August 24, 2012
BC continues to invest in wind power. The government has approved a new development in northeastern BC. The Tumbler Ridge Wind Energy project, a new development in northeastern BC, will generate enough power to provide electricity for up to 18,000 homes. There will be 50 wind turbines installed.
In Nova Scotia the COMFIT program continues to support locally-based renewable energy projects. The program is part of the province’s 2010 Renewable Electricity Plan. The province has approved five new projects.
- two 800-kilowatt wind projects in Barney’s River, Pictou Co., owned by Northumberland Wind Field.
- a four-megawatt wind project in Barrachois, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, and a 2.3-megawatt wind project in Gaetz Brook, Halifax Regional Municipality, owned by Wind4all Communities.
- a 50-kilowatt wind project on the campus of Université Ste-Anne in Church Point, Digby Co.
- a 4.8-megawatt project in Kemptown, Colchester Co., owned by Affinity Renewables, a not-for-profit organization owned by the Nova Scotia SPCA.
- a 1.99-megawatt project in Marion Bridge, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, owned by Celtic Current.
And Health Canada has extended its public comment period on the proposed research design and methodology for its study on wind turbine noise and health. September 7 is the new deadline for comments. The study, which will be done in collaboration with Statistics Canada, will be focused on 2,000 homes selected from 8-12 wind turbine installation facilities in Canada. Researchers will interview residents and measure noise levels inside and outside of each home.
August 22, 2012
Could the IKEA concept of “offering a wide range of well designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them” be expanded to include solar and wind energy?
With IKEA plugging into solar power for almost all of its U.S. buildings, could IKEA-brand solar panels for your home be far behind? Of, course some assembly would be required. And there would be an Allen wrench.
August 20, 2012
If I’m getting ready to go back to school, I know teachers across Canada and the U.S. have to be thinking about it too.
Here at the Centre for Energy we develop learning resources that can be used in the classroom. I’ve got 100 of our cross border energy maps that I’d love to get into the hands of teachers who are talking about energy this year.
Our wall map (approximately 23 inches by 30 inches, English only) is full colour, printed on both sides (Canada and U.S.) and is chock’o'block full of stats and facts about not only Canada’s energy system but our energy partnership with our good neighbours to the south.
So if you are a teacher in Canada or the U.S. that can use our map as part of your lesson plans this fall, I’d be happy to send you a copy.
- Send us an email (email@example.com) with map giveaway in the subject line
- Include your name and the grade you teach
- Include the name and mailing address of your school
It’s that easy. I’ll send you 2 copies of the map, so you can put them up on the wall and see the cross-border energy big picture.
The Centre for Energy created the map in partnership with Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Here’s what it looks like. Limited quantities, so first come, first served.
What are you waiting for?
August 17, 2012
Into the grid, that is.
The first US commercial, grid-connected tidal energy project was deployed off the coast of Eastport in Maine last month. The Ocean Renewable Power Company’s (ORPC) TidGen™ power system was installed a few months ago.
It is harnessing energy from the tides in the By of Fundy, enough to power about 100 homes in it initially stages of deployment.
ORPC also has a partnership with Canadian Fundy Tidal Inc. to develop a tidal project using the same technology off Digby Gut. This planned project should be adding tidal power to Canada’s grid by mid-2013.
August 13, 2012
After just completing my series on the ‘Now or Never” report about Canada’s energy future by the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, the title of this article over at Clean Technica made me smile.
August 10, 2012
Last in a series on the ‘Now or Never” report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV).
We’ve made it. The conclusion! The goal of this whole series was to connect you to information and resources on Canada’s energy. I’ve done my best to give you a solid starting point to develop your knowledge on our energy future, but it’s up to you to keep with it. Because it’s not really a matter of now or never. The ultimate test is to prove to yourself that you’re learning something about Canada’s energy system so you can talk about energy issues with your family, friends, neighbours and workmates.
Need a quick review?
Priority 1: Collaborative Canada
Priority 2: Pipes and Wires
Priority 3: Game Changer
Priority 4: Use Less
Priority 5: Jobs Jobs Jobs
Priority 6: Got an Energy Idea?
Priority 7: Caring About Land, Air and Water
Priority 8: Hydro-Super-Power
Priority 9: Earth, Wind and Solar
Priority 10: One and One
Priority 11: Great White North
Priority 12: A Nuclear Future
We all have a role to play. Are you ready?
August 9, 2012
Second last in a series on the ‘Now or Never” report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV).
With oil sands and pipelines making the news, nuclear power often takes a back seat to Canada’s energy discussion. Nonetheless, nuclear energy is an important part of the Canadian energy mix. There are three provinces that generate electricity by nuclear power and all are committed to ensuring its future.
We have a proud history with nuclear power in this country. All nuclear reactors in Canada are CANDU reactors which were designed and built be Atomic Energy Canada Limited. We have successfully exported this technology to other countries. We mine and export uranium in Saskatchewan. And the National Research Universal reactor in Ontario is the world’s largest producer of isotopes for medicine and industry.
