British Columbia’s ‘Solar Potential’ Beats Germany or Japan

by Roy L Hales.

Renewable Energy in British Columbia. Rooftop of an almost zero net energy home in Kamloops, BC, courtesy Riverside Energy.
Renewable Energy in British Columbia. Rooftop of an almost zero net energy home in Kamloops, BC. Image courtesy of: Riverside Energy.

Originally published on The Ecoreport.

According to a provincial government study called the Potential for Solar Power in British Columbia: 2007 to 2025, BC’s climate is much more amenable to solar than either Germany’s or Japan’s. The average production of a PV solar array in Kamloops, for example, is 1160 kWh/kW of PV installed. Even Vancouver (1009) has much more solar potential than Tokyo (885) or Berlin (only 848). Ben Giudici, of Kamloops-based Riverside Energy Systems, provided a copy of the study.

“I believe a modestly equipped sustainable home, utilizing solar to produce 50% or more of its own operating electricity, can be built with little or no increase to the building budget if the owner and builder base key construction details on reduction of energy consumption, and are willing to trade off some aesthetics for renewable energy equipment,” said Giudici.

“Construction practices and results in our building industry suggest BC residents are more inclined to equip their homes with granite counter tops, hot tubs, swimming pools, cobblestone driveways and/or other features devoid of monetary payback, than with grid-connected solar arrays which do offer a return on investment,” he added.

Riverside was founded in 1995 and will have completed more than 20 grid-connected solar PV installations by the end of this year. It also provides off-grid solar, wind and micro-hydro systems.

Renewable energy. House in Kamloops, BC that produced 75% of energy needed during the year it was monitored. Photo courtesy Riverside Energy.
Renewable energy. House in Kamloops, BC that produced 75% of the energy it required during the year it was monitored. Photo courtesy of: Riverside Energy.

In 2010, Riverside designed and installed the solar PV system for what was meant to be a zero-net-energy home. Though PV produced almost exactly as expected, the building’s other operating systems consumed more than estimated and solar hot water production fell short of projections.

“During the year CMHC monitored the home, it self-produced about 75% of the energy it consumed,” Guidici said. “That is about 25% short of the net zero target.”

The design of a net-zero home begins with an ultra-insulated and very airtight building envelope. Every construction detail revolves around the goal of reducing energy consumption. After everything else — every electrical, heating, and cooling need — is reduced as much as possible, “then and only then are renewables such as solar PV, solar thermal, etc added.”

“The design and building process is arduous, requiring builders and homeowners to be very committed to the process and the desired net-zero outcome,” he said. “Zero net energy homes, like many other high performance systems, are dependent on their owners to reach full potential. (e.g.. a Ferrari will safely reach much higher speeds with a professional driver at the wheel than if I were driving) Thankfully, sustainable building practices do not need to be ‘net-zero or nothing’ in order to have significant impact.”

Jim and Cathy Brown agree. They are retired teachers who purchased a 5.8 kW system from Riverside in 2012. This provides more than 100% of their energy needs during the summer months, but not nearly enough from November through February. Cathy estimated it supplies 1/3 of their power needs then. They intend to purchase another 5.8 kW array and try to get that up to 2/3.

Renewable energy. Cathy Brown clearing snow off their solar panels in Kamloops, BC. Photo courtesy Riverside Solar.
Renewable energy. Cathy Brown clearing snow off their solar panel installation in Kamloops, BC. Photo courtesy of: Riverside Solar.

“You wouldn’t get anything near this rate of return if you left your money sitting in a bank account,” Cathy said. “And it makes you feel good to know you are doing something to help the environment.”

Guidici emphasized the fact it is all about choice. If a new homeowner decided to live with a a $30,000 kitchen instead of a $45,000 kitchen, and chose an asphalt driveway instead of cobblestone, “… renewable energy systems would soon be paid for.”

“If all else fails, construction and operating costs can be reduced by making the home a little smaller. This is a paradigm shift which may not come naturally for many of us, but fading perceptions of ‘forever cheap’ electricity in BC seem to be moving more people in this direction.”

