Summerside's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions noted in report

The city of Summerside, P.E.I., is being praised in a national report highlighting ways for Canada to reduce its carbon footprint.

Lack of social and political will is hampering more efforts to reduce emissions

Summerside's use of wind energy is recognized in national report on what is being done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)

The city of Summerside, P.E.I., is being praised in a national report highlighting ways for Canada to reduce its carbon footprint. 

The recognition comes after a team of 71 university researchers, including some at the University of Prince Edward Island, released a report late Thursday. 

The report suggests that the technology is available for Canada to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets.

But Matthew Hall, an assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Design Engineering at UPEI, points out that what is lacking is social and, in some cases, political will. 

Hall says Summerside is a great example of a city that meets the targets by using an innovative storage solution so it can get up to half of its electricity from its wind farm. 

Achievement is possible

"That's quite a bit more than average for P.E.I.," he said. "The reason they can do that is because of those storage devices in their homes and the Smart Grid connections that tell the storage devices when there's excess power to store energy, when there's a shortage to not absorb the energy at those times, things like that." 

The report also points to Germany which has a renewable energy act that has allowed almost half the country's electricity to be generated by home-owners and farmers instead of utilities.

Hall said the overall message of the report is to show that it's possible to achieve what countries are trying to do in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 

"The challenges we need to tackle in doing so are less technical and more in terms of just implementation," said Hall. 

With files from Laura Chapin