You can safely bet politicians and bureaucrats use the latest computers and communication devices and regularly view high-definition smart TVs that replaced smaller screens weighing one or two hundred pounds. Despite knowing about short lifespans in the world of high-tech, decision makers have not used their modern tools to learn how energy technologies have shifted radically as well.
This website offers many criticisms of British Columbia’s policies, particularly about government and its agencies remaining dedicated to 20th century energy solutions: fossil fuels and hydropower. Having expected more after Christy Clark and her masters left power, I am surprised and disappointed at the directions taken.
While John Horgan was in the Official Opposition, he and I chatted about needs of the provincial economy as it evolved from a resource base to one more oriented to technology and service. Sectors that once created much of BC’s wealth had been in decline for years and Horgan seemed to agree that innovation and modernization were keys to future success.
Although the NDP Government has committed modest funds to aid deployment of new technologies, I conclude there is more effort put into public relations to sell the programs than to achieve meaningful results.
Whilst BC remains stuck in the past, the world moves on. BC’s primary economic efforts as we begin 2021 are shaped by climate change deniers promoting increased exports of natural gas and coal and development of hydropower that may cost three times that of green alternatives.
Even the world’s first and second largest emitters of greenhouse gases are moving in the right direction.
China is the world’s largest producer of wind and solar energy and the largest investor in renewable energy.
Despite Donald Trump, the American Energy Department is not focused solely on coal, gas and hydro power. It funds the Wind Energies Technologies Office, which is involved in hundreds of projects, including 22 in Washington State.
According to the office, wind energy deployment currently supports more than 100,000 U.S. jobs, and wind turbine technician is one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations.
Orsted, based in Denmark, a nation with population only 13% greater than British Columbia, is a world leader in wind power production. By 2025, the company aims to more than double its offshore wind capacity to the equivalent of the annual electricity consumption of 30 million people.
Think of that. Site C, conceived over 50 years ago, won’t even be operating by then.
The cost of offshore wind energy has been dropping steadily and according to Orsted, is now less expensive than generating capacity that burns fossil fuels. Substantially less harmful to the world’s environment as well. As a result, offshore wind power is currently the fastest growing energy technology in Europe.
A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry, New York Times, January 1, 2021:
Twirling above a strip of land at the mouth of Rotterdam’s harbor is a wind turbine so large it is difficult to photograph. The turning diameter of its rotor is longer than two American football fields end to end. Later models will be taller than any building on the mainland of Western Europe.
…When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities…
The prototype is the first of a generation of new machines that are about a third more powerful than the largest already in commercial service. As such, it is changing the business calculations of wind equipment makers, developers and investors…
The race to build bigger turbines has moved faster than many industry figures foresaw. G.E.’s Haliade-X generates almost 30 times more electricity than the first offshore machines installed off Denmark in 1991...
Offshore technology took hold in Northern Europe in the last three decades, and is now spreading to the East Coast of the United States as well as Asia, including Taiwan, China and South Korea. …Capital investment in offshore wind has more than tripled over the last decade….
In energy matters, governments of Canada, British Columbia, and Alberta are on the wrong path. This is not a questionable hypothesis. It is a certainty. The climate crisis is real.