How Energy should work for B.C.
Bill Meikle firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a second draft of the page. Let me say up front that my idea is
to use the existing
hydro infastructure for industry. Focus on the home.
Electricity - production by source (fossil fuel):
Electricity - production by source (hydro):
Electricity - production by source (nuclear):
[ Electricity - production by source (other):
I've found myself feeling pretty negative lately,
always saying 'that's not how energy
should be done here...' I mean I see that huge haze of smog over Vancouver
when I go to the beach and the forest fires and floods....Problems all
over the world...
I thought I'd take a moment and visualize
how I think it SHOULD
As voters, we constantly have to make decisions about
production. Should that Dam go there? Should that burner be allowed
there? Should that pipeline be built?
But have we really learned the options? Have we educated ourselves
about energy production and transmission and updated ourselves with regards
to todays possibilities? That's the crux. What's possible this year that
possible ten years ago?
We need to know, and make our
decisions based on it.
To tell you the truth that's
why I'm doing this page...
so I can catch up on this stuff...
Do we know what could be? ...and what we will get instead!
When one looks at energetics in B.C. the first necessary step is to
close your mind to how it's handled elsewhere around the world.
I mean we want to copy the best technologies, but it's important to understand
that as British Columbians we have unique options.
We have one of the highest land/person ratios anywhere in the world.
We have to imagine something bold, creative, powerful and new.
Be leaders in the world.
Nuclear plants, coal burning, these are the solutions of desperate people
in desperate places. When one imagines a poor african villager carrying
a bundle of twigs for miles to make a fire to boil some putrid water, one
can see that energetics are desperate in some parts of the world...We are
just out of the stone age.
Our goal should be to get our own house in order, and then make some money
and do some good helping others...
In B.C. the situation is comparatively easy. A woodsmen heading
off to a remote area can just buy gas and run a genset to power his life.
When he needs more he can just hop in the truck, go to town and get more...
But can we be better? Where does that gas come from? Where do the fumes
As I write this up the price of gas is through the roof... how much are
we willing to pay?
(BEING TWO FACED)
Sometimes in business you have to do things you're not proud of....
The B.C. low population and high wealth in natural resources allows us
leaders in green energy even while our petroleum fields provide us with
foreign exchange capital.
The trick is in thinking about how things are elsewhere in one breath
and thinking differently about how things are here, the next.
Elsewhere they are cash rich/resource poor. We are the opposite..
What I think B.C. should do is become experts at importing money for our
gas, and keeping it in the province by using locally produced hydrogen.
Don't think that energy is just about B.C. Hydro, or the gas company,
how cars work, how much work gets done at a factory, it's about how we
decide to drive or walk to the store to get a litre of milk, it's about the
kyoto accord... Energetics are politics in many ways. Are our politics
informed in this province?
A key to a B.C. energy strategy is in using the unique conditions of this
best we can. We have unique things to work with here.
Regeneration is a key. When you think of a spinning top, you see a sytem
that cycles energy efficiently.
We want our economic system to cycle money the same way.
We can maximize provincial self-sufficiency, and stop imports of oil, thereby
creating income for generations into the future.
Money coming into the province circles around as long as possible before
it goes out again.
That's what regeneration is. The oilworker gets paid, and buys food made
by local people, who in turn, hire local people, who pay rent to local people
etc. the money cycles. If the oil worker buys food from a corporation elsewhere,
the money leaves the province....
Strong regeneration can free up cash for education and health care. A
lot of that expense, like doctor and teacher salaries, stays in the province.
All that money that used to flow out of the province for gas stays here.
Rather than buying a tank of gas off a foreigner, you buy a tank of hydrogen,
created by a local waterfall....
Two design precepts:
Modular Self Sufficiency: In software you break problems into modules.
Each of the modules has inputs and outputs but is as self sufficient as possible...
I think this applies to energetics too. I'm not sure if this means generation
at the household level, but definitely at the community level. The more
self-sufficient each module in the provincial system is, the more robust
the system. Towns with
a diversity of inputs (not like the many one-industry towns we've started
with) need to be encouraged...
Diversity is Resiliance: This is the first rule of ecology (if I remember)
that if there are a lot of species in an ecosystem, the bigger animals
have lots of choice of what to feed on so nothing goes extinct. Cut down
diversity and you risk species crashing. In energetics I think this applies
also. If we have a system with only a few massive generators...then in a
war, for example, they can get knocked out far more easily than in a more
decentralized,diverse system... Also a network with many diverse points of
generation, is less subject to large power outages.
Another way of thinking of this is that we want
as many KINDS of generation as possible. If a drought knocked out all the
hydro dams in b.c. are we robust enough to handle it? We want mature modern
sectors in wind, wave, and solar, as a design goal.
how we should make power:
The numbers are ballpark, but I'm daring to make guesses:
I mean we begin by assuming industry is going to use the 54% of power created
in canada for hydro.
this is how we do the rest:
Starting with the basics, insulation is a great provider of negawatts.
Tight well insulated structures are all that's worth heating...
There is probably quite a bit to be gained by simple investments in efficiency
through industry too, updating appliances...that sort of thing. It isn't
sexy, but if we just changed most of the 60 and 100 watt lightbulbs in the
province over to the new 7 watt fluorescents we'd save a ton of energy...weather
stripping and insulation before power plants!
