Coal Train Derailment Highlights Need For More Oversight Of Port Expansion

By Roy L Hales

Vancouver — Heavy rain may have caused a 152-car coal train, heading for Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver, to derail in Burnaby this afternoon. Seven cars went off the tracks near Government and Cariboo Roads, near Burnaby Lake. Three of the cars spilled their loads.  As you can see from the photo above, at least one of these emptied its load into a protected waterway. No one was injured.

Emily Hamer, a spokeswoman for CN, said she did not know how much of the coal went into the water or whether CP or CN, which owns the tracks, is responsible for the derailment of the 152-car train.

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The CamoSun System, a new Solar Thermal Technology

By Roy L Hales

Back in the early 1970‘s, Canada led the world in the development of Solar Thermal energy. Then the oil embargo ended, prices came down, and the incentives and grants dried up. More than a decade passed before what had once been Canadian technology resurfaced in Germany. It became part of that nation’s “energiewende,” a state mandated green energy policy that has transformed Germany into the world’s foremost producer of solar energy. Yet, according to Canada’s only NABCEP Certified Solar Thermal Installer, James Smyth, there is more potential for solar thermal technology on the West Coast.

“Looking around the street where I live, I can see that every house could gain by adopting Solar Thermal energy,” he said.

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Site C, “As long as the Sun Shines, the Grass Grows & the Rivers Flow”

By Roy L Hales

The First Nations that signed treaty #8, in 1914, were promised the right to continue with their traditional way of life “for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the rivers flow.” The antiquity of their presence site is evidenced by prehistoric chert arrowheads, burials and local tradition. It has continued into modern times as a summer gathering place. When BC Hydro dams the Peace River, on site C, they will be taking away lands on which these people have hunted, fished and gathered their traditional medicine plants. Of Course a century ago no one knew that this could become one of the most promising liquid natural gas fields in the world.

The land that is about to disappear is also home to about 20 threatened species. It is a migration route for fish such as the bull trout and arctic grayling, as well as home to the mountain whitefish. The islands are calving grounds for moose, mule deer & elk, habitat for red & blue listed neo-tropical birds.

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Rooftop Solar: Why not BC?

By Roy L Hales

It was a hot August day. Thanks to the ten solar panels recently installed on his garage roof, Hans Wekking was getting more than enough energy for his house and his EV. Pointing to his meter box, he said, “Right now, its showing that we are putting power in the grid.” There would have been nothing unusual about this scene in California, but in British Columbia it made the news.

According to Alevtina Akbulatova, of BC Hydro, there are 250 rooftop solar installations in the province.

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Pioneering the Electric Highway, One Man’s Story

By Roy L Hales

It was almost inevitable that Chad Schwitters would buy an EV. He had used biodiesel, rode the bus, carpooled, moved close enough to work that he could walk, etc – all for environmental reasons. He didn’t know anybody who owned EV, and thought they would probably “suck,” but was willing to make the sacrifice. He was wrong.

“It turns out there is no sacrifice, EVs are better cars,” Schwitters said. “Even if somebody invented carbon-free domestic gasoline and gave it away for free, I would still drive electric simply because the experience is so much better.”

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