02/03/2015 10:00 EST | Updated 04/05/2015 05:59 EDT

Manitoba NDP leadership candidate promises to expand renewable energy projects

WINNIPEG - NDP leadership candidate Steve Ashton says if he becomes Manitoba's next premier he’d expand renewable energy projects throughout the province.

Ashton said Tuesday that he’d double the number of geothermal installations on First Nations to 300 per year and install 100 rooftop solar systems in the province.

It would include 50 electricity-producing solar panels and 50 solar thermal units to heat water.

Ashton also said he’d establish a target of 20 megawatts of power to be produced from community wind farms in several communities.

The Thompson MLA added that as premier he would provide support to social enterprises to produce and distribute healthy food such as vegetables in northern and remote First Nations.

Former energy minister Tim Sale said he supported Ashton because of Ashton’s commitment to improving First Nations.

"It’s a win for us as a province because it provides a renewable energy source that is also very cost effective," Ashton said. "If you look at the shifting cost structures and the shifting potential in terms of alternatives to fossil fuels, we want to make sure we’re front and centre."

Ashton also garnered the support of Peguis First Nation Chief Glenn Hudson.

(Winnipeg Free Press)

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