2.Heat pumps/geothermal. 18%
Having spent 7 years in the woods homesteading, I have some experience
in generating my own energy.
What I found is that lighting and a stereo or t.v. are easy. Heat is the
most difficult problem in day-to-day energy use around a house. Modern heat
pumps are amazing. There are greenhouses in holland that store ice in winter
and hot water in summer, and use it all year round to create energy. Heat
pumps can create energy out of any difference in temperature: A source of
hot and a source of cold. These greenhouses EXPORT energy. That is these
large stuctures have too much heat, so some is turned into electriciy
while they are cooled...?
In B.C. where we have oceans next to
ice caps, and rivers next to icey air...these are a huge unexplored area
This link from B.C. hydro
suggests an average household can save 50% of heating costs with a heat
pump. If we mass produce
and install them in most homes, a huge provincial saving would be incurred...
3. micro hydro electric/hydro electric 30%
We already have a big and powerful hydro system in B.C.
The 3 rainy mountain ranges are key. Moisture flows off the pacific and
hits the vancouver island mountains, making the west coast wet. Then it hits
the coastal mountains, making North Van wet. Then it hits the Monashees, Purcells,
and rockies, making some pockets of the interior wet.
The trick to hydro-electic power for us is protecting fish spawning,while
hydro output. Hydrogen might play a huge role in this, since it can be
created relatively inexpensively on
remote sites and picked up only once in a while...
4. Wind 10%
This is part of a 'new mainstream' system. To actually make 10% of b.c.
power with wind would take a huge effort,
but we have some locations that are perfect...
5. Solar. 10%
Because our solar is only good in some areas, it would have to be very
aggressive there... Osoyoos,
Merrit, places in the rainshadow, would all have to have every home with
solar tiles on the roof...
Here is a paper showing that
'less than a square of 30 by 30 kilometers.'
could replace the worlds nuclear production, (7% of power generated)...
They work better, in hot places, but what about placing one in international
Biomass/Firewood as a source of rural community winter heating. The trees
can offset the carbon in terms of greenhouse gases. Plant more trees and
burn some wood in clean heating systems.
Clean, centralized woodstoves with filters, could probably heat (or supplement)
some small towns using local resources.
8. New Alternatives; 4%
so if my basic idea is to take the alternative sources of yester-year and
mainstream, what are the new alternatives?
-hydrogen created by biological means.
-water car tech/cavitation.
This is probably an urban myth but the web is full of designs and legends
of cars that run on water.
the idea of getting hydrogen on deman
One of our companies, Ballard, might have some of the storage and transmission
problems solved. Traditionally a big problem with remote energy creation
has been transmission.
may solve that.
We have to stop imagining things
based on the old economy and think hydrogen. We should get Kyoto money to
do so. B.C. should sell kyoto points to the other provinces...
I don't think it's unrealistic to
imagine remote generation systems (like a hydro system up an old logging
road) that large hydrogen trucks drive up to and pick up their cargo
My suggestion is a very decentralized grid of micro-generators
hidden near remote no-fish
waterfalls all over the province. The pipelines and generators might be
In some places like the road from Van to whistler,
there is already a transmission line in place and when the rain falls
there is a waterfall every 100 feet. The road across Vancouver island is
By adding generation inputs on these we have a start. But most of the
power is remote.
In other places, like the network of logging roads around B.C., automated
systems might provide hydrogen that is trucked to gas stations...
Boats and helicopters might be used too, to access remote locations.
They should be burried or hidden as much as possible to have zero impact
on the visual environment, and to minimize vandalism.
But what about more remote sites? Along the coast for example? The dam
at ocean falls is an example of a bunch of power with nowhere to go. In the
same way that oil is transported in large trucks would it be possible to
I've read that hydrogen, realistically, is about as hard to handle as
natural gas... but it is also at best(liquid)
3 times more volume than gas. If we need 3 times more trucks it's a good
thing they run on hydrogen so they don't pollute...
The hydrogen economy will probably first be see in laptops and cellphones.
you can buy a hydrogen car today. (100 grand!)
is a place you can buy your electric hydrogen maker...
energy in toronto sells hydrogen gas stations...
if you are in a remote place where shipping in gasoline is very expensive,
but you have a source of
electricity, say hydro-electric, it may already be worth it go hydrogen!
What's a zinc fuel cell
Here's a site with great working hydrogen
Any discussion of energy these days must necessarily take into consideration
the work of Nicolas Tesla, and resonance. Consider any oscillator, as
So when you spin a top you are not only spinning a top, you are creating
You are storing energy in a device. Flywheels, the latest gadgets for storing
(also one of the oldest) are important. Imagine all these barried oscillators
near towns, storing potential energy...
We could probably gain from studying resonance and harmonics when adding
and subtracting energy from such devices. When you get something spinning,
is there a speed where the energy stays in that thing better? Tuning engines,
putting oscillators in shapes and frequencies that are optimal is really
says they can get 80% efficiency gains
Or maybe a compressed
car is the way to go?
It is imperitave that the energy system be designed by technicians rather
than politicians. Or at least that the technical possibilities of energetics
are clearly defined.
We need to think outside the box, and dream the good dream. Zero pollution.
Maximum diversity of ownership in harmonious interconnection...
When B.C. has supplied
itself with clean energy it can export ... But really, the thing to export
is tools that allow communities around the world to become self-sufficient
in energy themselves.