Solar Power in Regina

On Saturday, I was pleased to be a part of the Science Centre’s Ignite Expo:

Exhibitors

Regina Games Forge – A local group of tabletop game designers who meet and host playtests regularly. They will have several prototypes of various tabletop games from local designers available to play and demo throughout the day.
Regina Scale Modelers – Creating intricate scale models of agricultural machinery
SLUG – Saskatchewan Lego Users Group are bringing various Lego creations and some brick-art by Tim Brix.
Queen City Cosplayers – showcasing their costumes as well as some home made accessories and props.
John Klein – Demonstrating his home solar panel array, and how to set one up.
Crashbang labs – Various projects built by lab members. Mostly electronic, laser cut and 3d printed parts.
Ignite CTV John Klein presenter
Sondors on CTV Regina news
Regina Rolling Robot Tours –Ride a Segway and learn more about balance and these cool rides.
Mighty Chameleon Brothers – A new, locally-created indie video game. It has been fashioned after classic arcade games of the 80’s & 90’s. Play a demo of the game with an authentic arcade joystick!
Miller High School – Students will be bringing along some of their STEM projects.
Rick Martens – 3D Printed props and a video presentation about Maker Spaces.
Talking Dog Studios – The Grid Virtual Reality Arcade game with a headset so visitors can play this new game
ZMZ Smithing – Live blacksmithing with a coal forge. Zach will show off his traditional smithing skills and make small pieces live in front of you!

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Contact the City for an Airport Bus

We’ll have to offer Service Regina our support of bus service to the Airport. The online survey Regina Transit has set up isn’t as useful as it should be, because they don’t list the obvious Airport Route as an option! There’s also the budget suggestion page where you can increase Transit’s budget as they need.

The Mayor is still confused about the need for a Regina Transit bus to go to the Regina Airport.
“We know there are employees that go out there, and certainly does that warrant having a bus system that goes out there continuously? We don’t know that.”

Councillor Hawkins: “I do support Transit going to the Airport, but we have to do it in the right way… [we] don’t want to run empty buses.”
Mayor wants “a business case made”.
It’s the Design Regina Official Community Plan. Follow it!

Otherwise we’re left with people unfamiliar with Regina following my terrifying example:

Regina’s Bus Situation Gets More Absurd

The SaskParty’s spectacularly bad move to end the inter-city bus service STC keeps getting worse. The international bus line Greyhound has moved their service out of Regina’s downtown, into the airport. This might not have been such a problem, except there is no public transit bus (or even a private one) to the airport! So a bus rider is forced to walk an unsafe long route, bum a ride, or use an expensive cab to use the ‘affordable’ Greyhound inter-city bus.

Waschuk hopes Greyhound will expand its presence at the airport.

Likewise, he’d like to see city bus service to the airport — although that is unlikely in the very near future.

Brad Bells, director of Regina Transit, said city bus service to the airport is “on our horizon,” but unlikely to occur in 2018.

Regina Transit’s next priority is an Arcola Express bus, connecting downtown to southeast neighbourhoods like Greens on Gardiner.

Waschuk said the airport’s tenants and prospective tenants have been wondering about bus service for their employees.

“There’s 1,000 people in the airport campus out here, counting all the buildings and tenants. … That number’s going to continue to grow,” said Waschuk.

He also sees bus service as valuable for Regina residents in general, including university students and seniors.

“I remember my own daughter when she was at university in Saskatoon, she took the bus to the airport all the time for economic reasons,” said Waschuk.

“It’s a good idea to be able to connect to the airport using public transit. Most cities have that.”

It’s a grim situation for people who don’t drive cars when only 1 in 3 Regina MPs cares about the problem, and 1 of 11 on Regina City Council wants to see a bus to the airport.

#StadiumII Lackluster Design Produces No Energy

It’s hard to look at another new stadium, and not feel some shame about the new Mosaic Stadium with its 4 drinking fountains. Let me guess, the urinals in Regina’s use water too?

How could our elected officials permit construction of a stadium in this decade and not have it generate a single kilowatt of electricity, or use a drop of grey water? It was an opportunity squandered by people who don’t care that we’re a people living well beyond our world’s means.

The good news? We have a municipal recycling service, and it appears to be used to some degree at the new stadium.

