News release

Community Leaders Creating Clean Energy Future

Environment and Climate Change
Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund
clean energy
climate change
Aerial photo of the Bayside Travel Centre in Paqtnkek

An aerial view of the Bayside Travel Centre in Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, Antigonish County, which received provincial funding for a solar project in July 2023. The Bayside Development Corporation is the business arm of Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation. (Communications Nova Scotia / File)

People in Antigonish and the nearby Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation will have more clean energy to power their homes and businesses with two new projects funded by the Province’s Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund.

The funding will help make people’s homes and other buildings energy efficient, which will reduce energy bills, increase energy security and help make them more energy independent.

Agriculture Minister Greg Morrow, MLA for Guysborough-Tracadie, announced the funding on behalf of Environment and Climate Change Minister Timothy Halman today, February 13, in Paqtnkek.

“The Town of Antigonish and Paqtnkek are leaders in climate response. Their work to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 is an inspiration to all of us,” said Minister Morrow. “Across Nova Scotia, communities are taking action to protect themselves from, and adapt to, the impacts of climate change, and the Province is pleased to support them through the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund. The Province also recognizes that reconciliation with First Nations can be advanced by supporting their work to self-determine their energy sources.”

The Town of Antigonish, in partnership with St. Francis Xavier University, will explore a community district energy system that would heat and cool buildings on campus using cleaner energy. While allowing the university to discontinue its central heating plant, it could also provide low carbon thermal energy to the community. The town owns and operates its own municipal electricity utility, with about 63 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources, including power generated from the Ellershouse Wind Farm.

Paqtnkek will look at ways to supply its residents with solar energy. The solar feasibility study will explore what kind of solar energy system is most suitable and beneficial for the community and recommend the best location for solar panels.


“Nova Scotia’s future is clean, renewable energy. Across the province, communities are ramping up solar, onshore and offshore wind, thermal, green hydrogen and other innovative solutions to green our grid. This will help make Nova Scotia energy-independent, which will save people money on their energy bills and make our grid more resilient to storms and other events. It will also help us switch from fossil fuels to clean energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is our best defence in the face of the globe’s changing climate.”
Tory Rushton, Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables

“The Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, through the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund, is delighted to take part in today’s announcement for the Town of Antigonish and Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation. The projects announced today will lead to studies that will help make informed decisions on renewable energy resources, the development of a community solar garden, energy efficiency upgrades and more. We are pleased to support these initiatives, which can have a positive impact on communities for generations to come.”
Juanita Spencer, CEO, Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities

“We’re making significant investments to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We can’t reach our goal of becoming Canada’s first net-zero community without the partnership of St. Francis Xavier University. By eliminating the emissions from their central heating plant with a new community district energy system, we take a big step forward in reaching our goal. We are proud of our efforts in navigating towards a sustainable future and are committed to being a leader in the province in combatting climate change.”
Willie Cormier, Deputy Mayor, Town of Antigonish

“The renewable development is a leading example of energy sovereignty and being the stewardess of the land and resources. Working towards net-zero goals is an opportunity to be at the forefront of an industry that aligns with our values of sustainable development while bringing social and economic opportunities to our communities.”
Rose Paul, CEO, Bayside Development Corporation

Quick Facts:

  • the Town of Antigonish is receiving $300,000 from the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund, while Paqtnkek is receiving $77,382
  • the fund is available to municipalities, non-profit and community organizations, post-secondary institutions and Mi’kmaw communities
  • it was set up on October 27, 2021, as part of the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, the government’s legislated commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, respond to climate change, transform how Nova Scotians produce and use energy, make homes more energy efficient and more
  • the fund launched on November 7, 2022, with $15 million in funding to support projects that help communities adapt to climate change, mitigate its impacts and help Nova Scotia reduce its greenhouse gas emissions; it was topped up by $15.4 million last year and extended to 2028
  • the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities was selected through a request for proposals process to develop and administer the Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund on behalf of the government

Additional Resources:

Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund:

News release – More Funding to Help Make Communities Resilient to Climate Change:

News release – Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities to Deliver Sustainable Communities Challenge Fund:

Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act:

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way.