At the 2021 Blue Skies Awards, presented by the Parkland
s Airshed Management Zone (PAMZ), Lacombe County was recognized with an award for Environmental Stewardship. This award recognizes the County’s long-time commitment to environmental stewardship, including the recent completion of the solar panel project.
“We are honoured to be recognized with a 2021 Blue Skies Award for our solar project, as well as many other environmental initiatives and activities that we have completed over the years, “said Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law. “We recognize the impact that organizations like PAMZ have on the health and environment in our region.”
Blue Skies Award recipients were recognized at the virtual awards ceremony on Clean Air Day, June 2, 2021. These awards highlight achievements in technology use/innovation, environmental protection activities, public education/outreach.
About the Solar Panel Project
The Solar Panel Project was in the works for several years. This spring, the panels were installed on top of the Lacombe County Public Works building by Sky Fire Energy and went online in May 2021.
The 115 kilowatt-peak (kWp) system consists of 288 – 400 W solar panels and is estimated to produce 122,100 kWh of electricity in the first year, which equates to powering 17 Albertan homes for a year. This will:
- offset our electricity usage between the administration and shop buildings by 17% annually; and,
- reduce the County’s overall carbon footprint by approximately 69.5 tonnes/year.
The County participated in a rebate program through the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre, which will cover 30% of the project costs. Through this rebate and the cost savings on our electricity bills, the system is expected to have a return on investment within 8-9 years.
“A project such as this enshrines Lacombe County’s commitment to ensure a healthy environment for generations to come,” emphasized Reeve Law.
About Lacombe County’s Environmental R
In 2013, Lacombe County implemented the environmental policy, which solidified our organization’s long history of commitment to the environment. Since then, the County has completed numerous initiatives through the environmental program and recently released an updated Environmental Management Plan (EMP).
The EMP focuses on five priority areas, which ensures Lacombe County keeps the environment at the forefront of our actions and decisions each day. These priorities include:
- Water Quality and Security
- Waste Creation and Disposal
- Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
- Energy Consumption
- Land Use in the Built and Natural Environment
Additional environmental initiatives include:
- Reclamation of Crooker Wetland (former gravel pit) (2017)
- Implementation of the Environmental Community Engagement Program (previously known as the Environmental Improvement Grant)
- Support and maintenance of local natural areas
- Remote shop construction (reduces the travel of equipment and powered partially by solar energy) (2016)
- Focus on agriculture and environment in the revised Municipal Development Plan (2017)
- Partnerships with neighbouring municipalities/groups on items like Take It Off Program for ice fishing huts, Agricultural Plastics Recycling Program, lakeside clean up events, etc.