Lumsden goes solar at River Park Centre

At Lumsden’s River Park, people playing at the splash pad or tak- ing in a ball game will no longer be the only ones soaking up the sun. Newly installed solar panels on the River Park Centre roof will also be taking in the rays, helping to power the centre and reducing power costs for the town.

A 10 kW solar system has been in- stalled at the centre by Sunroof En- ergy Corp. Operation of the system began last week.

“It’s a lot of satisfaction, a lot of pride in our community, stepping up and being on the forefront of [renewable energy] for our community” said Lumsden Mayor Bryan Matheson. “I think it’s the wave of the future and we’re happy to have this happen in Lumsden.” The 10kW solar system is expected to generate around 15,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, approximately 54 per cent of the centre’s yearly electricity usage.

Solar panels were installed as part of Sunroof Energy’s Municipal Solar Energy Program. Through the pro- gram, Sunroof provides, installs and maintains the solar system, with the town simply purchasing the produced solar energy.

“[The Municipal Solar Energy Pro- gram] allows municipalities to put solar power on municipally owned buildings without having to come up with any capital,” said Al Simp- son, president of Sunroof Energy Corp. “So the citizens of Lumsden aren’t going to be asked to pay for this. All that’s really required, in this particular case, is the rec. centre solar system will produce solar en-ergy and whatever it produces, the town will pay for at a rate cheaper than they are paying now to Sask- Power.”

Savings in electrical expenses at the River Park Centre are expected to be approximately $21,000 over the lifetime of the solar system. “That’s not insignificant,” said Simpson.

The Sunroof Energy president was unable to disclose information about other municipalities participating in the program, but did say there has been an extreme amount of interest. “We’re excited about it,” he said. The president congratulated the town on having a vision for the future and going forward with a renewable energy system. Matheson explained the River Park Centre project is the first of many, with the town planning to introduce solar energy into other community buildings in the future.

Solar panels adorn the roof of the River Park Centre in Lumsden. The panels, installed by Sunroof Energy Corp., are expected to generate around 15,000-kilowatt hours of renewable energy each year, 54 per cent of the River Park Centre’s yearly electricity usage. The panels were turned on last week. Photo by Sarah MacMillan.


SaskPower looking to increase rates

SaskPower rates are likely on the way up.

In an announcement Tuesday, the crown corporation said it is making an application to the Saskatchewan Rate Review Panel to raise rates by five per cent. That would mean another $6 a month for an average customer.

“We know rate increases are not something people enjoy. We’re doing what we can to minimize the impact, focusing on restraint and optimization here at SaskPower,” said CEO Mike Marsh.

Power rates have gone up at least once a year since 2013. As of Jan. 1, 2017, residential customers were paying an average of $22.76 more a month than in 2012.

For seven years in a row, the province has set records for the amount of power needed at one time according to Marsh, adding two power records for peak summer usage were set in August.

“The reality is, as the system continues to grow in the province, despite the economic slowdown we’re seeing continual growth on the electricity side, the continual increase in customers being connected to the grid,” he said.

Five per cent equates to another $124 million a year for the crown.

Capital investment is anticipated to top $1 billion in 2017-18. That includes building and replacing new power poles and transmission lines. Major projects are also in the works over the next several years such as the Regina Bypass, the Pasqua to Swift Current transmission line and the Chinook Power Station.

If SaskPower gets its way, the increase will come into effect March 1, 2018. It has to be approved by both the review panel and the provincial government.

In terms of what kind of impact this proposal may have on Saskatoon Light and Power, Marsh said that company buys its power from the crown and he believes in the past, any increases for that company’s customers have been similar to that of SaskPower’s.

Marsh concedes they will try and keep increases to once per year, what he called moderate increases over the next few years, when necessary.

Meter fires

Marsh was also asked about the recent meter box fires and if they contributed to the reason for the rate increase.

“There’s nothing with respect to the meter fires that are part of this rate application at all,” he insisted.

He estimated the cost of the meter fires to date is in excess of $1 million. That number will grow as more inspections and fixes are made. More than 5,000 homes have been checked said Marsh with somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1,000 remaining.

