The Left Side

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Peter Nix’s Solar Farm Near Maple Bay – A Model for Community Owned Energy Utilities?

Richard 'Hub' HughesIn our wonderful hi tech world of efficiency I managed to lose this story from Carbon Buster Peter Nix.

However, it is not date specific and worth a read and your consideration.


Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.53.40 PM


Submitted by Peter Nix

Our propane fireplace needed maintenance last week…..wait now, before you fire off that critical email, we got rid of our oil/wood boiler and use propane only as a backup for electric heaters. OK? Hope so, because nobody said a carbon buster’s job is easy.

Anyway, I jokingly asked Gary, the gas fitter, if he knew that his job would inevitably become extinct. Instead of being pissed off, he smiled and said ?yes, I know?.

I guess he was listening to politicians and scientists at that Paris Climate Conference last week. At the same time, a Suncor oil sands mechanic got considerable publicity when he also admitted the need to phase out his fossil fuel job and transition to renewable forms of energy ? wow, this in Fort McMurray!

But given the extensive press coverage of the Paris Conference, is my carbon buster job also to become extinct?

Well, action on climate change is too important to leave to governments or corporations. So the answer is both “yes” and “no”.

Yes, I don’t need to warn about the danger of climate change any more. But no, I will still work to find ways to phase out the use of fossil fuels. If you and I do that, governments will achieve their carbon reduction objectives, fossil fuel corporations will go bankrupt, and our climate will heal. Problem solved.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 4.52.33 PMOf course, this transition to renewable energy will not be easy and cannot be abrupt. So we all have very big jobs, but with very big benefits. Our non-carbon future will be sustainable and likely more democratic, more social, and, certainly, more healthy ? a big deal in Cowichan according to our regional medical officer.

We need to help each other change our way of thinking. If we treat fossil fuel users that live in our community as we now treat smokers that come into our homes – kind but stern – then we will succeed.

If we phase out our use of gasoline or home heating fuel, corporations will fear the financial risk of digging or drilling expensive fossil fuels out of the ground. So I am transitioning my energy into supporting alternatives to fossil fuels.

For example, a group in Cowichan is setting up a public solar energy project. Citizens would finance locally-produced, non-carbon solar energy – and make money. They could lease roof tops from fellow citizens, or maybe build small solar “farms” like mine near Maple Bay. Interested? Email

Instead of exporting energy jobs to Alberta and Texas, we should produce local renewable energy. According to Guy Dauncey, BC Sustainable Energy Association, 400 MW of locally installed solar energy per year would create between 14 and 17,000 local BC jobs.

In our future non-carbon world, we will need lots of clean renewable energy to run electric heat pumps for our homes, drive electric cars on our roads, and use electric power in our industry.

Hey, even human muscles run on electricity – and unlike burning fossil fuels, it’s sustainable.



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