of its own. (CBC)

Coun. Russ Wyatt wants Winnipeg to create a new arm's-length corporation that will generate solar power and sell it back to Manitoba Hydro.

The Transcona councillor has authored a motion to create a new non-profit entity to set up solar farms on city property, sell solar power and promote the benefits of green energy.

"We have a lot of land, a lot of buildings that we own and we also are major contributors to greenhouse gases," Wyatt said in a telephone interview Tuesday, explaining the rationale for a corporation he'd like to call the Winnipeg Green Energy Organization.

"We're really behind the 8-ball here in Manitoba when it comes to adopting other forms of energy production. Largely it's because our energy has been relatively cheap. But as you know, Manitoba Hydro is looking to increase their rates. I think we have to look at alternative forms of energy for that reason as well as for the good of the environment."

Wyatt said the city can fund this new corporation using $200,000 in annual energy savings from the use of LED traffic lights.

Transcona Coun. Russ Wyatt says Winnipeg has to offset its carbon emissions. (Daniel Igne-Jajalla/CBC News)

Winnipeg has experience setting up arm's-length corporations, he said, pointing to the creation of the Winnipeg Housing Rehabilitation Corporation in the 1970s.

Wyatt plans to submit his motion, seconded by Mynarski Coun. Ross Eadie, to city council Wednesday. It will be referred automatically to executive policy committee.

Wyatt said he's told Mayor Brian Bowman's office about the motion and hopes it will receive support.