SaskPower has chosen to pay for any costs incurred related to the fires.

Source: CJME

Pollution Sunset Smoke

Liberals to outline draft plan for national carbon tax Thursday

The federal government is set to release a discussion paper Thursday outlining how it plans to impose a national carbon tax that will include flexibility for provinces who are at least working towards implementing their own plans, CBC News has learned.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will discuss the plan at a press conference at 1 p.m. ET on Parliament Hill. will carry her remarks live.

Provinces that already have a carbon tax, such as British Columbia and Alberta, or plan to impose a carbon price through a cap and trade system, such as Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, will not be affected.

Provincial sources and those briefed on the federal plan tell CBC the Liberals are hoping to copy the Alberta model for its proposed carbon tax.

Under a deal reached late last year, the federal government wants every province to have some kind of price on carbon by next year and would impose one in 2019 for those provinces that failed to do so.

But the sources said there may be some flexibility if a province is on the verge of approving its own carbon tax, the federal plan will not be imposed Jan. 1, 2019.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and the premiers reached agreement on a pan-Canadian climate framework in December, though Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Manitoba’s Brian Pallister did not sign the agreement. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)
Saskatchewan opposed

Ottawa has set a starting price of $10 a tonne on carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022.

So far, five provinces already have a price on carbon.

Four others have promised to bring one in, though they are at different stages of coming up with plans. Those include Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Only Saskatchewan has steadfastly refused to bring in a carbon tax and is threatening to take the federal government to court.

The federal government has promised that any money raised from a federal carbon tax would be returned to that province.

Thursday’s discussion paper will outline different ways that funding could flow. That could range from a lump sum payment to the provincial government or some kind of rebate to businesses and the public.

Trudeau announces ‘pan-Canadian framework’ on climate — but Sask., Manitoba hold off
Carbon pricing scheme to reflect North’s ‘specific challenges’
Provinces must have a carbon pricing system in place in order to tap into various green pots of money announced in the last two federal budgets.

Ottawa and most of the provinces and territories reached a framework deal last December on cutting greenhouse gasses to meet Canada’s Paris Climate Accord commitments. The possibility of a federal carbon tax for provinces that didn’t implement their own plan was part of that agreement.

The federal Liberals were under pressure to have a plan to lower greenhouse gas emissions before it approved more pipelines to carry crude to market.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on the dual promise of protecting the environment and developing energy resources at the same time, saying often that improving the economy and the environment go hand in hand.

Chevy Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle rolls out to Canadian dealerships

Two years ago, a Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle (EV) concept car was unveiled at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Ever since, Canadian consumers have been antsy to get their hands on one. This time last year, we reported that a single Quebec dealer had pre-sold 93 of them.

Yesterday was the day for those anxious Canadians, as the first models of the Chevrolet Bolt EV were delivered to buyers in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

The Chevy Bolt EVs can last up to 383 kilometres on a single charge, can go from zero to sixty in 6.5 seconds, offers 266 lb/ft of torque, and starts with a price tag of $42,795 not including taxes and applicable fees. The Bolt comes with some other pretty cool features such as One-Pedal Driving which allows the driver to come to a complete stop without having to touch the brake pedal, this allows the energy produced to be re-used instead of being lost while breaking.

That $42,795 price tag does not include incentives which are offered based on which province you live in. Those who live in Ontario can get up to $14,000 in incentives plus up to $1,000 towards the installation of a home charging station for your their vehicle. The amount the customer receives is based on the battery size of the vehicle, the number of passengers which the vehicle can hold, the price of the vehicle, and the terms of the lease. In Quebec it is possible to receive up to $8,000 off the vehicle plus 50 per cent off a charging station up to a maximum of $600. British Columbians can receive up to $5,000 of incentives towards the vehicle.

Production for the Chevy Bolt EV began in November of 2016 and the very first Bolts were sold in California over December of 2016. It will be available across all North America and certain European markets early this year.

The Chevy Bolt has already won awards, including Green Car Journal’s 2017 Green Car of the Year, the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year Award, the 2017 North American Car of the Year award. It was also been listed by Time Magazine as one of the best 25 inventions of 2016.