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Clean Energy News

Swiilawiid Report

Valine Crist

Screen Shot 2017-12-05 at 9.33.35 PM.png

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.

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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:

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.


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.


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:!

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