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Sea to Sky

To C, or not to Site-C?

To C, or not to Site-C? That is, indeed, the question.

To BC Hydro, it's a useful and reliable source of renewable energy that can be used to balance intermittent energy from wind and run-of-river projects.

To those who live in the Peace, and who love the land, it’s the forever flooding of 5,000 hectares of history, culture, forest, farmland and habitat for wildlife.

In mid-May, the BCSEA hosted a cross-province webinar on the proposed Site C Clean Energy Project. This is one of many activities which, thanks to the support of our members and donors, we offer on a regular basis. The webinar presentations, by Ken Forest of the Peace Valley Environmental Association, and BCSEA's Tom Hackney and Guy Dauncey are available on our website.

Why Campbell's HST Is Bad for the Planet

We all hate the HST, right? It's now a populist campaign, led by former premier Bill Vander Zalm, who has, by the way, also predicted the HST will expand to take in the U.S. and Mexico and eventually be controlled from Brussels, Belgium, as part of a conspiratorial New World Order.

The HST has its pros and cons, but maybe we're being blinded by it and missing the real target. To explain why, let me step back for a moment. Under the PST, various "good" things are exempt, including bicycles and renewable energy equipment. That makes sense. But so are transport fuels and residential heating fuels: oil and gas.

Under the HST, the only exemptions allowed are those on a federal Department of Finance list in Ottawa that does not include bicycles or renewable energy equipment. So these exemptions have to go, along with almost everything else. The exemptions on transport and residential fuels, however, are permitted, and will remain.

BC Solar Days

Join in the 2010 Solar Days fun on May 28, 29 and take your friends and family on an interactive Solar Tour of installs in your neighbourhood!

BC Solar Days

View SolarBC's Google map for over 38 solar tour site destinations and click on the arrow for directions to the house. Once there, you can gain first hand experience from homeowners who've installed solar hot water. Find out about their install and see how their system works. And while you're there pick up some free Solar Days giveaways and SolarBC information material.

Solar Energy? Count the Barriers!

Barrier-busting is something the BCSEA works hard at - there’s nothing more frustrating than running into a long line of regulatory obstacles and ditches, when all you want to do is build the greenest house possible, or install a solar panel or a wind turbine.

If you’re a 110-metres hurdler, jumping hurdles is what you do. But must hurdling also be a required sport for BC’s renewable energy champions, who are working so hard to create a better world for their grandchildren?

Old-time attitudes and regulations are making life hard for small-scale renewables in BC. That’s why the BCSEA is launching the Small Scale Renewable Energy Barriers Project. The project targets ten frustrating barriers, proposes solutions, and aims to bring government and business representatives together to eliminate them.

Broad energy vision would engage us all

British Columbia's Energy Minister Blair Lekstrom lays out the stimulus part of a vision for a clean energy future but the other shoe has yet to drop. Energy buffs want to know if the upcoming Clean Energy Act will embody a broad energy vision for B.C. or simply support renewable energy developers.

A broad vision could set us on course for profound changes in the way we use energy, positioning us for a future dominated by higher energy prices, greater restrictions on fossil fuel use and urgent action to minimize the CO2 emissions that drive climate change.

This vision will not initially be comfortable. We have grown accustomed to abundant, cheap energy at the flick of a switch, while ignoring the real costs and side-effects of its production. But the broad vision will ultimately be more satisfying because it will engage us all in the choices that face us, rather than insulating us and disengaging us as passive consumers.

Green Transport - Green Taxes

We’re brewing something very interesting in the BCSEA - and it feels as if we have discovered buried treasure.

The insight started soon after the election, when the government announced that BC would be moving to the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). When we looked at what was being proposed, we saw that in the changeover, all the PST tax-breaks for things such as bicycles, solar panels and home insulation would disappear, but the long-standing tax-breaks for transport and heating fuels would remain.

SolarBC: A Hot Deal!

Roughly 30% of the energy used in most BC homes goes to heating water. Installing a solar hot water system can provide up to half that energy, and reduce a household's annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to a tonne; saving the homeowner $300 per year in energy costs.

That's why BCSEA's SolarBC project is pulling out the stops to get more British Columbians to install solar hot water systems.

SolarBC Incentives Double Up

SolarBC is happy to announce that incentives for solar hot water will double during February and March, from $1,000 to $2,000. This investment will support the installation of domestic solar water heating systems for the first 200 homes over the next 2-months. So, if you have been wondering about installing solar hot water but haven’t yet taken the plunge, now might be a smart time to do so.

Liz Kelly, from SolarBC did exactly that last week by installing solar hot water on her own home on the Sunshine Coast. "I just had to walk the talk," said Liz, "I could hardly live on the Coast and not take advantage of 2,400 of free sunshine we get every year. Our solar hot water system was installed in just a day and a half by Terratek, one of the SolarBC registered contractors, and comes with a neat little monitor that we’ve put up in the kitchen to tell us exactly how much money we’re saving."