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Clean Energy News

Come one, come all! The Haida Gwaii Renewable Energy Symposium is just days away! (and here's a Q&A)

Valine Crist

Is this event open to the public?

Yes, absolutely! Everyone who wants to talk about Haida Gwaii’s energy present and energy future is welcome.

Do I need to register?

No, it’s helpful to know how many people to expect for catering, but registration is not required.

Where is the renewable energy symposium?

In Gaw, at the Old Massett Community Hall.

Can I come for just one day?

Of course! We’ll post a detailed agenda to review. You are welcome to stay for one session, one day, or the whole event from start to finish. The door is open & all are welcome.

Is child care still available?

Yes, we asked people to register their child(ren) so we know how many little ones to expect. It’s helpful if you can provide advanced notice, but it’s not critical. Child care is provided courtesy of the Old Massett Youth Centre and will be open from 9:30am – 5:30pm, both Saturday and Sunday.  

What’s for lunch?

Tow Truck is preparing a delicious menu full of local sea foods, deer, island-raised beef and chicken, and salads! There will be something for everyone, including gluten free & vegetarian options.  

What should I bring?

Come prepared to ask questions, share your values and views, and engage in discussion about our Islands’ sustainable future. Also, don’t forget your potlatch bag with plates, bowls, cutlery & drinking vessels.

How do fuel subsidies work?

To offset the costs of fuel, we will provide subsidies for anyone traveling to the event with one or more passengers. We can offer $25 gift certificates each day for transportation from K’il Kun Llnagaay, Daajing Giids, HlGaagilda & Ts’iina Gandlaay (Sandspit, Queen Charlotte, Skidegate, & Miller Creek) and $15 / day for transportation from Tllaal and Gamadiis Llnagaay (Tlell & Port Clements).

Are there accommodations available?

Yes! We have booked 3 rooms at the Gwaay Naay Traveller’s Lodge in Gaw. They are private rooms with shared bathrooms and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for Saturday night (Sept. 29). Email us now to save a room: info@swiilawiid.org  

Will there be door prizes?

You know it! We have some fun & functional prizes donated by: Council of the Haida Nation, Swiilawiid Sustainability Society, BC Hydro, Don’s Heat Pumps, Spark! Sustainable Energy Solutions, Kara Sievewright, Sitka Studio, and the Haida Gwaii Museum.

Any other questions, comments, or input can be directed to symposium organizer, K’aayhlt’aa Haanas: valine.crist@gmail.com  

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Get involved at the Renewable Energy Symposium

Valine Crist

Do you want to volunteer at the event? Do you have a project, business or idea to present at an information booth in the marketplace? Are you interested in attending to learn and share your thoughts? There's a role for everyone at the Haida Gwaii Renewable Energy Symposium! 

Contact us today! info@swiilawiid.org 

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Swiilawiid hosts Power to the People TV show

Valine Crist

Last week was whirlwind for Swiilawiid! We were honoured to welcome the host (Melina Laboucan-Massimo) and crew of the new TV show called Power to the People (watch the trailer). August 13-16, the crew and Melina met with Swiilawiid, elected representatives, and renewable energy leaders here on Haida Gwaii to learn more about our energy systems today and goals for our clean energy future.

Produced by Real WorldMedia, this new TV show will air online and on APTN next year.

The Cree has landed! First stop is meeting Swiilawiid directors, Jaalen and Gwaliga.

Power to the People's time included community presentations in G_aw and HlG_aagilda, meeting more of the Swiilawiid team & traveling to Haida Gwaii Rediscovery at Talungslung.

"If I can't stop the tar sands today, what can I build for tomorrow?" -- Melina Laboucan-Massimo

"Having these solar panels here shows us that renewable energy is possible, it's not abstract, we can see solar power in action" -- Haana Edenshaw, Haida Gwaii Rediscovery participant

Haida Gwaii Rediscovery is solarized! This project was a partnership along with Swan Bay Rediscovery and Mount Moresby Adventure Camp. Swiilawiid and friends were thrilled to see the camp powered by renewable energy as we toured Melina & co. to the remote camp.

The filming and tour ended on a sunny and clear afternoon, but the conversation about the Islands' renewable energy future continues.

Solar Success at Mount Moresby

Valine Crist

This summer, all three Youth Rediscovery Camps on Haida Gwaii were powered with solar energy! Here is a report from Leslee Mackey, Executive Director of Mount Moresby Adventure Camp.

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Mount Moresby Adventure Camp’s first camp season with our new solar energy system was a huge success!  It was incredibly inspiring to see youth run past the solar array on their way to the lake every day and realize that to them, solar power will be a norm, not an exception.  Swiilawiid’s project to bring solar power to Haida Gwaii Youth Centres and Youth Camps means teenagers now hang out and stay in spaces powered with renewable energy and conversations about energy efficiency and how we choose to use electricity are a natural and familiar part of the day. Experiential learning doesn’t get any better!