Repost.Us - Republish This Article

This article, British Columbia’s Climate Better For Solar Power Than Germany’s Or Japan’s, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable energy. Roy L HalesRoy L Hales is the editor of the ECOreport (www.theechoreport.com), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America. He is a research junkie who has written hundreds of articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project: ‘Approved’

Joint Review Panel recommends approving the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, Dec 19, 2013

CALGARY ― The Joint Review Panel (the Panel) for the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Project today recommended that the federal government approve the project, subject to 209 required conditions.

Based on a scientific and precautionary approach to this complex review, the Panel found that the project, if built and operated in compliance with the conditions set out in its report, would be in the public interest.

The Panel also recommended that the Governor in Council determine that the construction and routine operation of the project would cause no significant adverse environmental effects, with the exception of cumulative effects for certain populations of woodland caribou and grizzly bear.

In these two cases, the Panel found that cumulative effects as a result of this project and other projects, activities or actions are likely to be at the low end of the range of possible significance. The Panel recommended that these effects be found to be justified in the circumstances.

Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project
Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline Project

The Panel concluded that the environmental burdens associated with project construction and routine operation can generally be effectively mitigated and that continued monitoring, scientific research and adaptive management could further reduce adverse effects.

The Panel stated that “the environmental, societal and economic burdens of a large oil spill, while unlikely and not permanent, would be significant.” The Panel found that Northern Gateway had taken steps to minimize the likelihood of a large spill through its precautionary design approach and its commitments to use innovative and redundant safety systems.  The Panel also found that, after mitigation, the likelihood of significant adverse environmental effects resulting from project malfunctions or accidents is very low.

The Panel found that “opening Pacific Basin markets is important to the Canadian economy and society.”  The Panel also found that “the project would bring significant local, regional, and national economic and social benefits.”

After weighing all of the oral and written evidence, the Panel found that Canada and Canadians would be better off with the Enbridge Northern Gateway project than without it.

The Panel’s conditions, which would be enforced by the National Energy Board, include requirements for Enbridge Northern Gateway to:

  • Develop a Marine Mammal Protection Plan;
  • Implement the TERMPOL Review Committee Recommendations;
  • Prepare a Caribou Habitat Restoration Plan;
  • Develop a Training and Education Monitoring Plan;
  • Prepare an Enhanced Marine Spill Trajectory and Fate Modelling;
  • Develop a Research Program on the Behaviour and Cleanup of Heavy Oils;
  • Conduct Pre-operations Emergency Response Exercises and Develop an Emergency Preparedness and Response Exercise and Training Program.

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is a proposal to build and operate two pipelines and a marine terminal. The pipelines would run 1,178 kilometres from Bruderheim, Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia, where the marine terminal would be built.

One 914 mm (36 inch) outside diameter line would carry an average of 83,400 cubic metres (525,000 barrels) per day of oil west to Kitimat. The other line, a 508 mm (20 inch) outside diameter pipeline, would carry an average of 30,700 cubic metres (193,000 barrels) of condensate per day east to Bruderheim. Condensate can be used to thin bitumen for pipeline transport. The Kitimat Marine Terminal would have two tanker berths, three condensate tanks and 16 oil storage tanks. Costs for the project are estimated at $7.9 billion.

The Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project is an independent body, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board. The Panel assessed the environmental effects of the proposed project and reviewed the application under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the National Energy Board Act.

The report, this news release, a backgrounder on the hearing process and a list of frequently asked questions can be found on the Panel’s website at: www.gatewaypanel.review.gc.ca

The Power Of Rubbish: It’s Quite Good

by Nicholas Brown – Special to JBS News

Almost every time you eat, you dispose of rubbish consisting of either peels, fruit cores, crusts, ends, seeds, shells, etc. When you mow your lawn, you produce grass clippings. Wouldn’t it be nice to put all that to some use?

Using anaerobic digestion, these materials can be decomposed to produce useful substances, including (but not limited) to biogas, which contains methane, carbon dioxide, and other gases. Methane is a renewable, highly energy dense (55.5 MJ/kg, or 15.4 kWh/kg), and relatively clean fuel which can power various types of heaters and electricity generators.

BC Bioenergy Network, which works with organizations keen to pilot and demonstrate new technologies, has proudly announced that Harvest Power has officially switched on a plant which generates this biogas using grass clippings and kitchen waste from Metro Vancouver. It is called The Energy Garden. It is located in Richmond, BC, and is now North America’s largest anaerobic digestion plant.

