SWCC hosts discussion on energy

The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is hosting a spring discussion series on energy solutions this month.

The Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is hosting a spring discussion series on energy solutions this month.

Four presentations about alternative energy projects in the Hazeltons will take place at the Learning Shop in Old Hazelton every Tuesday evening for the month of May. The first one, on waste wood heating, took place this week.

Skeena Energy Solutions coordinator Greg Horne said people in this region are hungry for different energy ideas.

“People will get inspired that there are other options other than fossil fuels for energy, both for heating and electricity. I also hope people learn the north has some unique potential that other places don’t have. We have lots of biomass hanging around, like wood that through forestry operations is burned in big piles of waste. We are looking at ways to redirect that waste into a usable resource. There is so much of it here so it makes environmental and economic sense.”

The next presentation in the series will be on May 13 and solar panels will be discussed. The solar panels on the Learning Shop will be used as an example in the presentation. Horne said they have outperformed 90 per cent of the panels they monitor in Southern Alberta during the month of February. People can also learn about the solar basics, community solar gardens and solar group-buys.

The concept of plastic to oil will be the centre of the third presentation on May 20.  Whitehorse is home to North America’s first small-scale plastic-to-oil machine and Horne thinks Hazelton could have one too. The machine, about the size of a pool table, converts waste plastics that don’t get recycled, for example plastic forks and styrofoam. It takes those things, heats them up and converts it into oil, which is a mixture of gasoline, diesel and other types of fuel. Horne said this can be done for about 50 cents a litre with nearly zero emissions. He said it could be used to fuel more public transit, and possibly allow more options for the community. This could solve two problems, divert plastic away from the landfill and help Hazelton get more buses.

The last presentation entitled, Recycled Energy Greenhouse, is on May 27. The project on top of the Skeena Bakery and Laundromat where they attempt to grow vegetables year round, will be presented. Horne said people will learn how recycled car radiators will be used to recover, store and redistribute waste heat from the bakery and laundromat and from excess solar heat in the greenhouse.

All of the presentations start at 7 p.m. at the Learning Shop and they are all free to attend.