Energy Alternatives for British Columbia

Silver factory against a grey sky, with black soil all around.

Listen up Canada, today’s whole show is focused on alternative energy in British Columbia. It may be all the way across the country, but there’s a lot we can all learn from their experience. We’re talking the pros and cons of cleaner, cheaper, more economically productive energy schemes—from big hydro to little and to the ground beneath your feet.

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Geothermal Alternative to Site C Dam

In British Columbia’s Peace River region, everyone is waiting for the government to decide on the fate of the Site C dam. BC Hydro calls it a green energy project. Others lament the loss of farmland, effect on wildlife and the irrevocable loss of First Nations heritage. For these people, the cheap power provided isn’t worth the tradeoff.

Depending on your outlook, then, the following could be quite ironic. According to BC Hydro’s own numbers, geothermal energy could provide almost the same amount of power as the Site C Dam, with far less environmental disturbance. The Joint Review Panel pegs geothermal potential at 700 MW. That’s two thirds of what Site C can deliver. The geothermal industry, meanwhile, claims that number is a major underestimate—there are thousands of megawatts of geothermal energy just waiting to be tapped.

To find out more about the viability of geothermal electric generation in B.C. we speak to Dr. Titi Kunkel (University of Northern British Columbia) and Alison Thompson (Canadian Geothermal Energy Association).

Renewable Energy for Remote Communities

If you live in the city, try to think back to the last time you flipped a light switch and nothing turned on. Now, picture depending on a plane full of diesel to come into town before you get power back on again! If you live in a remote community in Canada today, this is likely the energy system you rely on. For you, moving towards a more local renewable energy system is about more than just climate issues.

In an interview we originally broadcast in 2012, Chris Chang-Yen Phillips speaks to Alia Lamaadar. We’ll learn about Cleantech Community Gateway, her non-profit working to help the communities of Haida Gwaii build a new energy system.

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