Ontario leads in alternative energy with plans to phase out coal-fired generation. By the end of 2007, 5% of Ontario’s generating capacity will come from renewable sources with 10% by 2010. The Ontario Ministry of Energy boasts of 21 new renewable energy projects consisting of 12 wind projects, three hydro projects, two land fill gas projects and one biogas project.
Wind turbines produce electricity. It’s plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean and reduces toxic atmospheric and greenhouse gas emissions. The Canadian Wind Energy Association states: in the past few years, wind energy production in Canada has grown to 1,588 MW with the potential to meet 20% of all our electricity needs.
Canada is considered a world leader in hydroelectricity. This represents 60.4% of the total generated electricity. It’s renewable, and has no fuel costs or adverse environmental effects.
Stored in non-fossil organic materials such as wood, straw, vegetable oils and wastes from the forest, biomass energy contributes to 5% of secondary energy use in homes and 17% in Ontario industries. It also provides an infinite supply of renewable energy.
Solar radiation accounts for a fraction of Canada’s energy use. Some studies indicate that it could meet as much as 5% of our needs by the year 2025. An Ontario ‘25-by-25 program’ proposes a minimum of 25 million MW hours of renewable solar energy yearly by 2025. If successful, it promises a $30-$40 billion increase in economic activity for citizens, with 15-30 million tons of reduced greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Enwave Energy Corporation cools 29 million square feet of Toronto’s building and condominium space by pumping cold water from the bottom of the lake. Deep lake, cooling, climate control systems reduce CO2 emissions by 79,000 tons and electricity consumption by 90% compared to conventional chilling.
One of the newest retailers, Bull-frog Power offers green power to Ontario and Alberta residents. Power from clean, emission-free sources like wind and low-impact water is injected onto the grid to match the amount of power your home uses. The cost is about $1 a day in addition to your normal bill, but you know your electricity dollars are supporting clean, renewable power instead of the polluting, carbon-intensive sources like coal. When you switch over, you won’t notice any difference. Learn more about this energy source at www.bullfrogpower.com
Small, home-sized, wind turbines are becoming very popular. Time Maga-zine called the Skystream 3.7 one of the best new inventions of 2006. Initially pricey it can take a big chunk out of your energy bill. For innovative solar energy products go to http://store.sundancesolarcorp.com/index.html You’ll find backpacks that charge portable electronic items – MP3s, cell phones, IPODs and cameras, – while you’re walking in the sun, to solar panels for your home. Hand-powered windup chargers are now available for cell phones, a handy electricity replacement.
REBATE PROGRAMS AND INCENTIVE PROGRAMS
- Ontario’s ‘Energy Efficiency Assistance Program for Houses’ assists low-income homeowners and tenants in reducing energy consumption by providing items from light bulbs to furnace repair or replacement
- Newmarket Hydro provides a $75 rebate to its customers who purchase an ENERGY STAR qualified dishwasher with time delay
- Manitoba Hydro offers rebates up to $175 on appliances that meet Power Smart standards for energy
- Increase essential fatty acids; add fish to your diet regularly – salmon, herring, or mackerel
- The City of Lethbridge offers rebates to homebuyers in the SunRidge development, up to $3,500 for houses that meet environmental performance targets of efficiency and consumption.
To find out about incentives in your area go to http://incentivesandrebates.ca/gc_fi_search.asp
UP AND COMING
- The M.A.R.S. (Magenn Power Air Rotor System) is a helium device that harnesses the wind to generate electricity. It flies higher than other wind turbines to access stronger wind speeds. The 4.0 kW unit enters production in 2008
- Zerofootprint Toronto, a fall 2007 initiative will calculate the personal environmental footprint of 50,000 municipal employees. www.zerofootprinttoronto.org provides a calculator to determine the impact your lifestyle has on the environment
- Toronto based Village Technologies works with commercial clients to lower energy costs by switching to greener power. Their services will soon be available to homeowners.