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Renewable Energy in Metro Vancouver

This section provides an inventory of the potential capacity of select renewable energy resources across the Metro Vancouver region, and describes issues arising from the associated technologies.

However it does not reflect constraints of economic viability, social acceptability or current regulations. Existing data from various sources are analyzed and mapped using new techniques suitable to communicating energy resources at a regional scale.

Solar Energy

EXPLORING Solar Energy potential

Solar energy can be collected using panels to produce hot water or electricity.

Solar Enery from the sun can provide energy to buildings using proven systems such as solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal energy.
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Solar

PhotoVoltaics vs solar hot water

Sunlight in, electricity savings out

There are two main forms of solar energy harnessing technologies: Photovoltaics and Solar hot water.
Photovoltaic solar panels take the sunlight energy directly from the sun and process incoming light in its solar cells. Solar hot water systems use the energy from the sun to heat water on site. The water can be used for showers, dishwashing, laundry, or otheneeds.

Solar Energy Types
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    Photovoltaics in a solar farm can distribute energy in the form of electricity at larger scales

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    Solar hot water can either heat the water supply or provide space heating




Solar Potential

Harnessing the power of the sun

Energy generated from assessed south and flat roofs has the potential to heat 650,000 typical households or provide electricity for 900,000 typical households for a year.

Solar Heat and Power
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solar energy videos




Issues around Solar Energy

Here comes the sun

When implementing PV or solar hot water pannels, it is important to consider the diurnal and seasonal variability of sunlight.
While energy derived from the sun is a enticing option, there are a number of concerns around the viability of solar systems.

Solar Shade


The energy produced by a solar panel changes throughout the day and year depending on sun angles and cloud cover.

This intermittency in energy output requires consideration of additional energy technologies to supply energy when the sun is not shining.
Intermittency

The energy produced by a solar panel changes throughout the day and year depending on sun angles and cloud cover.

This intermittency in energy output requires consideration of additional energy technologies to supply energy when the sun is not shining.

Solar by the Numbers

Geography matters

Given that rooftops are some of the most suitable locations for siting PV or solar hot water systems, where might solar energy systems have a high potential for growth?
Available Rooftop Solar Sites



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Local Examples : YVR AIRPORT

Vancouver International Airport’s Solar Hot Water System, Richmond, B.C

In 2003, the Vancouver International Airport installed 100 solar panels on the roof o the domestic terminal building. The system uses evacuated tube solar collectors to absorb solar energy and transfers the heat to water.

The panels heat over 3000 litres of water every hour, which has led to a 25% decrease in natural gas use in the terminal.

The cost of the project was about $500,000 and the airport reports energy savings of more than $100,000 a year. Furthermore, by reducing natural gas use, the airport has also amanged to lower its carbon emissions.

solar hot water at yvr
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Local Examples : T’Sou-ke Nation

Sum-SHA-Thut, Sooke, B.c.

The T’Sou-ke Nation is a small First Nation community located on the very southern tip of Vancouver Island. The community has completed a 75-kilowatt solar power installation, which is the largest in B.C. to date. The project is called Sum-SHA-Thut, the Sencoten term for “sunshine”.

The T’Sou-ke solar power installation generates electricity from photovoltaic panels. They have also installed solar thermal panels on 37 (out of 86) homes to pre-heat hot water, further reducing energy consumption and their carbon emissions.

T’Sou-ke Nation solar power
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Wind

Where can wind energy take our cities?

Wind turbines provide some of the most iconic imagery when it to comes to renewable energy. While establishing wind energy may face challenges, technological developments can help overcome the barriers limiting their presence in our communities.
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Wind

Components of the System

From turbulence to turbine

Wind turbines use moving masses of air to spin their propellers and subsequently a generator which produces electricity.
Developing wind energy depends largely on available wind resources and innovative technologies that help harness higher wind speeds in low wind speed sites.

Wind Farms harness power
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Wind Power 101 : two videos




Local Examples : Dawson Creek

Bear mountain wind park, dawson creek, B.C

The T’Sou-ke Nation is a small First Nation community located on the very southern tip of Vancouver Island. The community has completed a 75-kilowatt solar power installation, which is the largest in B.C. to date. The project is called Sum-SHA-Thut, the Sencoten term for “sunshine”.