This season the solar power system ran flawlessly, powering MMAC operations without the use of the diesel generator.  Not only are we saving money on diesel, we also have new options for our facility that were not possible when we were dependent on the generator. We can now run a UV filter on our water system and can move to an energy efficient fridge, rather than relying on a propane one.  We can also run an energy-efficient freezer, which has been a game-changer for the kitchen.  We have so many more options, all of which are environmentally friendly and sustainable, and that just feels good! 

Have your say on the Haida Gwaii Renewable Energy Symposium!

Valine Crist

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On September 29 and 30, 2018 Swiilawiid and Council of the Haida Nation are hosting an Island-wide Renewable Energy Symposium. This is our opportunity to come together as an Island community to share, learn, discuss, and envision an energy future that is free from diesel-power. Island citizens, local governments, businesses, and clean energy champions are all encouraged to attend this important gathering. 

 

 

Because the symposium is for you, we want your input to help shape this event. 

The survey is open to responses until May 31.  Your feedback will inform the topics, speakers, and location of the Haida Gwaii Renewable Energy Symposium! 

Complete the survey now.

**POSTPONED** Power to the People - Featuring Haida Gwaii!

Valine Crist

Power to the People: The Indigenous Path to a Postcarbon Future is a new multi-season TV and web documentary series that will air on APTN next year! 

This series is hosted by Melina Laboucan-Massimo, internationally acclaimed Cree environmentalist and David Suzuki Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change Fellow. Melina and film crew plan to visit the Islands to share Haida Gwaii’s story and learn about our shift from diesel-generated power to clean sources of locally owned renewable power.


Join us in welcoming Melina and Power to the People to Haida Gwaii! 

POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Haida Heritage Centre Performing House


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Haida Gwaii Energy Savings Challenge - SURVEY RESULTS

Valine Crist

For over a year, Swiilawiid has been out in the community talking about renewable energy and searching for inspiring stories from off-Island. In our conversations, we heard that energy awareness (that is, knowing how much energy you’re using) and action at the household level is an important first step in the shift to energy independence. Hearing this, we set-out to offer information and tips on how Island citizens can track their energy usage and start saving.

We launched the Haida Gwaii Renewable Energy Toolkit in January and issued a friendly Island-wide energy savings challenge last month. February is one of the coldest months of the year, and with Hydro rates ever-increasing, we thought that would be the perfect time for people to start saving!

In total, just under 30 households signed-up for the challenge, and after 30-days of energy savings, homeowners completed a short survey on their experiences and hopes for the future. There were some strong and clear responses:

  • Residents from every community on Island participated in the 30-day Energy Savings Challenge
  • 70% have considered installing renewable energy systems in their homes
  • Nearly 90% signed up for the challenge because they want to reduce their household energy usage

When asked, “What is your vision for Haida Gwaii’s energy future?” the answer was consistent: Islanders want to get off diesel generators and see our beautiful home become energy independent.

WHAT WE HEARD:

 "100% renewable!"

"All Renewable!"

"Would love to see more renewable sources both large and small scale"

"Less reliant on diesel, more wind, tide, solar power"

 

Swiilawiid is committed to working with our local communities towards this shared vision! Send us an email with your thoughts and keep an eye out for upcoming opportunities and renewable energy discussions!

Haw’aa / hawaa / thank you to all who read the toolkit, participated in the challenge, and took the time to complete the short survey.

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Haida Gwaii Energy Savings Challenge: The Survey

Lindsay Seegmiller

As February draws to a close, so does the Haida Gwaii Energy Savings Challenge. After February 28, everyone who participated in the energy savings challenge should complete the survey to show their savings. If you can demonstrate that you reduced your energy in February 2017 compared to February 2018, you will be entered to win some of our amazing & green prizes!

Complete the Haida Gwaii Energy Savings survey by March 9! You could be entered to win one of TWO street bikes or an EnergySmart space heater.

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Haawa / haw'aa / thank-you to everyone who participated!

Haida Gwaii Energy Saving Challenge

Valine Crist

The Challenge

We can all put energy savings into action to reduce Haida Gwaii’s environmental footprint and save money on our BC Hydro bills.


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Swiilawiid is issuing an Island-wide challenge to save energy this month. 

Each household can sign-up online. Go to BCHydro.com to create your account or sign-in.

As long as you can document that you have reduced your energy in February 2018 compared to last year, you will be entered to win some of our cool eco-friendly prizes! 

Download the poster and Haida Gwaii Energy Savings Calendar here.

Swiilawiid Report

Valine Crist

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A year in review

2017 has been a fruitful and full year, and we're pleased to provide a summary of our work ...

 

Current Projects: 

Haida Gwaii Youth Go Solar!