But with events such as the Fukushima Daiichi accident still in our minds, safety is always at the forefront when discussing nuclear energy. Obviously the industry is heavily regulated and monitored and Canada has maintained an excellent safety record. The other big industry issue is long term waste storage, which is the responsibility of the owners. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization has been tasked by the federal government to establish a deep geological repository for used fuel.
For today’s lesson, take a look at how nuclear power is moving into the future. Canadian nuclear facilities are being upgraded to meet consumer demand for affordable, reliable electricity. So support and investment in the industry are strong. Just as with other pieces of Canada’s energy pie, nuclear power is evolving.
August 8, 2012
Eleventh in a series on the ‘Now or Never” report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV).
Priority 11 deals with industry growth in terms of new areas of development, specifically northern Canada. With the north, the discussion gets a little more complicated.
There are big issues surrounding the development of the energy industry north of 60. They include environmental protection, ownership of the land and resources, health and safety, investment and responsibility for regulation.
It’s cold up there. The environment is both harsh and delicate. Sovereignty and some land claims are yet to be settled. Emergency response in all seasons needs to be assured. And multiple regulatory authorities are a reality.
But key to this priority is the knowledge that resource development will be the driver that raises economic prospects in the north. Which leads to today’s lesson. Have a look at the challenges that are posed by developing northern Canada. The resources are certainly there, but the infrastructure isn’t yet. Pay attention to the environmental and people issues. The north represents a unique culture and landscape that need to be protected – and at the same time carefully developed.
August 7, 2012
Tenth in a series on the ‘Now or Never” report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV).
Priority 10 discusses changes that need to occur to the environmental assessment process. The federal government plays a key role in regulating how a project will affect the environmental and is moving forward with its long term goal of what the ENEV report refers to as ‘one project, one review’.
The key here is streamlining. This means that the federal government will move to only two kinds of reviews and set specific maximum timelines for these reviews. The standard environmental assessment now has a maximum timeline of one year and two years is the new timeline for review panels. The new process also consolidates responsibility for environmental assessment to three organizations: The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and the National Energy Board. Shifting responsibility to these three groups is not a major change as the role they will now play is within their mandates.
Size does matter. Federal reform will also reduce the number of assessments for small projects. This move may result in more resources being available to address major projects that have big environmental implications. Reform will also increase penalties and introduce enforceable assessment decision statements to ensure projects meet conditions to protect the environment. And reform includes some measures to improve the consultation process with First Nations.
What you should take away from today’s lesson is that the careful steps of the regulatory process that helps ensure Canada is protecting its environment and its citizens has to evolve to better foster its own responsible resource development.
August 3, 2012
Ninth in a series on the ‘Now or Never” report of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources (ENEV).
Priority #9 highlights the importance of renewable energy to Canada’s energy future. And that’s possible because we have an abundance of water, wind, sunlight, geothermal and biomass resources. Renewable energy initiatives are often developed in response to addressing greenhouse gas emissions, diversifying energy supplies, meeting government regulations and satisfying consumer demands for renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy is primarily used to generate electricity. Hydropower accounts for about two thirds of our electricity generation here in Canada. The rest is generated by oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear. ‘Other’ renewables are also part of the mix but are just a sliver of our energy pie. The challenge is how can we grow that piece?
In Canada, the answer right now is slowly. But steadily. Canada’s wind power installed capacity is growing every year. Biomass-fired electricity generation (forest and agriculture waste, municipal solid waste and landfill gas) is being considered as an option to replace some coal-fired plants. Biofuel development is continuing to grow; all major oil refineries in Canada blend ethanol and biodiesel. And both solar and geothermal are heating options for residential and commercial development.
Canada certainly has the capacity to make good use of these resources if we can tackle the key issues. Upgrading of the electricity grid infrastructure is essential. Private and public funding of research we know is key to technology development and innovation. And realizing that municipal governments and consumers have a big role to play in developing renewable energy resources locally.
Today’s lesson is in your hands. I will supply you with sources about the big renewables in Canada, but as these industries are constantly evolving, I’d advise that you keep up with them. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know I’ve recently posted several stories on renewables, and am always looking for more.
Canada is an enormous country, and has amazing potential for renewable energy. This is an exciting time for renewables, so I would definitely recommend that you look at these sites now and visit often. There are some truly fantastic things happening.
Canadian Wind Energy Association – Canada’s wind farms
Ontario – Small wind for home and farm
Canadian Solar Industries Association – Solar energy 101
Solar decathlon – Who will compete next?
Canadian Renewable Fuels Association – Public policy
BC – Bioenergy strategy
Canadian Geothermal Association – What is geothermal?
NRCan – Tides, rivers and waves
FORCE – Tidal energy (watch the Fundy Tidal Research video)