The Big Moves

As electrification of vehicles and home heating expands, the demand for renewable energy will increase.

In order to phase out carbon-polluting fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, it will be necessary to conserve energy wherever possible and create more renewable energy. Although renewable hydroelectricity is relatively abundant in our region, much more electricity will be needed to replace fossil fuels, especially for uses in transportation and heating buildings.

The Vision

By 2050, the region’s energy needs are met by a mix of clean, renewable sources in a distributed grid that eliminates carbon pollution, promotes energy independence and delivers local community benefits. Technology helps utility companies, residents and businesses to conserve and store energy from intermittent sources. 

The Strategies

The plan includes a strategy to generate more renewable energy at a local level. Since renewable electricity is relatively abundant in the West Kootenay Region, however, renewable generation makes a small impact on the overall energy transition. 

Local Renewable Energy Generation

Key Concepts
  • The opportunity to reduce carbon pollution through new renewable energy generation is very low. 
  • Although there is a high amount of biomass in the region, most of the available and inexpensive biomass is already in use at local and regional pulp mills, pellet manufacturers, and incinerators.
  • Since our electricity is close to as renewable as it will get, new rooftop solar will only reduce carbon pollution if it replaces natural gas, propane, or other fossil-fuel energy.

Health: Replacing fossil fuel appliances and furnaces with electric appliances can eliminate health impacts of air pollution. Replacing wood stoves with high efficiency pellet boilers can reduces health impacts of wood smoke while still utilizing local renewable material.

Economy: Installing solar panels and battery systems creates local employment. Bio-energy facilities (like district energy plants) provide local jobs and utilize local resources. 

Community Resilience:  Solar panels with battery systems displace fossil-fuel generators for people with unreliable electricity service. Local pellet manufacture and district energy systems use local resources to create local energy and rely less on long supply chains.

The full report is ready for download. So are other local government action resources.