3rd Regina Solar Co-op founding meeting

On Monday I was pleased to attend the 3rd meeting held in Regina with the objective of forming a solar power co-operative. By late November, there should be money in the bank, and a lot more research complete, which will assist interested Saskatchewanians with setting up solar power systems of their own.

Here’s a CBC radio interview with one of the organizers.

Check how much you could save, while paying off a warrantied solar array that will function long after you’ve made an important home improvement.

Regina Solar Co-op meeting at Artful Dodger on 11th Ave.

3rd? Yes, there’ve been 2 meetings this Winter, but I’m counting one meeting put together by Susan Birley last Winter as the first.

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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?

Cheap Passes

Regina offers a discounted pass, but nothing like this Calgary program.

Demand for Calgary’s new $5.05 monthly transit pass has exceeded expectations, with nearly 40,000 of the steeply discounted passes sold to Calgarians living in extreme poverty during the program’s first three months.

…Melanie Hulsker, manager of strategic services for Calgary Neighbourhoods, said the pass numbers are already higher than projected and demonstrate there was a need in the community for the program, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Canada.

Staff who sell the passes have heard a range of stories from Calgarians happy to have access to transit for $5.05 a month, including a woman who said the initiative has allowed her family to finally travel places together.

“That’s definitely an example of how this can be life changing,” said Hulsker. “Where before she could only buy one pass for an entire family and now they can go out and buy a pass for every member of the family.”

STC Is Transit

Dear Ministers:
Over the next 5 years, Saskatchewan’s capital city is expected to spend over $175 million to operate transit services. That you feel $85 million* is too much for the entire province to spend on an important service for which there is no alternative in most locations despite your insistence that it’s coming “in the future”, is a disgrace. You can’t even take a bus between Saskatoon and Regina today, you have to go through Winnipeg. Next week you can go through Yorkton and back at a cost of $114 for less than half of the journey’s non-direct distance.

Regina’s Mayor Fougere said this about transit services,
“I would view it as an essential program for the quality of life for those who are most vulnerable, those who do not have the ability to pay, but certainly require transportation,” the mayor said Tuesday. “This is fundamental to the quality of life in […] Saskatchewan.”

Minister Beaudry-Mellor said, “Having this transportation option available to them is really critical if we want to see employment opportunities realized, or education opportunities realized, or even access to basic medical appointments,” Beaudry-Mellor said. “Many people don’t have access to a vehicle in […] communities that are on our programs.”

If your hypocrisy isn’t apparent now, I don’t know how else to describe it to you, but I’ll try again if you insist on not rescuing STC from the scrap heap you put it on without even replacement services in place first.

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina, SK

*Minister’s 5 year reference below:

Minister Hargrave STC

Wascana Calls Back

I took a call from Wascana’s CEO who explained their position on spending $193000 to expand the parking lot[PDF] at Candy Cane Park. Their view is more cars that already park illegally on the street will use it, and as a result kids will be safer because they won’t run out between illegally street-parked cars, presumably.

Can’t say that’s how it will work, I said “mark my words, there will still be spill-over onto the street, and more cars overall”. She had to concede at busy times, that’s how it will go. It’ll take more than my voice to end this #strandedasset project. Oh, it also increases runoff by replacing soil with pavement, reducing the water quality in Wascana Creek.

It’s 2017, and if we don’t limit air pollution quickly, our kids will have a rough go of things. Putting a dollar more into auto infrastructure before cycling and pedestrian infrastructure makes kids less safe, not more.

On the upside, Wascana is putting some trails through the arboretum near Wascana Rehab and Hillsdale St.

Also they will now consider manually clearing Broad St. Bridge which wasn’t being swept clear of snow like everything else the last two Winters. I explained that the City of Regina builds nothing for cyclists, so it’s really up to Wascana Centre to provide cycling infrastructure for Reginans.

Added two more important points:

Food Security In Regina Needs Work

Quebec is getting way ahead of the rest of Canada in an important improvement to its food bank network.

It’s an idea I want many people from Regina to share with their City Councillors.

Quebec grocery stores in province-wide program to send unused produce to food banks

It’s so big, an English newspaper noticed the news and reported on it.

And Saskatoon looks poised to leap ahead of Regina on the backyard food security front also.

ADDED: