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Former Fort Macleod resident offers energy help

A former Fort Macleod resident reached out to her old community with an offer to help with solar and energy efficiency projects.
Stephanie Ripley wrote town council in her role as project co-ordinator with the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre in Edmonton.
“The centre’s mandate is to assist municipalities in mitigating the effects of climate change through providing funding, technical support and education,” Ripley wrote. “We currently have a number of rebate programs open for applications.”
Ripley’s letter, which she sent to councillors Gord Wolstenholme and Kristi Edwards, was on the agenda of council’s June 24 meeting at the G.R. Davis Administration Building.
Ripley told the councillors she has been thinking about Fort Macleod since she started with the centre last January.
“With the large roof areas, and high energy use, of the arena and pool facilities, both solar PV and energy conservation measures would be great initiatives to look at for reducing costs to operate the facility,” Ripley wrote.
The centre runs the Alberta Municipal Solar Program and the Recreation Energy Conservation Program.
The two programs help reduce costs of installing solar PV and making other energy-saving improvements to recreation facilities.
Ripley also told council the centre just launched the Municipal Energy Manager Program to fund 80 per cent of the cost of a dedicated energy manager’s salary up to $80,000.
That program is meant to help communities that don’t have staff capacity to make an energy action plan.
“This position can also be shared across a few smaller municipalities, which may be a great option for Fort Macleod,” Ripley noted.
Raymond has implemented solar systems funded by the centre’s programs.
“I’d love to see Fort Macleod join the list of municipalities taking advantage of the current funding available,” Ripley added.
Ripley’s letter caught the attention of Coun. David Orr, who suggested the Town of Fort Macleod look into what the centre has to offer.
“I’ve long thought we need to be looking at options for moving to less of a carbon footprint and get a little bit of savings in the process,” Orr said.
Orr suggested Town of Fort Macleod administration could connect with Ripley to discuss the available options further.
Orr suggested Fort Macleod could pursue partnerships with Claresholm and other neighbouring communities.
Town of Fort Macleod chief administrative officer Sue Keenan agreed with Ripley’s assessment that changes could be made at the arena.
“We haven’t had that conversation yet, but we will,” Keenan said.