Attendees to the Estevan Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on Wednesday came away with a wealth of knowledge on both the viability of alternative renewable energy sources and additional methods of business financing.
The speakers were Chad Eggerman and Dezarae Senft, respectively, both from the Miller Thomson legal group. According to Chamber Executive Director Jackie Wall, the audience engagement was 'tremendous' and a good turnout for such an event.
"The information was top notch. Miller Thomson are experts in so many areas, they can draw their expertise from their offices across Canada, but specifically today it was Saskatoon and Regina."
"These are two topics (renewable energy and alternative financing) that have come up in the Chamber circle and also in the Economic Development circle. When this opportunity came to the Chamber, it was just a perfect timing situation. We all know how things are moving into renewable sectors, and we have a huge opportunity for that in the Estevan area. Also with the raising capital, not only for businesses but for prospective projects that we might come together as a community and start," she expressed.
Eggerman expounded on primarily solar power, how it could prove to be a viable alternative to the grid in southeast Saskatchewan due to the high amount of sunshine, and how it could boost jobs and business. It would provide opportunities in the area of a supply chain and service to construct and maintain solar panel units, and more movement in the land markets to facilitate them. There is also potential for developers to produce solar power and sell it back to SaskPower, and though such a program does exist, it's small. However, Eggerman pointed out that it could soon be the first to grow.
He also mentioned that the oilfield sector could use solar to power their pumpjacks and such, an activity that is, itself, becoming more popular, as well as commenting on net metering. That said, the challenges were also underlined, such as intermittency when the sun doesn't shine, in the case of solar, and when the wind doesn't blow, in the case of wind turbines. Eggerman also talked about flare gas, and the potential in that as another energy source in southeast Saskatchewan.
Following a light lunch, the afternoon moved on their their next speaker.
"Dezarae (Senft) basically spoke about the alternative to traditional financing, like going into your bank and asking for an operating line or financing through a financial institution. There are other options besides going to the public market, there's an in-between, and that's what she talked about, the opportunities there are to raise capital in the non traditional way, using the exemption markets," Wall explained.
It's a option that not everyone is aware of, but it gives you a chance to expand your company without following the hard beaten path of so many others.
The event concluded with a chance for attendees to interact with the speakers and ask their questions.