Dear Editor: The anguish the people of Japan must be going through in the horrific aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami is unimaginable. Their calm stoicism and amazing resilience is to be greatly admired.
Watching the international community rushing to help, as they have in other recent disasters, is also to be admired and it is deeply moving. The media have done a fantastic job of bringing this tragedy directly, and immediately, into the lives of every person on the planet and fostering an incredible sense of oneness and empathy with the people of Japan.
However, the tragedy in Japan has raised fresh questions about the safety and advisability of nuclear power in earthquake prone parts of the world. For instance, the nuclear nightmare currently unfolding in Japan will undoubtedly put the brakes on any thought to expand nuclear power in an earthquake prone state like California.
That leaves a big question for California: How will they replace the carbon-intensive energy sources they currently rely on without resorting to nuclear power. Solar energy is definitely one clean energy option that California has in abundance, but it is also one of the more costly clean energy sources available.
In the same spirit of oneness and empathy the world feels with the people of Japan, British Columbians should perhaps look to how we can help our nearby friends and neighbours in California meet their clean energy needs. British Columbia has much to offer in this regard because of the great gifts climate and topography have provided us.
There really is no “us and them” as Japan’s tragedy has shown. There is only us and we. And we must all work together to make this world a better place for all of us.
What is the power of the future? That’s the question raised by Global News anchor Chris Gailus the other night, and it’s a very good question in light of what is going on in Japan.
The world uses 320 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity every day. And demand for electricity continues to grow at an incredible pace. We need power, and we need to get it from somewhere. But where?
In BC, we’re very lucky to get most of our power from hydro. But as Global News reported, 12% of our electricity is imported from Alberta and generated by burning coal. I think we can do better than that. We can become 100% clean and renewable in this province.
I also think we have an obligation to the rest of the world to use our abundance of safe, clean, renewable energy wisely and not take it for granted, especially when we see others struggling with nuclear power and trying to clean up coal. We owe it to the world and to future generations to put our clean energy resources to good use.
Maple Ridge, BC
BC Hydro is embarking on a $6 billion regeneration plan to significantly upgrade the province’s aging electricity generating and transmission infrastructure. Our group, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy, would like to publicly applaud BC Hydro for making this major reinvestment in the province’s public electricity infrastructure. It is long overdue and well-warranted.
BC Hydro’s regeneration plan includes a number of crucial projects aimed at meeting the public’s current and future demands for clean, reliable electricity. A prime example is the $800-million upgrade planned for the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse located in Mission. The Ruskin Dam was built in 1930 and has not received any significant upgrades or modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s.
Yes, the cost of these upgrades will put “upward pressure” on hydro rates. However, residential electricity rates in B.C. are currently among the lowest in North America and have been kept artificially low, in part, by putting off upgrades and equipment updates such as those proposed for the Ruskin Dam.
Moreover, most of our hydroelectric infrastructure in B.C. was built in the decades following the Second World War and is now showing its age. BC Hydro’s regeneration plan and reinvestment in the province’s core public energy assets is therefore as vital as it is overdue if we want to keep the lights on in our province for the next 50 years and beyond.
David Field, Co-spokesperson
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
Letter to the Editor:
Dear Sir or Madam,
I have been shocked by recent stories in the news about the state of electrical systems in British Columbia.
First there was news about dangerous high voltage hot spots found all over Metro Vancouver. These hot spots are the result of aging underground wires fraying and coming into contact with conductive surfaces like manhole covers and lampposts, and they are putting people and pets at serious risk of electrocution. At least one dog has already died.
Then, St. Paul’s Hospital completely lost power and had to switch to its emergency generators to keep the lights on and patients safe.
Toping it all off, the TV news last week showed pictures of an eighty year old, moss covered dam near Vancouver with visibly crumbling concrete. Let me tell you, I would not want to be standing near that dam when an earthquake hits.
So what I would like to know is how things have been allowed to get into such a state of disrepair? Public safety should not be put in jeopardy by neglect of the electrical systems we all depend upon.
More to the point, perhaps, is when can the public expect to see British Columbia’s aging electrical systems brought back up to a safe standard and who is responsible for making sure that this happens? Money obviously needs to be spent, but no price is too great when it comes to public safety.
Yolanda Lora Vilchis
I’ve been studying BC Hydro’s plan for upgrading their hydro dams. It’s a good plan and the public should support these upgrades even if it costs us all a tad more on our hydro bills.
Think about it: The last time BC Hydro built a new dam was back in the mid-1980’s. Their other dams are way older than that. Do people think these dams will last forever if we don’t upgrade them every once in a while?