It seems like the month of April has come and gone in a flash! This newsletter will catch you up on some of the latest renewable energy-related news that happened this past month.
Utilities are the New ‘Cool’
Over the next decade, it is crucial that we do our absolute best to mitigate global climate change. This effort could set the climate change trajectory for our planet. To do this, the electrical utility will change. New technologies such as green hydrogen are coming in as new ways to reduce coal use. Wind and solar power are also reaching immense scale. Electrification of building and transportation are now going mainstream, and the affordability and sustainability of electricity are creating opportunities that we can only begin to imagine.
Transformation is rarely straightforward and never easy. But transform we must, even as we provide reliable, affordable and increasingly sustainable electric service through and beyond that transformation. Like Edison and Tesla before us, decisions today will affect generations to come. It’s all-hands-on-deck to create the future for ourselves, our families and our world.1
Whitehorse Pilot Project Cuts Reliance on Fossil Fuels
The Yukon Conservation Society is leading a two-year pilot project that will shift power usage to off-peak times and reduce the use of fossil fuels.
The organization plans to outfit 40 Whitehorse homes with electric thermal storage units at a discounted rate. Whitehorse residents can now register their interest in the project, which is funded by Natural Resources Canada.
The project aims to reduce the use of diesel and also the use of heating oil and propane. Dependence on diesel is a vexing problem across the North. Many northern communities that are disconnected from electricity grids have turned to the costly and polluting option of trucking in diesel. The advent of community-scale renewable energy solutions, such as solar and wind, along with technologies such as electric thermal storage offer a path forward for communities to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.2
First Nation Utility Scale Solar Farm Makes Canadian History
A new utility scale solar farm fully owned and operated by the Fisher River Cree Nation in Canada is now operational and is making history in that country.
According to the first nation, that facility is the largest of its kind in the province of Manitoba. This also represents the first utility scale solar farm owned by Indigenous people in the country. The Fisher River Cree Nation’s Chief, David Crate, said that the project’s development is one more step in a direction toward producing revenue for that community. He explained that the facility went beyond generating money and electricity but has also brought a sense of pride and empowerment to his community.
“What it does for Manitoba is it lessens the environmental impact,” said Crate. The chief also stated that his community has been sharing their progress and success stories with other first nation communities. The goal is to encourage others to launch their own green energy production projects.3
Should Canada Invest in an Electric Vehicle Transition post COVID-19?
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the globe will be massively investing in, and defining policies for, economic recovery. With all fossil fuel sectors in decline, what better time to make the transition to a green economy?
And what better time for the federal government to develop an electric vehicle (EV) national strategy?
With road transportation representing approximately 60 per cent of petroleum consumption, it is clear a Canadian national holistic vision is required. This entails the federal government shedding its addictions to fossil fuel industry subsidies and pipelines to serve dead-end markets and focusing on the electrification of transport, in collaboration with both the Quebec and Ontario governments plus the EU and China public and private sectors.4
Renewables Beat Coal in the US in April
Preliminary figures from the US Energy Information Administration show that renewables generated more electricity than coal every day during April 2020.
According to Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis researchers, this clean energy stretch began on March 25, when utility-scale solar, wind and hydropower collectively produced more than coal-fired generation and continued for at least 40 straight days through May 3.
According to the Institute, the transition away from coal for electricity generation has accelerated in 2020 due to low gas prices, warmer weather, a significant amount of new renewable capacity connecting to the grid late last year, and more recently, lower power demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.5
N-Sci Technologies Updates
Here at N-Sci we’re still working from home. If you have any questions or have a project and you’re looking for an electrical engineering consultant, give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1Bleveans, Lincoln. (April 9, 2020). Utilities Are the New Cool. Retrieved from greenbiz.com: https://www.greenbiz.com/article/utilities-are-new-cool
2Gignac, Julien. (April 21, 2020). Whitehorse pilot project will cut reliance on fossil fuels for heating. Retrieved from thenarwhal.com: https://thenarwhal.ca/whitehorse-pilot-project-will-cut-reliance-on-fossil-fuels-for-heating/
3Bergenson, Angie. (April 28, 2020). First Nation utility scale solar farm starts generating and makes Canadian history. Retrieved from hydrogenfuelnews.com: https://www.hydrogenfuelnews.com/first-nation-utility-scale-solar-farm-starts-generating-and-makes-canadian-history/8539762/
4Dubitsky, Will. (April 27, 2020). Canada should invest in electric vehicle transition post COVID-19. Retrieved from nationalobserver.com: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/04/27/opinion/canada-should-invest-electric-vehicle-transition-post-covid-19
5MINING.COM Staff Writer. (May 6, 2020). Renewables beat coal in the US in April. Retrieved from mining.com: https://www.mining.com/renewables-beat-coal-in-the-us-in-april/