SaskPower Misinforming The Public About Solar Power

In honour of the solar eclipse on Monday, SaskPower shared what it’s been saying about solar power for many years. The problem with reusing years-old information about technology, is that sometimes you get things wrong due to advances in the technology. There should not be so many factual errors in SaskPower’s communications with the public. It’s a sore point for me, because it’s so critical that people understand the capabilities (and true limitations) of renewable energy technologies. Only by changing how we power our electrical grid and daily lives, can we quickly leave fossil fuels in the past to reduce damaging climate changes, and health problems from emissions.

I’m one of those 400 #solar energy providers to the SaskPower grid. It’s known as Net Metering, because the net electricity used, at the end of a year is billed to me, but any generated above equality is kept in SaskPower’s favour.

Photons, not IR/heat is collected from light, & is converted into electrons (electricity). Heat causes additional resistance / lower output. Telling people otherwise could convince them that seasonally cold Regina isn’t a great place for solar, when it’s actually a top location in the world!

As you can see from my examples, SaskPower has some explaining to do, about the [mis]information they’re sharing on their Twitter feed. I worry what else they’re telling people, that’s as inaccurate.

ADDED: Sent this to SaskPower. I’ll let you know what they do to correct the record.

“SaskPower shared some inaccurate information on its series of tweets during the solar eclipse. Will SaskPower correct the record, and tweet correct information about solar power from this point forward?
https://johnkleinregina.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/saskpower-misinforming-the-public-about-solar-power/

Please let me know when SaskPower issues corrections, and I’ll update my article.

Thank-you,
John Klein”

“Thank you, your inquiry has been submitted.

A SaskPower representative will respond to your inquiry shortly.”

UPDATE: They replied yesterday:

Thank you for your email. Solar is an important part of a cleaner energy
future for Saskatchewan. We want customers to understand our plans for
solar, and as you note in your blog, the limitations of the technology, as
well. To ensure reliability for customers, intermittent generation sources
like wind and solar require back up baseload power that’s available 24/7.
We also aim to balance a mix of sources that offer reliability,
cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability. We are keenly paying
attention to the development of utility-scale battery storage technology as
you mention and will look forward to testing it once the technology
continues to evolve.

Okay, but what about correcting the mistakes in the information you shared with the public? e.g. equating heat with electricity production in PV cells. That’s not how it works.

Why are you not testing battery storage technology now?

Lumsden Leaps Ahead

The Town of Lumsden’s RiverPark Centre has added a 10kW solar array! They’re among the first Saskatchewan municipalities to make use of our world-class solar resource.

In the first week they’ve produced as much electricity as my array did in its best month ever. A reminder that my array produces more solar electricity for the SaskPower grid, than the entirety of municipal, provincial, and federal government buildings in the City of Regina. Lumsden is now making more solar power than the City of Winnipeg, also.

You can see their stats online!

My array’s stats can be viewed online also.

The trees are nice for shading the picnic benches, but in Winter seasonal months, they’ll provide too much shade to the solar panels on the large south facing roof. It’s a consideration that doesn’t make a system uneconomic, but it’s something I spot. We have to work with the roofs, and sometimes the trees we’re given. My array is on a roof at a less than ideal 20 degree angle (it should be much more steep for Regina’s latitude).

A Few Steps Forward, Regina Moves Back

The progress of a city is not assured by the passage of time. Regina has unquestionably progressed in some areas of life, and unquestionably regressed in others. The following is an incomplete list.

100 years ago, chickens were allowed to roam free.
Now, the City prohibits them even in a backyard.

60 years ago, Electric Vehicles were common on some Regina streets, in the form of streetcars. Now, only a few dozen or so EVs are in the city, as electric bikes, cars, and SUVs. We also had a bus route to the airport, but no bus is available to the airport today.

Also 60 years ago, we allowed toxic waste dumping into our soil and groundwater, all over the city. Now that’s only permitted at the landfill.

28 years ago, you could leave Regina by STC bus, or by Via Rail train. Now, in 2017, neither of those modes of transportation are an option due to government cuts without environmental reviews being undertaken to guide those bad decisions.

27 years ago, Parking enforcement used sensibly sized vehicles. Now they use GMC gas burning SUVs.

January 1990 Parking enforcement vehicle