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Wind Projects as tailwind for African Nova Scotian community

May, 11th 2022

SWEB Development announces Social Program Partnership with Scotia Winds of Change Foundation 

“Those Projects will indeed bring a wind of change to our community”, explain Dr. Ronald Milne and Mario Rolle. The two men were approached in June 2021 by Halifax based renewable energy developer SWEB Development. The company’s request: Find ways to ensure that people of African ancestry living in Nova Scotia are able to participate in the benefits deriving from SWEB’s wind energy developments in the Province. Milne and Rolle didn’t have to think twice.

Dr. Milne was recently awarded the 2021 Nova Scotia Human Rights Award in recognition of his commitment to advancing access to equitable healthcare within African Nova Scotian communities. Mario Rolle is a social worker, wellness navigator and major driving force when it comes to dismantling systemic racism by reducing barriers to mental health care for men of African descent, and their families.

In furtherance of the values and activities lived and put in place by Milne, Rolle and other active members of the African Nova Scotian community in the health system, the idea was born to join forces with SWEB. The goal: Make sure underrepresented groups in the Province benefit from tangible capacity building initiatives as part of SWEB’s wind energy developments in the Province. A new non for profit organization was found. Choosing a name was easy: “Scotia Winds of Change Foundation” (WoC).

The NPO’s mission is to assist People of African Ancestry living in Nova Scotia in different areas of their lives which have been affected by racism, underrepresentation and lack of opportunity, including in areas such as health, housing, education, income and employment, and justice. The chosen means to do so: bursaries, networking programs, mentoring and apprenticeships for the community.

The partnership was concluded as part of SWEB’s development of the wind energy projects “Blueberry Acres” in Cumberland County, “Red Spruce” in East-Hants and “Weavers Mountain” in Pictou County. It includes significant financial and non-financial contributions from the three projects in support of WoC’s mission.

SWEB has submitted three wind energy projects across the Province into the Nova Scotia Rate Base Procurement Request for Proposals. The Rate Base Procurement aims to attract low-cost and innovative solutions to procure 1,100 GWh per year of renewable electricity for the Province of Nova Scotia. In addition to supporting Nova Scotia's goals to fight climate change, this procurement will encourage investment and create jobs.

“We have worked hard to include tangible capacity building initiatives into our project development. We want to ensure that underrepresented groups like Nova Scotians of African ancestry get their fair chance to benefit from the jobs our projects will create”, says Michael Carey, Development Manager at SWEB.