Quiet progress on energy alternative front

Terrace, BC group preparing efforts to reduce overall energy use

MARK Twain once joked that everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it. Replace “weather” with “climate” and his argument may no longer hold, and to some degree, did not even in his own time.

Solid science has revealed that our long-term climate warming really began with the transition of human economies from wood to coal, well before Twain was even born. The later transition to oil, combined with the accelerated growth of the human population, simply upped the pace.

Now, despite the noisy rhetoric pretending there is still some doubt about anthropogenic (human-caused) climatic warming, more and more North Americans (government, corporate and individual) are actively doing something about it (Canada’s federal Conservative government being a notable exception with its continued boosterism for all things oil and gas—no surprise there). Terrace, too, is quietly joining the process, as we shall see.

In the United States, long a holdout against organized action to combat climate change, a federal court recently backed the Environmental Protection Agency against legal challenges that would have prevented the agency from mandating mileage standards for new vehicles and regulating power plant emissions. Even Texas has a renewable energy program enabling huge amounts of wind generation capacity and improving transmission capacity to deliver the power. Texas??!

Why not? Basic technology for solar energy is improving rapidly. Photovoltaic developers have improved efficiency to where prices have begun to reach grid parity, particularly in developing countries such as India, where “small is beautiful” distributed generation projects (rooftop solar, for example) lessen the need for extended transmission grids.

Big business, too, is getting with the program. IBM Corporation recently surveyed 130 businesses whose revenues are $1 billion and up about energy efficiency. All were involved in “selection of technology to support environmental, real estate and/or sustainable asset management initiatives,” some more successful than others.

Successful companies involved executive management throughout, as well as teams for planning and execution. “Achiever” companies rank sustainability as a top-five priority within real estate and facilities’ concerns.

So what’s happening here?

In 2007, provincial legislation (Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act) called for reducing the province’s greenhouse gas emissions at least 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

BC Hydro has sponsored CEEP, the Community Energy and Emissions Planning framework to help local governments formulate and implement their own planning. Local representatives and interested citizens participated in a Jan. 16 preparatory webinar with CEEP planners, and on Jan. 23 met locally to try to develop Terrace’s own version of an energy and emissions plan. Ultimately, any plan would require adoption by city council and would include a report to BC Hydro, all aiming to save electricity, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save money.

Cash savings is particularly appealing. Few citizens welcome the heavy hand of regulation, but if it can be shown that plan co-operation results in tangible financial and quality of life benefits, we are more likely to buy in. Given that Terrace citizens spend about $3,000 per person per year on energy, most of which money leaves the community, wouldn’t it make sense to create plans allowing us to keep progressively more of that money at home?

Planning models approach the problem on numerous fronts: how we use energy for mobility fuels and for heating and appliances in our homes and buildings, how we process and utilize waste, and how we organize our community with respect to occupation density and infrastructure distribution.

The planning outline is comprehensive, well-organized, and already based on Terrace data provided in our recent OCP, including calculators for potential energy savings.

Terrace is quietly and commendably preparing to co-operate with other British Columbians to combat unwanted climate change. To steal a phrase from our local recycling entrepreneurs, let’s do our part.

Al Lehmann is a retired teacher living in Terrace, BC.


Just Posted

Thornhill Boil Water Advisory rescinded

Residents are asked to flush their water pipes, clean coffee makers and other appliances

Contractors dig into construction of union office in Terrace

Traffic has been detoured on Kalum St. by Lazelle and Park Ave. for work on the BCGEU office

Baby bear captured on Kalum St.

Bear cub had been seen in area backyards for several days

Public asked to be on lookout for bear cub

Norhtern Lights Animal Shelter on its way here to capture baby bruin in Scott Avenue area.

Searchers rush to find missing hikers with one-year-old child

Family out overnight in cold near Watson Lake

Terrace River Kings overcome Williams Lake Stampeders 6-5

It was a back-and-forth game, played into second overtime before the team secured the win

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

UBC medical students learn to care for Indigenous people

Students in health-related studies to take course, workshop to help better serve Aboriginal people

Most Read