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In conversation: Grey County and the Clean Energy Frontier

“Climate change doesn’t have these nice boundaries. It affects all of us.”

That’s what Selwyn Hicks, Warden of Grey County, had to say about why it is important for municipalities like Bruce, Grey and Huron to work together toward a clean energy future.

Recently, the Clean Energy Frontier program announced that it has received the endorsement of the County Councils in Bruce, Grey and Huron. To continue the dialogue with our municipal partners, I sat down (virtually) with the wardens talk more about clean energy and Bruce, Grey, Huron.

Watch the full conversation with Warden Hicks, or read below for highlights:

Conversation highlights:

CR: What role do you think municipalities play in helping us reach net zero?

SH: Grey County is doing a lot, I have to say. We’ve had an excellent Climate Change Task Force that’s been meeting, we’ve engaged consultants to assist us with the technical aspects of what we’re trying to do and to make sure that we are setting targets that are reasonable, that are achievable, and are going to make a difference.

So, exciting things like looking at the electrification of our fleet, and we have quite a number of vehicles, and what little impact can that make and what would happen if every municipality made that little change and examined the things that they can do.

This is an excuse, really, for neighbours to work with each other. So, for me to tap my fellow colleagues who are Wardens and to say: “Hey, here’s what we’re doing. Do you want to join us? There are some things that we can do together or do you want to take a certain aspect and really run with that and we’ll focus on this area.”

CR: What are the advantages to working together across municipal borders?

SH: The advantages are sort of obvious: when we focus on clean energy initiatives, we all benefit.

What’s really exciting is the opportunity for us to look at business and jobs in areas that don’t currently exist. So, this chance to really think about innovation and, you know, it’s been said that innovation happens at the intersection of collaboration and change. So, either we change, or we die.

CR: What does a Clean Energy Frontier mean to you?

SH: We’re really in the midst of examining what is possible in Grey County. We are super focused on making sure that we protect our natural assets because that’s important to our economy.

We bank on a lot of tourism dollars. People come here to refresh and recreate and if we don’t protect that, it’s gone.

CR: What should people be talking about when it comes to the Clean Energy Frontier?

SH: One is what is happening with Bruce Power and the many, many, many businesses that are coming up in support of what is happening at Bruce Power. So that’s exciting.

And, it’s a frontier, it allows us to think differently about how do we want our neighbourhoods to look? What is it that we dream for in 100 years? What will our environment look like here?

So, this is exciting because we get to design that and if I’m thinking about my great grandchildren, what do I want their future to look like? And can I do something now to start the ball rolling?


Chad Richards is the Director of the Clean Energy Frontier.


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