Solar power is just one of the many alternative energy sources the committee is reviewing. (File photo: Susan Montoya Bryan/AP)

Committee discussing need for alternative power production methods in Penticton

Committee expresses disappointment following $75k report on alternative power methods

Community leaders in Penticton are discussing the need for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly methods of power production in the city.

The Penticton Sustainability Advisory Committee held their first meeting earlier this month (Jan. 8) after a two-year hiatus.

The committee was reinstated in order to plan and make recommendations to council on the preparation, updating, and administration of Corporate and Community Climate Action Plans.

The recently re-formed committee had it’s second meeting Jan. 22, and for the first time reviewed a $75,000 report from Midgard Consulting suggesting multiple alternative power methods for the city.

It is hoped a new green energy source would lessen Penticton’s dependence on FortisBC electrical purchases.

In 2018, the city spent $27 million purchasing power at wholesale rates from FortisBC.

City of Penticton counc. Julius Bloomfield served as the acting chair for the Jan. 22 meeting and said the committee was very disappointed with the lack of information in Midgard’s report.

Present at the meeting were member’s at large Brad Dollevoet, Chris Allen, Nicolas Stulberg and Randy Boras, as well as Brian Rippy of Okanagan College, Philip Hawkes of Fortis BC, Jacqueline Duncan of Interior Health and Counc. Bloomfield.

The report brought fourth 15 different methods of generating power. Of the 15, Bloomfield is most excited about the potential of solar-power and micro-hydro. He said the federal government may soon introduce a grant for communities to encourage the implementation of solar power.

One of the options presented by the report that the committee did not see as a smart option was diesel peak shaving.

“Well, you’re burning a fossil fuel to create electricity,” Bloomfield said when asked why the committee was against the idea.

As for ways people can save power at home during the winter months, Bloomfield recommends good home insulation. He says draft-proofing doors and windows can bring considerable savings.

“(It’s a) simple thing, but one of the highest returns on investment,” he said.

Overall, the committee was critical of the report because of it’s lack of detail.

“We were very dissatisfied with the level of technical information in the report,” said Bloomfield.

The Sustainability Advisory Committee has scheduled monthly meetings where they hope to further dissect the report to get more technical information and evaluate the most promising options. The committee’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 18.

Within the first quarter of 2020, the committee plans to present Penticton council with options to move forward with a new power generation project in the city.

Environment

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