PEI

New P.E.I. energy strategy doesn't 'go far enough'

The energy critic for the P.E.I. Green Party, Steve Howard, was hoping for more action items in the province's new energy strategy released Friday.

'It's hard to comment on with just something loosely out there'

Steve Howard says P.E.I. is a long ways behind in taking action on climate change. (Submitted by Green Party of PEI)

The energy critic for the P.E.I. Green Party, Steve Howard, was hoping for more action items in the province's new energy strategy released Friday.

The strategy's goals include reducing electricity use by two per cent each year through energy efficiency, building two new wind farms, encouraging the use of more electric vehicles and more.

"Those are all fantastic, but I do not believe they go far enough," said Howard.

"We're a long ways behind the ball when it comes to taking action on climate change ... we need some drastic action."

Howard hoped the province would commit to make the Island's electricity grid into a smart grid that could allow for more efficient use of electricity, including smart appliances that can be shut down in high-use times and off-peak-pricing that encourages people to switch activity to lower-use times.

'Complete missed opportunity'

"I think this has the potential to be successful, if we can successfully engage the public in a shift away from centralized power generation to a distributed smart grid. Every rooftop has the potential to be a generator and every basement has the potential to be battery backup for the grid," he said.

"It's complete missed opportunity in this energy strategy."

The strategy does commit to exploring a smart grid, and the department confirms a request for proposals is out right now for policy direction on the issue. 

"I'm glad it's out there but I think it's long, long overdue," said Howard.

"We can just look at other jurisdictions and see the path forward. Putting an RFP out to say 'What do you think we should do about a smart grid?' doesn't seem like it's forward-thinking enough for me."

The RFP to explore how a smart grid could work for P.E.I. closes March 29. 

With files from Laura Chapin

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