Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power see more
Author: Travis Paterson
UVic draws $2.4M towards harvesting clean energy from the ocean
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power
The influx of $2.4 million into clean energy is a stepping stone towards renewable energy alternatives for B.C.’s remote coastal communities and heavy-duty marine transportation companies.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement at the University of Victoria on Thursday. About $1.4 million from the federally run Western Economic Diversification Canada will establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery at UVic, which will strive to develop and commercialize wind, wave and tidal energy technologies.
“Clean energy is a critical piece of the [Canadian clean growth plan], the mechanisms are obviously different here than in Saskatchewan, and the marine side of it is something we’re very interested in,” Wilkinson said. “It’s an area still developing, it offers significant promises on both the West Coast and the East Coast, where they’re interested in tidal technologies.
“This type of technology offers the promise of being able to take [coastal communities] off diesel and put them on a renewable source.”
The other $1 million is coming from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Seaspan Shipyards, and will go to a green transportation research team at UVic. Mechanical engineer Zuomin Dong leads the team and will work with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems to find ways clean energy use can be implemented in the heavy-duty marine, mining and transportation sectors.
Brad Buckham, mechanical engineer and lead with PRIMED, said the $1.4 million is the latest of many grants and will continue ongoing research that will eventually help remote coastal communities, including Indigenous communities, move away from using diesel fuel generators to produce electricity.
Buckham said the more money they can put towards current research models now will save money for the communities, and companies, who eventually install the wind and ocean propulsion technologies to provide them with electricity.
Among the projects PRIMED has worked with are the wave monitoring buoys and a turbine that monitors wind performance.
There are several of the yellow wave monitoring buoys anchored in the Salish Sea and one off of Sombrio Beach. The wind turbine, on the other hand, is land based (mounted on a trailer) but will give way to ocean-based turbines, said Curran Crawford, a UVic associate professor and researcher with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems.
“Putting the turbines on the ocean gets them away from people and avoids the NIMBY [issue], plus there is a lot of wind offshore,” Crawford said.
As the costs of wind-produced power have come down, the West Coast of Vancouver Island is being eyed for turbines that either float, or are on a base driven below the sea, Cawford said.
“As we tackle the many challenges posed by climate change, our researchers are leading the way in sustainable energy research, working closely with governments, industry and community groups to foster clean growth and low-carbon economic development,” said UVic president Jamie Cassels. “We’re very grateful to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Seaspan for their investments in this vital work, which responds to one of our most significant national and global challenges.”
Sidney’s AXYS Technologies, which won the marine industry award, works on finding solutions for.... see more
EcoStar acknowledges Island’s greenest businesses
The Island’s top green and environmentally friendly businesses were honoured Nov. 10 at the 2016 EcoStar Awards at the Laurel Point Inn.
A full house of 135 got a glimpse into the steps Island businesses are taking to improve their environmental performance and reduce their carbon footprint.
“The biggest part of the night and what really stands out about the event is it brings out those stories of local businesses who are working to make a difference within their own businesses and we get to learn a lot about what the winners have done to make changes and what impact that has,” said Jill Doucette, chief executive of Synergy Enterprises, whose non-profit arm — the Synergy Sustainability Institute — organizes the awards.
There were 17 winners. Doucette said Victoria’s Finest at Sea Seafood stood out as an example of what many companies discover when they turn their hand to improving environmental performance.
“That company found that by tackling these sustainability issues there was some real cost-saving advantages too,” she said. “FAS took the microscope to its operation and found lots of little tweaks within the operation that made a huge impact — by the end of the day they cut more than half of their water use. “So it’s good for the planet and good for their bottom line. Those kinds of stories are really exciting.”
Duncan’s Blue Roots Farm, started by Daniel Adelman and Courtney Edwards in 2015, was named eco-entrepreneur of the year for its farming methods.
Part of the running of the farm is raising steelhead trout and circulating nutrient rich water over plant roots. The roots take in the nutrients and grow greens and herbs in vertical towers.
The closed-loop ecosystem uses 98 per cent less water than traditional agriculture and more productive .
Sidney’s AXYS Technologies, which won the marine industry award, works on finding solutions for renewable energy projects and in so doing plays a role in making clean energy accessible and affordable for more people.