Creating spaces for youth to see and experience solar energy was one of the first visions that we had as a fledgling organization. This concept has now come to fruition with 5.5 kW solar installations at the Old Massett and Skidegate Youth Centers that will help to make them more energy independent!

Rediscovery Solar Camps

The solar youth vision quickly expanded to include the Rediscovery Camps, and we were very fortunate to collaborate with all three on-Island youth programs. Swiilawiid successfully fundraised to bring this project to life, and in July, the partners met to finalize the plan. Each camp will be solarized and producing clean power by next summer, eliminating the need to run generators at the remote and serene camps.

Download our full review to learn more about our story, our current projects, and what's to come for Swiilawiid in the new year.

Want more updates from us? Follow-us on Facebook.

We want your clean energy story

Valine Crist

Is your home or office super energy efficient? Do you have solar panels at your house or work? Do you have a wind turbine? We want to showcase all of the amazing projects and clean energy stories in our next publication! If you have a success story to share, fill out our short online form or pass it along to friends or neighbours who want to share their story!

If you have any questions or would prefer to email us directly, contact Swiilawiid at: info@swiilawiid.org

Tidal Power Launches in Justkatla Narrows

Valine Crist

Yourbrook Energy is a privately owned company exploring tidal power here on Haida Gwaii. The team is made-up of Island residents -- Laird Bateham, Dan Abbott, and Alden Bateham -- who have a unique idea for close-looped freshwater tidal technology. The objective is to harness energy from the constant ebb and flow of the tide to create a reliable and consistent source of clean power.

The prototype is now collecting data in Justkatla Narrows, and on Friday, Clyde Greenough talked with CBC about the project. Listen to the interview online and visit the Yourbrook Energy website for more information on the technology and the company's vision for displacing diesel-generated electricity.

EXCITING SOLAR ANNOUNCEMENT!

Valine Crist

Swiilawiid is thrilled to announce Solar: A Bright Future, a series of solar installations to take place on Haida Gwaii this summer. We will work with the ReDiscovery Haida Gwaii Program, Swan Bay Rediscovery, and Mount Moresby Adventure Camp to install solar panels at all three remote locations. Solar: A Bright Future, works to reduce the camps’ annual environmental footprint, showing youth and local communities that we can be environmental stewards and positively shape our energy future.

The solar installations demonstrate Haida Gwaii’s commitment to work towards a renewable and environmentally sustainable future. It is a symbolic shift marking a transition away from fossil-fuel power towards local clean energy. The solar project offers an example that renewable energy is possible on Haida Gwaii, and will illustrate the potential for small-scale clean electricity on the Islands. 

Youth who attend the camp will have the opportunity to learn about solar potential and see first-hand that small-scale clean energy is possible. Solar: A Bright Future is an opportunity for local people to learn more about energy systems on Haida Gwaii and celebrate the leadership and initiative in the emerging shift to renewable energy.

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We’re so excited to be putting up solar panels at our camp this year! Being off-grid, this will be a great opportunity to teach our youth about energy. We’re so used to walking into a room, flicking on a switch and having light. We’re totally unaware of where our electricity comes from. – Rosemary Hart, Steering Committee Member

 

Swan Bay Rediscovery is dedicated to helping young people learn about the Haida Stewardship Laws that are founded in the cultural concept of Yah’guudang, of respect for all things and all things are connected and depend upon each other.  This requires caring for the land and sea and not wasting.  The solar panels will provide an opportunity to add renewable energy curriculum to the camp sessions. – April Churchill, Manager

 

As an off-grid facility, Mount Moresby desires to minimize its impact on the environment through reducing diesel consumption for its lights and food systems. – Geoff Horner, Associate Coordinator

Old Massett Youth Centre is Going Solar!

Valine Crist

Swiilawiid is thrilled to collaborate with the Old Massett Youth Program to install solar panels on the Youth Centre this spring! Last month members of the Swiilawiid team met with the Youth Workers and agreed to partner on a solar array on their building in Old Massett! The 5 kilowatt installation should cover the building's energy needs, reducing (maybe eliminating!) electricity costs and taking real leadership in reducing their carbon footprint! Way to go Old Massett Youth!!!! 

Stay tuned for more details and contact us if you want to get involved: info@swiilawiid.org!

BC Hydro Open Houses this week

Valine Crist

BC Hydro is seeking input from Islands' residents on its Rate Design Application (RDA), but at this point the company is not proposing any specific changes in Haida Gwaii's electricity rates. BC Hydro Advisors will be on Island this week to describe customer rates, answer questions, and will be seeking input prior to filing an RDA in mid-2017.  

BC Hydro will be proposing different scenarios to supplement Haida Gwaii's diesel-generated electricity, although an Energy Advisor was unable to share any details before the presentations this week.

