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September 15, 2008
The Province is investing $5 million in the SolarBC program to encourage the installation of solar hot water heaters in homes, municipal buildings, schools, social housing and First Nations communities, Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld announced on Friday, July 18. "The SolarBC program supports the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and builds on the BC Energy Plan commitment for electricity self-sufficiency," said Neufeld. "This is a great example of how B.C. is a leader in the alternative energy sector, and how solar can play a significant role in our future energy supply."
September 14, 2008
What can you do with 1 kilowatt hour? Power a 100 Watt light bulb for ten hours. Power a 20 Watt CFL light bulb for 50 hours. Power a 1 Watt LED light bulb for 1000 hours. Travel 10-12 kilometres in a small electric car. Travel 120 kilometres on an electric bike.
September 14, 2008
British Columbia newspapering legend Ma Murray was never at a loss for opinions, but it’s a safe bet she never imagined anything like this. Her grandson, Dan Murray, is standing on a new blacktop parking lot just a stone's throw from the salty-tongued Murray’s former pioneer residence in Anmore. The refurbished heritage home now serves as the village’s civic office, and the company for which Dan Murray is sales manager has just completed an installation of solar electricity panels, which are generating enough electricity—even on an overcast day—to cover the village’s bill to keep the lights burning in his late grandmother's home.
September 13, 2008
As Gulf Coast oil companies brace for Hurricane Ike, the developers of new wind farm projects are confident their turbines can withstand the elements. Hurricane Ike might be an early test for a fledgling offshore wind farm project in the Gulf. Wind Energy Systems Technology is moving forward with plans to build a 62-turbine wind farm off the Gulf Coast south of Houston. With one test tower constructed, company President Herman Schellstede says the towers his company designed can withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour and 200 mph gusts.
August 31, 2008
Owners Frank and Lib Ruljancich gave a guided tour of their off grid, earth sheltered house, micro hydro power system, wood and solar water heating, root cellar and custom refrigeration, and amazin
August 27, 2008
It seats two and has a top speed of 90 kilometres an hour. When it arrived in Vancouver in early July, driven by a young Swiss adventurer and explorer of the future called Louis Palmer, who I’ll come to in a while, it had been driven 32,000 kilometres around the world, without using a drop of gas. What does it run on? Pure sunshine, delivered free of charge to a small trailer with six square metres of photovoltaic cells. Louis calls it his “solar taxi” because he takes so many people for rides. It has turned heads wherever it goes and it has travelled from Europe to Saudi Arabia and to India, Bali (for the global climate conference), New Zealand, Australia (across the Nullarbor Plain), Singapore, Korea, China and to Vancouver. What does it cost? The car was custom-made so it’s impossible to tell, but similar, small electric vehicles sell for under $20,000.
August 27, 2008
Steep and deep creeks, windswept mountain ridges and gale-force-blowing ocean straits are the potential sites of an energy gold-rush of sorts currently underway in British Columbia.Early pioneers flocked to B.C.'s Caribou and northern regions in the 1800s in search of gold, while today a new breed of explorer is fanning out across the province seeking a motherlode that can bring new, clean power to the province.Experts suggest as many as 200 proposals could result from a call for clean energy projects issued last June by B.C. Hydro, the province's Crown-owned power utility.
August 27, 2008
British Columbia’s abundant hydropower means our hands stay almost clean of dirty electricity imports. But what most people don't know is that BC’s hands are already dirty for another reason: the province still relies heavily on a carbon-emitting fossil fuel for most heating and hot water needs. Every hot shower, load of laundry, dishwasher cycle and notch up on the thermostat requires thermal energy, and here in BC, most homes use natural gas to supply it.The provincial government recently invested $25 million in biofuels and bioenergy as alternatives to natural gas, but some experts say the government should be doing more to reduce the demand for thermal energy needs in the first place.
August 22, 2008
Around the world, people are reeling from the increases in the price of oil. In France, where diesel costs $2.14 a litre, fishermen recently blockaded the straits of Dover, demanding that the government step in with a subsidy. In Spain, the fishermen went on strike and 10,000 truckers also blockaded the roads around Barcelona and Madrid, saying, “We haven’t got the money to buy fuel!” In England, truckers and farmers created gridlock by driving at 10 mph along roads in Cornwall, demanding a fuel subsidy of 50 cents a litre. Similar protests have been happening around the world. Some emotional commentators have fuelled the sense of crisis with headlines such as “Gas prices heading in the stratosphere” (Financial Post, April 17). If $1.40 a litre is the “stratosphere,” how will the Post express its shock when gas hits $2 or $5 a litre? “Gas prices leaving the galaxy, heading towards Andromeda?” The price of oil will to continue to rise until we no longer need it because we have been forced to evolve beyond it.