Energy Champions

Tanna Pirie-Wilson

CEO by day, climate change Wolastoq warrior always

Wocawson Wind Energy Project

Tobique First Nation, NB

Tanna Pirie-Wilson sees her involvement in the Wocawson Wind Energy project as a matter of fate: “I had left my career with the federal government after 15 years, wanting to try something new. I took a chance and applied for a position with my community, and was successful. One of the first projects I was asked to look into was the possibility of a green energy project. I was literally at the right place at the right time.” Though she may not have been looking for this specific kind of work, she’s passionate about what she does now, saying she wouldn’t change a thing, or it wouldn’t have brought her to where she is today.

Her 398-home community, nestled along the beautiful Wolastoq (Saint John River), strives to be a leader in sustainable and renewable energy sources. They currently use hydro as the main source of energy, but are looking at solar, geo-thermal, and biomass as options, in addition to the 20 MW wind project that is ongoing. This project is majority-owned by the community, will be fully operational by December 2019, and is expected to provide significant own-source revenue for at least 30 years.

Tanna is surprised that “clean green sustainable energy isn’t being talked about every day all day. We have such a beautiful opportunity through innovation and technology to build energy sources that don’t take away from the earth but rather utilize the earth’s energies.” However, there is a challenge finding funding and accessing resources because of a wave of energy projects sweeping the country. As a small rural community, she feels there is a particular challenge because it is hard to make the story heard amid this surge in projects. Despite these challenges, she has no regrets, and continues to work towards her vision for a future powered by nature, where every community has a green energy project using sustainable energy sources.

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