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Cowichan Solar Group Achieves Astonishing Price Breakthrough

The Power of Cooperative Bulk-Buying

It’s known as “the warm land”, and as soon as you get off the highway Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley certainly has the feeling of pleasant summer warmth, filled with agricultural fecundity. It was the Coast Salish Cowichan people who gave it the name - that’s what cowichan means in the Hul’q’umi’num language.

So solar energy lies deep in the heritage of the valley, and maybe its appropriate that British Columbia’s first solar bulk buy has sprung unto life here, and is pioneering a new approach to solar installations.

Norway vs. British Columbia: The Great Electric Vehicle Race

Update; March 2015: Norway now has 45,500 EVs. 15% of all new vehicles are electric, and there are 6,000 EV charging stations.

I wish I could have traveled to Norway to research this story—but the Solar Impulse 2, which is on a round-the-world flight with solar-covered wings wider than a Boeing 747—only has room for the pilot.

Norway and British Columbia are very similar. Both have rugged ocean coasts, mountainous terrains and ample hydro electricity, allowing 95% zero-carbon electricity in BC and 100% in Norway. They also have similar populations, with 4.4 million people in BC and 5 million in Norway.

But when it comes to electric cars, is there ever a difference.

Zero-Carbon Heat for Buildings—How is it Possible?

How will we heat our buildings when we no longer use fossil fuels? It’s a really big and urgent question that is rarely discussed.

Last week I had to address the problem for Island Health, whose facilities managers are working hard to reduce the carbon footprint of their hospitals and other buildings on Vancouver Island, here in British Columbia.

How do you heat a hospital, if you are not using oil or natural gas?

Proposed BC LNG Exports

Extracts from a keynote panel presentation by Nigel Protter MBA, at the 9th annual BC Power Summit, held May 7, 2014, in Vancouver.

This two-day conference was led off by a keynote panel featuring Doug Little, BC Hydro’s Vice-President of Energy Planning and Economic Development; Keith Sashaw, President and CEO, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of BC; and myself.

Storm and Drought

What a great report!

The US National Climate Assessment is clear, definitive, and very straightforward.

The warnings are stark, and will be no surprise to BCSEA readers. If we fail to act, and to do so decisively, the increase in heat waves will become even more brutal.

Parts of the US southwest will become a permanent dustbowl as soil moisture falls. The deluges of rain will become more frequent. The sea level could rise by up to four feet by the end of the century, threatening the homes of five million people.

Kamloops Looking to Lead the Way in Vehicle Efficiency

UPDATE

This story was an April Fool's Day spoof, as you may have guessed! We were lucky that Mayor Milobar and CAO Mr. Trawin approved its distribution and the story was carried by Mel Rothenburger and Kamloops This Week.

 

MEDIA RELEASE, APRIL 1, 2014

BY BC SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION, KAMLOOPS CHAPTER

April 1, 2014, Kamloops – Kamloops drivers are going to be required to add an additional piece of equipment to their vehicles this year as part of the City’s push to meet the goals laid out in its Sustainable Kamloops Plan, according to David Trawin, Chief Administrative Officer. As of July 1st, 2014, all vehicles owned by City residents will be required to display an efficiency identifier, a sign showing that vehicle’s fuel efficiency on the back window.

Earth Hour - What will YOU do?

Earth Hour is code—a code that makes some people change their behaviour and do amazing things.

In Nigeria, it motivated twelve young people to walk over three thousand kilometres through Nigeria, Niger, Mali, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo and Benin, finishing in Nigeria’s financial capital, Lagos—and all along the way, it motivated them to promote a culture of peace and to create awareness about environmental sustainability. 

The Case for Better Transit

We have an update to this story, as of March 25 when Kamloops City Council made their budget decisions. BCSEA Kamloops is delighted to report that the proposed transit enhancements were approved! The decision was just one vote short of being unanimous. Improvements will be effective September 1, 2015: for regular transit there will be 3 new buses and 6000 additional service hours, and for custom transit (HandyDart) there will be 1 new bus and 2500 additional service hours.

We're very proud of our City Council for their vision and dedication to providing a strong transit system. Kamloops leads all BC cities of our size in having the best hours of service, ridership and cost recovery. Council has continued their tradition of making smart transit decisions.

Thank you!

And here's the letter that we submitted prior to the budget decision.

Calling all Engineers!

Well, not quite. Calling all electrical and mechanical engineers….

If you were asked to visit a multi-unit building complex, analyze its efficiency and recommend the best energy efficiency upgrades, how confident would you be about doing so?

BC Women Thriving in a Vibrant, Sustainable Energy Industry

by Jessica McIlroy

MP Elizabeth May, Mayor Diane Watts, and Chief Kim Baird have all spoken at a BC Women in Energy Network (BC WEN) because they recognise the importance in supporting women’s leadership and involvement in the industry. These high profile supporters of the BC WEN are only a small part of the community of women, and men, who have taken part in events to educate and connect those interested in the energy industry.