The first presentation of the English Speaker Series 2017 at Arbor Gallery on Saturday, February 4, confronts the controversial topic of local renewable energy installations head-on.

David Mazur-Goulet, Communications Manager of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative, will present the details of a new cooperative solar energy project recently unveiled by the Township of Alfred-Plantagenet.

“Keeping energy dollars close to home is an important challenge if we wish to live in prosperous communities with strong local economies. Community-owned renewable energy helps us face that challenge head on,” says Mr. Goulet, in a press release from the Speaker Series organizers.

Local residents have the opportunity to join in a democratic cooperative venture that promises a decent rate of return on investment and guarantees local control, while offering the benefits associated with cooperative ownership of the new solar energy installation. Construction of a new 500 kW ground mounted solar power project is slated to begin this year in Alfred. Financed by hundreds of residents of Eastern Ontario, this community owned project is a first in Prescott Russell.

Recently, the topic of renewable energy has provoked controversial discussion around energy development in Eastern Ontario. Slogans on the roadsides throughout the countryside represent divergent and divisive views.

Hand-painted and printed signs read: “Solar: Not on Prime Farm Land,” “Say ‘no’ to Wind Farms,” “This Land is Our Land,” “Farmers Feed Cities,” “We Need Trees.” The proposed Energy East Pipeline and Colacem cement plant have inspired protests that provoke heated discussions concerning climate change, energy consumption, and environmental pollution.

Join in a discussion on community-owned power and the new Alfred project at Arbor Gallery in Vankleek Hill (36 Home Avenue) on Saturday February 4 at 7:30 p.m. Your $10 admission of $10 includes refreshments provided by Golden Hill Juices. For more information, please call 613-678-5086 or write to [email protected]