The company has taken steps to further reduce its own environmental impact, by installing motion-sensing lights in all bathrooms, making all company events zero-waste and serving local food only, improving recycling sorting stations and removing individual trash cans from employees' desks to encourage waste diversion.
Doucette said most of the companies that won awards don’t take on environmental projects with the idea of luring new customers, but it can happen. “They do find the consumer is changing and is really receptive to learning more about what businesses are doing behind the scenes to be more responsible,” she said.
2016 Eco Star Award Winners
- Greenest Office: Monk Office
- Greenest Retail Store: Inspire Hair Design
- Small Restaurant 1-25 Employees: Habit Coffee
- Large Restaurant 25+ Employees: Big Wheel Burger, Gateway Village
- Manufacturing Excellence: Studio Robazzo
- The Eco-Preneur of the Year: Blue Roots Farm
- Technology Excellence: Carmanah Technologies
- Experiential Tourism: Eagle Wing Tours
- Lodging & Accomodations: Parkside Hotel
- Leadership In Construction: Bernhardt Contracting
- Water Conservation & Stewardship: Finest at Sea Seafood Producers
- Marine Industry: AXYS Technologies
- Food Security: Haliburton Farm
- Climate Action: Orca Spirit Adventures
- Social Impact: Pacific Rim College
- Waste Management: Big Wheel Burger
- Community Environmental Leadership: Inn at Laurel Point
A free new tool allowing government, First Nations, industry and members of the public to access... see more
Victoria, BC – Aug 3, 2016 – Award-winning environmental science and consulting firm Foundry Spatial today unveiled a free new tool allowing government, First Nations, industry and members of the public to access detailed information on water supply in the Cariboo region of the province.
The Cariboo Water Tool presents monitoring information from 1,500 stream flow, groundwater, water quality and weather measurement stations in the central portion of the Fraser River watershed. It also uses innovative technology to estimate mean annual and monthly discharge for user-defined watersheds at over 180,000 locations, and provides an overview of watershed characteristics including vegetation and topography, along with an overview of current climate and projected climatic conditions.
“The Cariboo Water Tool is very fast and easy to use,” says Ben Kerr, CEO and Senior Water Scientist at Victoria-based Foundry Spatial. “Traditional hydrologic data analysis requires days or weeks to generate information to prepare and adjudicate water license applications. With the Cariboo Water Tool, users can get meaningful information within a few seconds.”
Water license applicants can use the information from the Cariboo Water Tool to help them during the water use application process. Likewise, regional water managers can use modeled flow and environmental flow needs information to support their water allocation decisions. This allows users to not only see what the long term average water availability for their location of interest is, but also to estimate what is happening at locations where there is no monitoring data.
“The Cariboo Water Tool joins a suite of GIS-based tools we developed to support decision-making on water-use planning and approvals,” says Kerr. Building on the success of the Northeast, Northwest, and Omineca Water Tools, and the Water Portal, the Cariboo Water Tool summarizes information on all water-use licenses, and provides government decision-makers with guidance on environmental flows and potential water supply in a format that is transparent, readily accessible, and easily interpreted.
Developed by Foundry Spatial for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, together with the Ministry of Environment and the BC Oil and Gas Commission, the BC Water Tools are unique in North America as water resource decision-support tools.
The information used in the Cariboo Water Tool was developed through a modeling process that used 119 hydro metric stations in BC, the Yukon and Alaska.
The Cariboo Water Tool allows users to generate reports describing the hydrology of over 180,000 watersheds in the region.
The Cariboo Water Tool includes information on currently active water approvals issued under the Water Sustainability Act.
The Cariboo Water Tool includes historical and current environmental monitoring data from over 1,500 locations in the region.
Cariboo Water Tool: http://cariboo.bcwatertool.ca
Omineca Water Tool: http://www.bcwatertool.ca/owt
Northwest Water Tool: http://www.bcwatertool.ca/nwwt
BC Water Portal: http://www.bcwatertool.ca/waterportal
Alberta Water Tool: http://alberta-watertool.com
ABOUT FOUNDRY SPATIAL
Based in Victoria, BC, Foundry Spatial is an environmental science and consulting firm. Our expert team of scientists and programmers builds helpful tools that turn raw data into meaningful information for smart, sustainable, resource management decision-making. We have a proven track record, having delivered hydrology modeling and decision support tools for more than one million km2 of Western Canada. For more information, visit www.foundryspatial.com