‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,’ BCSEA and Sierra Club BC told the BC utilities commission in a late September argument on FortisBC’s electricity net metering program. FortisBC wants approval to ban net metering customers from having generating equipment big enough to regularly generate an annual surplus of net energy. BCSEA and Sierra Club told the regulator that an annual net surplus is not a problem. In fact, they said, it is highly desirable, assuming the price is reasonable and the equipment is below the maximum 50 kW generator size.
As the TMX Ministerial Panel made its way across British Columbia this summer, holding consultation meetings on Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, three of BCSEA’s Chapters spoke of our belief that Canada has no need for expanded pipeline capacity and should instead focus on a transition to clean, renewable energy.
The Ministry of Environment graphics department has done its best. Cute silhouette graphics show how turtles, hikers and bunnies can happily coexist with helicopters, factories and container ships. Photos of eagles and green forests reinforce the bright and cheery prose.
It’s easy to understand why BC communities love solar energy: it’s a local solution to our energy needs, keeps valuable energy dollars in the community, and creates much need employment when traditional areas of the economy are struggling.
Some net metering customers in south-central BC suffered a rude shock this April, when Fortis applied to the Utilities Commission to slash the rates it pays its net metering customers for annual net electricity they supply to the grid.
Fortis wants to change the rules to reflect what it calls the original purpose of the net metering program: i.e., to enable customers to offset their own consumption with their own renewable generation, rather than to provide a revenue generating opportunity for program participants.
The new federal budget has increased funding for transitioning to a greener economy. But according to CBC Radio Host Bob McDonald, each Canadian will have to do their part to help the green industrial revolution by investing in it. In a recent article McDonald outlines “Why we need a green industrial revolution“.
Imagine a world where the very roads you drive on power your home, where the sides of buildings produce clean, endless electricity. Better yet imagine a world where young adults, those bright minds faced with the great responsibility of shaping the future, are inspired to think of new ways to interweave renewable energy technology with everyday life. This is the vision of Dr. Michael Mehta, who leads Thompson Rivers University’s Solar Compass project.
The BCSEA Kamloops Chapter held a film night on May 25. This was the latest in a monthly series called Films For Change, sponsored by the Thompson Rivers University Sustainability Office and in its second year. The Sustainability Office provides the venue and marketing assistance for a sustainability-related community group to show a film every month. Admission is by donation with proceeds going to the community group.
BCSEA Victoria organized 2 events and partnered to organize the 5th annual Creatively United for the Planet festival which was held on April 16th and is billed as “North America’s largest non-profit Earth Week festival”.
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) will soon showcase a transformative new “solar roadway” technology, so new that it may be the first in Canada. A team of faculty, staff and students has learned that the Solar Compass project will receive funding of $36,000 from the TRU Sustainability Grant Fund and the project will now go ahead. The new technology involves thick glass plates that can be walked or driven on and have an embedded photovoltaic layer.