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Editorial: Need to encourage, not discourage transfer to green power

It’s frankly stupid to be generating much-needed power, but our utility won’t accept it.

It’s just plain depressing. The Cowichan Valley Regional District has turned down $11,000 that could have seen a solar project installed at Meade Creek Recycling Centre.

While we understand the reasoning behind the decision, it’s a real shame it has come to this.

Innumerable scientific, national and international reports tell us that we are in a race against time to curb our carbon footprint or risk catastrophic consequences to our planet. It would be insane not to take this seriously. Climate change threatens our very survival.

One of the key things we need to do is generate more power through green technologies like wind, tidal and, you guessed it, solar, so we can wean ourselves off of our dependence on polluting fossil fuels that only hasten us towards the brink. Things like local solar generation are the future. And yet, even when we’re offered money, we’re not taking the opportunity.

The really crazy thing is that the reason the CVRD’s not going to do it is that it’s going to create too much power. A solar farm at the facility could have created 235 kw, more than required to power the site. What was going to make the outlay of cash to build it ($1.2 to $2.16 million) doable was that in the past BC Hydro has bought back excess power from such facilities. But they’ve decided not to do that anymore. It’s a real step backwards.

The buy back program was exactly the kind of thing we need to encourage individuals and local governments to make the switch to more sustainable power supplies. We need to make these kinds of investments as attractive as possible, not put up roadblocks. And it all really hinges on BC Hydro. They are the ones with the infrastructure to get the power from here to there.

If they are no longer interested in buying back the excess power that independent producers generate, maybe they could look at creating some kind of program where individual customers could purchase that excess power specifically, with BC Hydro simply the conduit. We’re sure there would be interest from both individuals and businesses.

It’s frankly stupid to be generating much-needed power, but our utility won’t accept it. One thing is certain. We need our governments to show some leadership, and this isn’t it. There has to be political will to make the decisions that are going to ensure our future.

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