The Changing Environment for Electrical Generation In BC

 The electrification landscape in BC has changed dramatically recently and many people are not aware of how much it has changed. Only a few years ago the official word from BC Hydro  was that we had plenty of electricity generation in BC - especially with Site C coming online.  But in the last two years BC Hydro has begun to discuss the need for more distributed generation as we electrify building heat and transportation. This winter the need for additional generation became more urgent as drought across Western North American meant that hydro-electricity might not be as available as it has been in the past.  Policy makers are now starting to think about rolling back electrification incentives.  Fossil Fuel lobbyists are exploiting the current situation to call for an increase in GHG emissions (see: ) This is going to make it harder to meet our climate change targets.  Of course, the solution is to acce

What are so many Canadians duped by this graphic?

This graphic gets several things wrong. First it assumes that Canadian forests are a CO2 sink. But in fact they have been a CO2 source for several years (in other words they are emitting more CO2 than they absorb). The data to support this is publicly available: More obvious is the fact the graphic also assumes a misunderstanding of how the carbon cycle and emission reporting works. The graphic claims that Canada produces 559 Mt of CO2 (the actual number is closer to 700) but the number reported for CO2 emissions is not the total CO2 released in Canada. It is just the amount from post-industrial sources. Animals (including humans) all release CO2 as part of natural processes. These are not counted in the emissions reporting because they have no affect on global warming. They have no affect because the CO2 is absorbed by plants (including Canada's boreal forests). During per-indus

Is BC Hydro about to Kill Solar Energy in BC?

On April 20th BC Hydro announced changes to the net-metering program. The announcement was made late on a Friday afternoon, which is when one makes announcements that you hope the public and media will ignore. About 95% of the projects under net-metering are solar energy (photovoltaic) projects. The immediate change would limit the size of projects based on the utility customer's electrical consumption in the prior year. It would also end the payment for excess annual power. This change won't have a major affect on new participation since most projects would fall below this threshold. What is more worrisome is the contents of the submission to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) which will need to approve the change.  In the submission it is clear that BC Hydro thinks that there is already too much enrolment in the net-metering program.  And they state they will further review the program and make another submission to the BCUC before the end of the year. Reading between the

BC's climate consultation

 My thoughts on BC's Climate Consultation: It is not honest to say that BC is a world leader with our carbon tax when some jurisdictions have a tax that is 500% higher and have seen much greater reductions in GHG emissions.  The evidence from full life cycle analysis of our governments approach to LNG indicates that it will create a disastrous increase in GHG emissions. The continued prioritizing of adding new road infrastructure instead of public transit is also have a significant negative affect on climate stabilization. You can comment here:

Renewable Energy Could Supply Most of BC's Energy Needs

23 kW solar array in Delta, BC Blair King's recent blog post  (August 17th Huffpost British Columbia) “Dispelling Some Myths About British Columbia's Energy Picture” attempted to create a more complete picture of BC's energy use.  He makes an important point that we need to move beyond rhetoric about renewable energy and focus on practical solutions based on quantitative analysis. Unfortunately, King made some miscalculations and inaccurate statements in his piece. He is correct that electricity is only part of the picture when it comes to BC energy use.  King points out that gas and diesel accounts for about 78,000 GWh of energy.  But he then incorrectly assumes that if we converted all these vehicles to electric the consumption would be the same.  Electric vehicles are about 80% efficient compared to 20% efficiency for internal combustion engines.  So if we converted all vehicles to electric it would account for only about 19,000 GWh of electrical consumption. Kin

Let's Be Honest about Rejecting Resource Extraction

My response to an interview with Dan Miller on CBC Radio's The 180: Your interview with Dan Miller contained more misinformed views than I have probably heard in any single interview. I am resident of Vancouver who is very much opposed to new LNG infrastructure, new pipelines and new coal exports. But that doesn't mean I don't understand the resource industries. I was born in northern BC. My family has worked in resource industries for generations. I have worked for oil refineries in this region and in the tar sands in Alberta. He claims that my position is simply an “emotional” argument. But it is not. It is based firmly in science. The science is clear that we need to reduce green-house gas emissions by 80-90%. That means that it makes no sense to build any new fossil fuel infrastructure. On the other hand his arguments were entirely emotional with no evidence offered to support his position. He claims that those opposed to expanding fossil

My Comments to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel

The official transcript is at: I have made small edits for clarity. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for listening. In 1827, over 180 years ago, a French scientist, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, wrote a paper that helped us understand how our planet works. It was based on earlier experiments by a Swiss scientist, deSaussure. In 1896, Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, building on that paper developed a formula that allowed him to calculate exactly how much temperatures would rise based on the CO2 that we put into our atmosphere. That was 117 years ago. We’ve had 117 years of experiments, data collection, research, measurement and even more precise calculations and yet, from what I understand, this Panel is not even going to fully consider the impact of that science and this project. Anthropogenic global warming has been called the most peer-reviewed project in the histo