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October 27, 2008
Energy is on everyone’s mind these days, particularly Houstonians, after we just spent weeks without electricity. Imagine doing without electricity, natural gas, gasoline and water, all at the same time! Despite the recent drop in the price of oil (which is likely only temporary), many experts believe big changes are ahead in the world when it comes to energy, especially how we supply and use it.
October 27, 2008
In September, a successful AGM was held for the Vancouver chapter, recognising the achievements of the BCSEA at both the Provincial and Chapter levels. Nicole Cook, the newly elected chair of the Vancouver Chapter Steering Committee chaired the meeting, which had over 30 attendees, most of whom were new to the organization.
October 18, 2008
BCSEA Board member Chris Eich has recently moved to Prince George and is energizing the Central Interior Chapter with his passion and commitment to a sustainable energy future for British Columbia. He attended the chapter meeting on October 16th where it was decided that the chapter would focus its resources on bringing the Climate Change Showdown to classrooms in the Central Interior.
October 17, 2008
U.S. producers of solar power will no longer need federal subsidies within eight years because by then solar power will cost less than electricity generated by conventional power plants, industry players said this week. The U.S. government recently extended tax breaks for wind and solar producers for another eight years. They are set to expire in 2016. Solar power, which contributes less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity generation, has been growing rapidly in the United States but remains reliant on state and federal subsidies to make it competitive versus power plants that run on coal or natural gas.
October 17, 2008
Canada's booming wind energy sector is becoming a victim of its own success, says a spokesman for the Canadian Wind Energy Association. A global surge in wind energy development is making it difficult for proponents to secure equipment for new projects, and waiting times for turbine blades and other components are increasing. "Right now there is a shortage of turbines internationally," David Huggill, western Canada policy manager for the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said in a recent interview.
October 15, 2008
It's been a busy month for the Victoria Chapter. The topic of the September chapter meeting was on urban backyard food production, in synchrony with the Local Food Festival put on by CommonEnergy at UVic. In addition to the chapter meeting, the Victoria chapter has been focusing on its projects in the last month. The High School project, led until recently by Randyn Seibold, has been developing its strategies for informing and engaging secondary students. It has been extending its reach by working with the Sierra Club's Sustainable High Schools initiative.
October 13, 2008
Sweden brought in a carbon tax in 1991 that now stands at $150 a tonne, increasing the price of gas by 2.34 kronor (35 cents) a litre ($1.10 per gallon).
October 13, 2008
Co-hosted by BCSEA-Kamloops and the City of Kamloops, Dr. Mark Jaccard spoke to a packed auditorium on Sept 17, 2008. Dr. Jaccard is a professor at SFU and an expert on climate change and energy policies. He talked about the economics of different climate-change solutions and explained that a carbon tax is one of the most effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
October 6, 2008
The Okanagan chapter of the BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) and the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity have agreed that the local BCSEA chapter will provide a Habitat home with a solar water heating system. The system will provide the low-income working family who will live in the home with a high quality, low maintenance solar hot water system which will reduce their use of energy by several thousand kilowatt hours per year.
September 19, 2008
The Arctic Ocean's sea ice has shrunk to its second smallest area on record, close to 2007's record-shattering low, scientists report. The ice is in a "death spiral" and may disappear in the summers within a couple of decades, according to Mark Serreze, an Arctic climate expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. Each winter, sea ice fills most of the Arctic Ocean. The ice pack then melts and shrinks in the summer heat.
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.