Wind Power in Dawson Creek
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Hydropower

Run-of-river technology provides a lower-impact hydropower solution

Hydropower is considered a valuable and "clean" source of electricity, providing in many cases a secure local energy supply and other value added activities like fishing and recreation.
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Run of River

Components of the System

Reducing environmental impact while adding energy diversity

Run-of-river (ROR) technologies generate electricity by harnessing the energy from water flows in streams and rivers, without the use of large dams.
Typically, ROR projects funnel a river's flow through electricity generating turbines and then return the water back to the river downstream as opposed to impounding the water which is done in traditional hydroelectric dams.

Run of River overview

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Run of River Potential

Bear mountain wind park, dawson creek, B.C

Energy generated from run-of-river projects in British Columbia has the potential to power up to 7,500 typical households for a year.
Run of River Potential



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micro hydro video





Run of River Considerations

An intricately connected system

Installing ROR technologies on BC's rivers and streams requires careful consideration of their affect on fishbearing streams, protected areas, and aquatic recreation, to name a few.
Fish Bearing Streams
To minimize impacts on native fish populations run-of-river projects can be installed upstream of fish bearing reaches.

The assessment of potential sites in Metro Vancouver accounts for known fish bearing streams.


Protected Areas
Many of the potential run-of-river sites in Metro Vancouver are located in protected areas.

These areas are designated as watersheds for drinking water or recreational areas, this raises key policy and public acceptance issues.

Recreation
Many recreationists enjoy using creeks and rivers for activities such as kayaking, canoeing and fishing.

However, there are opportunities for recreation and energy production to co-exist on the same stream. Various conditions are often negiotiated during project planning.
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Run of River Potential

Going with the flow

The water resources of metro Vancouver that might appropriately house ROR systems lie largely in the northern part of the region.
Hydropower potential by municipality
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Local Examples : Fitzsimmons Creek

Fitzsimmons Creek Run-of-River Project, Whistler, B.C

The Run-of-River facility at Fitzsimmons Creek in Whistler began generating electrivity in 2011. The system diverts water flow from the creek to run a turbine that produces electricity before returning the water to the creek.

The project has the ability to produce over 33 GWh of energy per year, which is enough to power Whistler Blackcomb’s summer and winter operations. The length of the stream where the project was installed is not a fish bearing area of the creek and the weir was constructed to maintain minimum water levels.

Run of River at Fitzsimmons Creek
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Heat Recovery

One person's trash is another person's treasure

Industrial heat recovery is a promising way to take waste and turn it into a usable energy resource for our communities.
There are various available methods that can capture the resulting heat energy from industrial processes.
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Heat
Recovery

Bioenergy

Exploring Bioenergy in the Form of...

Bioenergy describes the energy contained in biological material, such as wood, crops, manure and garbage. British Columbia has large natural biomass resources that can be used to produce energy at the individual level (eg. high-efficiency wood stoves), farm level (eg. biogas), or in district energy plants.

The two main types of bioenergy come from biofuel sources and biomass sources. Biofuel can be bioethanol (fermentation of starch crops), biodiesel (vegetable oils and animal fats), and biogas (methane from anaerobic digestion of organic waste or syngas from wood). Biomass sources can come from foresty waste, construction wood waste, fuel crops (dried manure and stemwood), garbage, charcoal or biochar.
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Bioenergy

Forest Biomass

Harvesting wood sustainably

Sustainably harvested forest biomass can be used as a fuel for generating heat or electriity.
Plant. Extract. Energy.
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    Trees Planted

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    Lower Quality Wood Extracted

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    Wood Chips arrive at biomass plant

Community Energy Explorer
Based on the PhD work of Rory Tooke at CALP
Web design and development by Dave Peacock
Funding provided by Metro Vancouver,
Neptis Foundation, Real Estate Foundation of BC,
the Vancouver Foundation, and PICS

CALP Production team: Rory Tooke, Sara Barron, Joseph Lee, Nikki Ng, Stephen Sheppard, Sara Muir-Owen (PICS), and Ron Kellett (Elements Lab). With support from Jason Emmert and Metro Vancouver staff, staff of City of Richmond and City of Surrey, and citizen representatives from those cities.

Download the Illustrated Guide to Community Energy