Top News

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 10:00 • Chris Rose
wind power, clean energy

Wind power has become so successful that it could provide 25 to 30 per cent of global electricity supply by mid-century if vested interests don’t get in the way, according to a new report published Tuesday.

The report — Global Wind Energy Outlook 2014 — said that commercial wind power installations in more than 90 countries had a total installed capacity of 318 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2013, providing about three per cent of global electricity supply.

By 2030, the report said, wind power could reach 2,000 GW, supply up to 17 to 19 per cent of global electricity, create over two million new jobs and reduce CO2 emissions by more than three billion tonnes per year.

The report published by the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace International noted that while emissions-free wind power continues to play a growing role in international electricity supply, political, economic and institutional inertia is hampering attempts to deal with the consequences of climate change.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 12:17 • Carol Linnitt
stand up for science, zack embree, harper

In an open letter published Monday more than 800 scientists are asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end “burdensome restriction on scientific communication and collaboration faced by Canadian government scientists.”

The Harper government has recently attracted international attention after a report published by a leading research union identified Canadian scientists as particularly hard hit by budget cuts and communications protocols that prevent their freedom of expression.

More than 800 scientists from over 32 countries signed Monday’s letter, drafted by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The letter states “a rapid decline in freedoms and funding” is restricting scientific freedoms in Canada by preventing open communication and collaboration with other international scientists.

Canada’s leadership in basic research, environmental, health and other public science is in jeopardy,” the letter states. “We urge you to restore government science funding and the freedom and opportunities to communicate these finding internationally.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 09:43 • Erin Flegg
Christy Clark tours Kitimat LNG

The B.C. government has announced its highly anticipated plan to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. While the legislation gives LNG plants a stringent standard for carbon pollution, it doesn't address the rest of the natural gas supply chain and focuses heavily on the use of carbon offsets.

LNG production releases carbon pollution all the way down the chain of production, from wellhead to waterline,” said Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada. “[The] legislation only addresses the last link in that chain — the port facilities where companies would chill the gas to load it aboard ships. It also allows companies to buy credits rather than actually build cleaner terminals.”

Still, Smith characterized the province's announcement as “a good start” and the province indicated regulations to govern upstream emissions from shale gas development are coming.

Facilities will be charged $25 per tonne of emissions over the limit and an incentive program will subsidize corporations’ compliance costs at an increasing rate the closer they get to meeting the target.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 - 09:19 • Emma Gilchrist
Canada Revenue Agency

A new report from the Broadbent Institute raises fresh questions about whether Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) audits are being used as a politicized tool to pressure critics of the federal government. 

The report, Stephen Harper’s CRA: Selective audits, “political” activity, and right-leaning charities, says several right-leaning charities are reporting zero “political” activity while engaging in work that appears to meet the CRA’s definition.

We know charities that have been critical of policies of the Harper government are being audited by the Canada Revenue Agency. With mounting evidence suggesting bias in auditing decisions, we need to find out what’s going on here,” said Rick Smith, executive director of Broadbent Institute, a non-partisan organization founded by former NDP Leader Ed Broadbent.

Monday, October 20, 2014 - 12:16 • Judith Lavoie
Pat Morrow

When Pat Morrow looks around at the mountains, towering on either side of the Jumbo Valley, his concern is palpable.

Avalanche paths are clearly visible, both beside Jumbo Creek Road and on slopes surrounding the meadows and valley where Glacier Resorts Ltd. wants to build a 6,000-bed all-season ski resort.

Looking down the valley, we are seeing how vulnerable it is to massive avalanche damage. There are three or four fresh ones. The avalanche paths are just slowly eating their way across the slope as the years go along,” Morrow said.

Few people who are familiar with Morrow’s accomplishments are going to argue with his expertise.

Sunday, October 19, 2014 - 09:28 • Guy Dauncey
solar power, clean energy, BC, guy dauncey

This article originally appeared on the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association website.

It’s known as “the warm land,” and as soon as you get off the highway Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley certainly has the feeling of pleasant summer warmth, filled with agricultural fecundity. It was the Coast Salish Cowichan people who gave it the name - that’s what cowichan means in the Hul’q’umi’num language.

So solar energy lies deep in the heritage of the valley, and maybe its appropriate that British Columbia’s first solar bulk buy has sprung unto life here, and is pioneering a new approach to solar installations.

Peter Nix—who calls himself a Cowichan carbon-buster—started pondering the possibility in May, so he was ready to leap when the opportunity arose to place a bulk order for 720 solar panels, totaling 200 kilowatts. A large project had fallen through, and the panels were available at 72 cents a watt, much less than the market norm of $1.00 a watt for solar PV of this quality.

Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 13:09 • Erin Flegg
Dr. David Jacobs speaks at Generate Conference 2014

We’re all taught in life that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The sentiment has been applied to Germany’s renewable energy transition, or Energiewende, with critics questioning emission reduction reporting or arguing costs of new systems are too high. But even if the Energiewende isn’t quite as shiny as it first appears, there are still a few important lessons from Germany's energy transition that Canada can take to heart.

German clean energy policy expert Dr. David Jacobs paid Canada a visit this week to dispel a few myths about the Energiewende. While addressing potential downsides, Jacobs talked about the lessons North American countries can take from Germany’s push toward completely sustainable energy. 
Jacobs, the founder and director of International Energy Transition Consulting, organized an event in Vancouver Thursday to discuss Germany’s energy policies, and invited MLAs, policymakers, developers and academics to ask questions. He also spoke at the annual Generate conference, hosted by Clean Energy BC. Jacobs visited at the invitation of Clean Energy Canada as part of their Low Carbon Leadership speaker series.