The town of Taber is looking at achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
The discussions are still in the preliminary stages but Mayor Andrew Prokop says the future is looking bright.
“It’s more than just a trend,” he said. “It’s the new way of the future, and it’s something that we seriously should be looking into and potentially looking at for the betterment of our community and area.”
Net-zero carbon emission is when an economy emits no greenhouse gas emissions or offsets its emissions, such as by planting trees.
A few months ago, Prokop and Taber councillors went on a tour of the town of Raymond.
Raymond went net-zero about two years ago.
“It was a wise decision we made, and it’s going to be a great payoff,” said Mayor Jim Depew. “Great dividends in the future.”
Marcus Campbell, owner and operator of renewable energy company Terralta, was a contractor for the Raymond municipal solar program.
“They really are a flagship municipality for our entire province,” he said. “They jumped in both feet, a lot of forward-thinking, like-minded individuals on that council. It was a great experience.”
In Raymond, all municipal buildings and street lights are solar-powered.
Campbell presented to Taber’s city council last week about what could be done in their town.
“It’s important for us to look into this seriously,” said Prokop. “At this stage, we haven’t committed to anything just yet, but I think it’s really an important venture to look into.”
Campbell said a big reason many people make the switch is the cost.
“The cost of solar has decreased significantly in the 15-plus years that we’ve been involved,” he said. “It’s becoming more cost-effective every day.”
“Energy costs are going up as always, any given year. The potential is endless of where that could go,” said Prokop.
According to Campbell, southern Alberta is the perfect place to harvest solar power.
“It’s a good fit for many of the municipalities in southern Alberta,” he said. “We are home to some of the best solar potential in all of Canada and pretty high up on the world stage.
“There’s a great opportunity. We can harvest a ton of energy with this great sun resource that we have in southern Alberta, so I think it’s something that’s top of mind for a lot of people these days.”
It is a concept that appears to be top of mind for Prokop.
“It seems to me it’s beyond a trend and a sign of the times,” he said. “It’s the future.”