These events are open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend.

*Note an additional Open House has been added:

  Port Clements

  When: Tuesday, December 13th 

  Time: 9:15am

  Location: Port Clements Multiplex, Village Office

Survey Says!

Valine Crist

This past month, Swiilawiid asked for your thoughts and opinions on Haida Gwaii’s renewable energy future. We were grateful to have 164 responses to the online survey. Just like us, the clear majority would like to see the Islands embrace the shift to clean energy.

Here’s a summary of our survey questions and responses:

99% agree / strongly agree that renewable energy is important to Haida Gwaii’s Energy Future
95% agree / strongly agree that it is important for Haida Gwaii to be a renewable energy leader
94% believe it’s possible for Haida Gwaii to transition to small-scale, community owned energy
96% are aware of the energy they use and actively work to conserve electricity at home and at work
87% would invest more in clean energy conservation or renewable energy if they had more information on how to make the most of their time / money
58% do not feel they have enough information about Haida Gwaii's electrical power system
When asked to rank which renewable sources of energy are most important to Haida Gwaii’s energy future:
  • 75% say solar is our solution
  • 73% think tidal is most promising
  • 67% believe energy conservation / energy efficiencies is the priority
  • 63% vote for onshore wind
Nearly half of respondents said that reducing their environmental impact was the most important factor when it comes to their household energy.
89% of local residents believe homeowners and business owners are responsible for the shift to clean energy. At a close second, 87% of Islanders believe that local governments are responsible for the energy shift.

Did we forget an important question? Should we have asked something but didn’t? Did you have questions or comments after completing the survey? Please contact us if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts!

Note: This summary does not include all questions or responses, this is a snapshot of the responses received to date. 

 

And the winner is: Jennifer Pigeon! 

At Swiilawiid’s board meeting on November 17th, we drew one lucky survey-respondant to win  a Household Energy Efficiency Kit! Valued at $200, the kit included: Interior & exterior LED lights, low-flow shower head and insulating film. Congratulations to Jennifer Pigeon, we hope this loot helps to reduce your electrical consumption! 

 

About the Haida Gwaii Community Solar project

Valine Crist

This article was submitted by Kim Mushynsky, Chief Administrative Officer, Village of Port Clements

In 2012 the Village of Port Clements was successful in a funding application to the Union of BC Municipalities Strategic Priorities Fund for a project to replace the High Pressure Sodium streetlights with LED streetlights in Masset, Queen Charlotte, Skidegate and Port Clements. This project was meant to reduce the municipalities' carbon footprint and operational costs.  At the time of the initial application, Old Massett and Sandspit were invited to participate but both declined.  After the funding was granted it became apparent that the streetlights on Haida Gwaii are owned by BC Hydro and they were not ready at that point to commit to changing to LED streetlights – they were just beginning to investigate this as an option and their vetting process was going to take longer than the funding window would allow.  So in late 2014 we asked the funder if we could change our application from LED streetlights to solar panels and the following year we were approved. 

The project consists of:

  •  40.28 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Queen Charlotte Municipal building that will generate, on average, 35,000 kilowatt hours per year which would be a savings of 80% of their annual consumption of electricity.
  • 50.35 kilowatt installation on the roof of the George Brown Recreation Centre in Skidegate, which will generate, on average, 46,000 kilowatt hours per year which should almost cover their entire annual electrical requirements.
  • 42.4 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Multiplex Building in Port Clements and a battery backup system for the solar panels to feed into for support in a power outage.  This system will generate, on average, 36,000 kilowatts hours per year which equates to a savings of 45% of electricity every year
  • 16.96 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Masset Municipal Airport along with a battery backup and an 25.44 kilowatt installation on the roof of the Public Works building in Masset.  These installations will generate, on average, 37,500 kilowatt hours per year and will represent an annual savings of approximately 65% of their electrical requirements

The successful company in the tender process for this project is Terratek Energy out of Penticton.  We had four respondents to our request for bids on this project.  Terratek was chosen based on price point, experience in the industry and previous work on Haida Gwaii.

The entire project will cost approximately $600,000 and is entirely covered by grant funding.

Overall the entire installation will save Haida Gwaii an average of 154,500 kilowatts of power annually, over 50% of which is diesel generated electricity.  This equates to approximately the energy needed to power 12-13 houses per year.

 

Tidal power technology rolls onto Haida Gwaii Shores

Lindsay Seegmiller

On August 11, 2016, the CBC published a piece covering Haida Gwaii's Yourbrook Energy's prototype for a tidal energy generator.

Clyde Greenough, business manager of Yourbrook Energy, said his company has developed a generator that is powered solely by the ocean’s tide.

The technology — a pump storage system — harnesses the powerful pull of the tide to turn the blades of a pump that then pressurizes the water and sends it up an incline.
— CBC News