The Energy
Soil and mulch loading ramp at The Energy Garden. Image Credit: Harvest Power.

Annually, it can convert up to 40,000 tonnes of apple cores, pizza crusts, and grass clippings into useful products, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 10,255 tonnes.

This plant generates enough electricity to power 900 homes per year, plus, it provides hundreds of thousands of tonnes of soil for farms and gardens. To put the cherry on top, it burns the methane that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere if the garbage went to landfills. Methane’s greenhouse effect is 20 times greater than that of carbon dioxide!

Could a power plant be any more resourceful than that? Maybe, but this is hard to beat.

The Energy Garden was recently added to KMPG’s list of 100 leading global industrial projects.

About the Author

Nicholas Brown has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, geography, and much more. My website is: Kompulsa.

Geothermal Power Used In British Columbia Residential Development

by Jake Richardson

Woodland Creek residential development located in Sooke, British Columbia is using geothermal technology for its award-winning homes. Ground source heat pumps were chosen for the new craftsman style homes because they can help save an estimated $1,100 annually. Geothermal typically costs about one-third or even less than baseboard heaters powered by electricity. Additionally, no exhaust venting is required with their particular kind of geothermal system, so their homes can be better insulated. Air quality is better too in these homes, because they have superior air filtration compared with homes using electric baseboard heaters.

If the annual savings is $1,100 compared to conventional heating and cooling, they pay for themselves in about 18 years. However, in the United States a home located in Montgomery County paid their system off in 4.4 years.

After the geothermal system is paid off, it continues to save money. (It also means getting off of fossil fuels.) Another benefit is that when we invest in renewable energy we help the whole of society shift toward the new and away from the old. We need to do this because of climate change and the fact that fossil fuels are time-limited. Extraction and transportation of fossil fuels can damage the environment severely as well.

There is another potential savings for British Columbia home buyers: cash back financing for homes with a certain energy rating, and Woodland Creek homes exceed this standard. They are also constructed to Built Green standards and use Energy Star appliances.

Totangi Properties manages Woodland Creek, and won Best New Subdivision (Woodland Creek, Sooke) at the 2012 CARE Awards. In the same year they also won Built Green Builder of the Year.

Considering the decreasing cost of solar power, it may not be that far in the future that solar panels provide all the electricity for such homes, in addition to their stable geothermal systems. British Colombia is a very appropriate location for environmentally sensitive housing due to its outstanding natural beauty.

This article, Geothermal Power Used In British Columbia Residential Development, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Google Plus:

 

Canada’s First Off-Shore Wind Farm Set for British Columbia

by Adam Johnston — Special to JBS News

Canada’s first off-shore wind farm is taking shape, which is set to boost British Columbia’s renewable energy image.

The multiphase project, owned by the NaiKun Wind Energy Group, will consist of 550 square feet kilometres, with a total of 396 megawatts (MW) of energy is set for phase one.

A total of 110 wind turbines are planned, providing British Columbian residents a cleaner alternative, according to the website. This will cut 450,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year rather than using natural gas, and power 200,000 homes.

Located in Hecate Strait, between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, the NaiKun wind project is giving a much-needed boost to the province’s energy plan of having no carbon emissions come from new energy projects. Meanwhile clean energy, according to the province, accounts for 90% of all energy produced in B.C., which will certainly be given a boost by this new offshore wind farm.

If wind projects continue to sprout up across Canada like this one, wind energy will no doubt continue it’s upward trend as a real choice to power Canada’s energy needs. In 2012 new Canadian wind projects were expected to increase by 20%, or 1,200 MW and a total of C$2.5 billion in new investments. However, British Columbia was not one of the three top provinces in new wind capacity in 2012. Ontario (2,000MW), Quebec (1,600MW) and Nova Scotia (1,000MW) led the way.

Will B.C.’s new offshore wind farm help catapult a province that is known more for hydro energy than wind? NaiKun Wind Energy Group certainly thinks it can’t hurt.

Main Source: NaiKun Wind Energy Group

This article, Canada’s First Off-Shore Wind Farm Set for B.C., is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.