Wind and Solar To Grow in Saskatchewan

More details are set to be released by SaskPower on Monday, but it will take quite the investment. Currently, only a quarter of the province’s energy is drawn from renewables, mostly wind and hydro. Geothermal isn’t used at all, nor are there any large-scale solar operations.

Only about 400 homes and businesses in Saskatchewan use solar as a back-up energy source. One of those users is John Klein in Regina, who had panels installed in April. In the summer they produced “as much power as the home was using,” though that’s dwindled as the sun sinks lower and days shorten.

The panels were quite the investment — around $8,000 after a rebate — but Klein is confident they will have paid for themselves in a decade or so.

Renewable energy advocates have long pointed to Saskatchewan as the ideal place for wind and solar power — we’re sunny, we’re windy, and we have a whole lot of space. With a similar climate, North Dakota has managed to up its wind generation to 17.5 per cent of all in-state generated electricity.

We could build an industry in Saskatchewan that has a future after oil.

Alberta’s bound to be more ambitious than our Sask Party government when it comes to reducing air pollution.

Here are the stats for my solar array in Regina. As you can see, the lower angle of the Sun in November clips neighbours’ trees a fair bit, and a power pole shadow even gets in the way a little bit.

It would be useful if SaskPower and the Prov’ Gov’t put as much public consultation into this plan as they did for the UDP. There were people during the UDP calling for a Renewable Energy consultation that “could be just as biased” toward renwables, as the UDP was toward nuclear power. We’re going to need the province’s best minds working on this solution to the government’s objective of 50% in 15 years, and also the input of people who don’t understand the problem very well so they can learn more about it and come to understand the solutions.

Province Commits to 50% Renewable Energy

Sent to my Councillor today:

Dear Councillor Young:

Toronto now has a target to eliminate emissions causing climate change. Saskatchewan has just pledged to make half of our power from renewable sources by 2030. How does the City intend to help meet this aim? What policies and new budget items help the City generate electricity and reduce greenhouse gases?

John Klein

Regina Budget Concerns Too Numerous To Mention All

Council is evading needed upgrades to our Transit system maintenance facility. Maybe they’re counting on big infrastructure dollars from the Federal government next year, but I really think they don’t care if our Transit system falls into disrepair, and lacks any usability.

From a capital perspective, the TMP recommends increasing transportation funding from $50 million to $61 million (in 2015 dollars) to expand the roadway network and build a new transit garage.

“We’re hoping we get to talk about it early in 2016 and then we’ll bring it forward for the 2017 budget,” said Coun. Barbara Young, who chairs the public works committee.

TRANSLATION: We’re hoping you’ll forget about it like you did the Parking Study and the Our Wascana reports we’ve recently suppressed.

She also said the reason for the delay is the expansiveness of the TMP.

“We need time to take it apart and ask how it was done, what was the methodology and who have you consulted with?” Young added. “We aren’t ready to take it public. We need more information.”

TRANSLATION: It’s really big and comprehensive, and we don’t know how to spin it into meaning we need to pour more money into roads instead of transit and cycling.

The TMP was created with public input at public meetings, you don’t need to “take it public”! This reeks of how the Mayor and Wascana Centre Authority are suppressing the Our Wascana report.

“One thing Young is looking forward to when the TMP is discussed is how the bike lanes are arranged, but said enhanced transportation is important for Regina.”

So “important”, we don’t need to do anything about implementing recommendations in the report until 2017 or later.

Regina Budget Concerns One

It’s time for City Hall to stop putting our money where their butts are (a small joke about the parkade being a smokers’ hangout), and invest that half million into Transit instead.

We could listen to Councillors crying about their free parking passes, or we could do something to see the Transit system improved and demand they use it. If it doesn’t meet their needs, well, then welcome to the big honking club.

Transit Removes Benches At Request of Police

I open my mouth with a guess that disappointingly turned out to be completely accurate:

turning one of the busiest interections in Regina into a seat-free wasteland for customers, isn’t a smooth move.”

“What could make this decision worse is to have describe how they can’t give tickets for loitering on benches.” – Me. Why did I open my mouth? It got worse. Global learned that some anonymous officer advised Regina Transit to remove the benches there.

Walking over to the bus stop on Friday to meet with the Global News crew waiting for me there, I observed a woman standing in the mud at a stop on Victoria Avenue. This is the sort of infrastructure that defines Regina transit users’ experience in our city. One year you get the Mayor posing for a photo-op in front of a fancy new bus shelter, and the next year you get your bus stop benches taken away. You can stand while you wait in the mud and muck.

It seems the only time City Council decides to put significant money into our Transit system, it’s to stave off a Human Rights violation conviction. The all low-floor bus fleet can be attributed to such, and perhaps we’ll get improved bus stop facilities only due to the threat of more legal action. It shouldn’t be too much to ask our civil servants and elected Council to do the right and best things for us, instead of putting the screws to our most defenseless population of adults. Are we Florida or something?

Bench Removal – Sarasota, Florida

In response to complaints about gatherings of “vagrants” in public parks from downtown Sarasota FL condo residents, the city decided to remove the presumed host of these gatherings: benches. Sarasota went forward with its plan to remove the benches in Selby Five Points Park in May 2011 in order to please those who pay “the highest property tax value in the county” by discouraging the homeless (and apparently everyone else) from using the park. Combined with a panhandling ban around parking meters and a smoking ban in certain public spaces, which the City Commission originally proposed to further discourage the homeless from using parks (#8), it is all too clear that the Sarasota Commissioners are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to keep their poorest citizens out of the sight of their wealthiest.

Make enough benches for everyone to sit and gather in public. It’s time to make great public spaces with the new Federal government’s infrastructure money coming. I’m sick and tired of Regina refusing to strive to make great public spaces out of a fear that homeless people would have a comfortable place to spend time. Why is there so much pee in places we don’t want it downtown – because we don’t even offer public washrooms (outside of the Library and City Hall) downtown, yet we’ll spend $150Mil on a water treatment plant for our excessively polluted Wascana Creek.


Medicine Hat Housing First makes it first city to eliminate homelessness.

On Brampton’s short-sighted Hurontario-Main LRT decision

John Klein:

It’s like looking into Regina’s future, if the present bunch of councillors were ever faced with a similar situation.

Originally posted on Marshall's Musings:

LRT mockup at Gage Park, Brampton

On late Tuesday night (actually, early Wednesday morning) Brampton City Council made disappointing and harmful decision by voting against the Hurontario-Main LRT, a 23.2 kilometre, $1.6-billion light rail line, whose construction costs would be fully covered by the province. This followed another marathon meeting back in July in which a final decision was delayed to allow for further study and a possible compromise.

The mayor, Linda Jeffrey, and four councillors (Gurpreet Dhillon, Pat Fortini, Marco Medeiros, and Gael Miles) supported the project, but six councillors (Jeff Bowman, Grant Gibson, Elaine Moore, Michael Palleschi, John Sproveiri, and Doug Whillians) voted against. The final vote was 7-4 against the LRT, with Jeffrey mistakenly voting with the majority, but the 6-5 vote against a modified downtown routing in an last-minute attempt to sway opponents should be considered the true decision.

Light rail transit will still be coming to Brampton – construction will…

View original 831 more words