Alternative energy

Diana French’s weekly column for Nov. 21

Question – will we be paying higher electricity bills to get back some of the money we’ve loaned to BC Hydro for the Site C dam?

A recent study in the USA found that when electric bills go too high, big users go solar, leaving householders and the little guys paying higher rates to compensate. Could that happen here?

We hear a lot about wind and solar power but what about district energy systems? A taxpayer-backed geothermal energy project in north Richmond gives a peek into the future and is another example of why Site C may be outdated already.

The city-owned and award winning Lulu Island Energy Corporation (LIEC) operates the district energy systems (DES) in the city. DES centralizes energy production for servicing residential and commercial customers in a given area.

It produces hot water, steam or chilled water at a central plant, then distributes the energy through underground pipes to buildings connected to the system. Customers use the hot and chilled water for space heating, water heating, processing and air-conditioning needs.

Once the water is used by consumers, it is returned to the central plant to be re-heated and re-chilled then re-circulated through the closed-loop piping system. LIEC is fully supported by user fees with no impact on property taxes.

In other energy news, the provincial government has ordered Progress Energy to drain the water behind two humongous unauthorized dams the company built north of Fort St. John.

The earthen dams, higher than five-storey buildings, went undetected until reported by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Progress, (a subsidy of Petronas, the Malaysian state owned LNG company) wanted the dammed water for gas drilling and fracking.

The big dams are two of 16 unauthorized dams in northern BC.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

CH-149 Cormorant helicopters may be part of night training exercises in the Chilcotin this month. (Canadian Armed Forces photo)
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron to hold night training in the Chilcotin

The public may see flares and search and rescue technicians parachuting to the ground

Snow is in the forecast for Williams Lake Friday, Oct. 23, which has already been falling in areas of the Chilcotin as seen here at Nimpo Lake. (Harriet Hird photo)
Ice, snow, chilly temperatures in forecast for Williams Lake area

Temperatures will dip down to -11C on Friday evening

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Motorist pulls into B.C. RCMP detachment after roadkill eagle comes back to life in minivan

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

COVID-19. (Courtesy of CDC).
Interior Health reports 12 additional COVID-19 cases

The total number of cases in the region is now at 644

Part of the committee’s business plan is to give the “school,” officially known as the Wells-Barkerville Culture and Recreation Centre, a new name. (District of Wells)
Wells school renovation gets funding boost from mining company

Barkerville Gold Mines has put half a million dollars into the project to renovate the closed school

Actor Ryan Reynolds surprised a Shuswap family with a special birthday message to their son who was worried he’d be alone on his 9th birthday on Nov. 24. (Tiffanie Trudell/Facebook)
Ryan Reynolds text almost gives away Shuswap boy’s birthday surprise

Deadpool actor helps remind eight-year-old Canoe resident he’s not alone

Vancouver police reactivated the search for Jordan Naterer Thursday Oct. 22. Photo courtesy of VPD.
Mom of missing Manning Park hiker believes her son is waiting to come home

‘He’s going to come out of a helicopter and say ‘what took you so long?”

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Environment Minister George Heyman, Premier John Horgan and Energy Minister Michelle Mungall announce that B.C. Hydro is proceeding with construction of the Site C dam, Dec. 11, 2017. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
Site C actions, costs won’t be known until after B.C. election, Horgan says

Peace River diverted for construction of reinforced dam base

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

One of the squirrels who ended up having their tails amputated after getting them stuck together with tree sap. (Facebook/Wild ARC)
Squirrels recovering from tail amputation after sap situation near Victoria

BC SPCA Wild ARC says squirrels will be released back into wild, fifth sibling was euthanized

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Lower Mainland man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after buying electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

Most Read