Despite the City of Vancouver’s war on natural gas, the city and FortisBC, B.C.’s natural gas utility, have reached an agreement to work together on projects that will reduce Vancouver’s carbon footprint.
The city and FortisBC announced November 24 that they have signed a memorandum of understanding to co-operate on a number projects, including incentives to switch city vehicles from diesel and gasoline to cleaner burning natural gas.
“By working together, we’re finding solutions whereby we can get more efficient appliances in, reduce emissions, create pathways for things like renewable natural gas and natural gas vehicles,” said Jason Wolfe, director of energy solutions for FortisBC.
The city’s Renewable City Strategy aims to phase out natural gas, which has caused FortisBC and other businesses some concern. Only RNG would be acceptable in new developments.
The problem is that, at present, RNG is nearly non-existent. It makes up less than half of 1% of the natural gas supply in B.C.
Currently, some of the methane that is captured at the Vancouver landfill is used to generate electricity. But 40% of it is still flared. FortisBC has agreed to invest in a new system that will use that wasted resource, clean it up and inject it into the gas stream as RNG.
Even then, however, the amount of RNG FortisBC will be able to supply will still be less than 1% of the total available natural gas supply in B.C.
“We’re looking at a number of other opportunities as well,” Wolfe said. “We’ll keep adding to that number.”
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The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) has entered into a partnership worth $2.5 million with the provincial government intended to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increase their export capacity, with a specific focus on Asia.
“Our role is to seize the opportunity afforded to us as Canada’s only Pacific province, to fulfill our exporting potential by looking to Asia and the other markets accessible to us through Canada’s Asia Pacific gateway and by counting on our vibrant SME community.”
The plan includes initiatives to partner industry with government and business experts to help build their international trade capacity. As well, it specifically looks at the export potential of First Nations-owned businesses.
“One in five British Columbian jobs is tied to exporting, and there exists a direct linkage between exporting, job creation and increased productivity, said GVBOT CEO Iain Black.
“By investing in these programs, businesses in Greater Vancouver and across the province will benefit.”
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The Canadian Coast Guard has announced it is looking to fill 150 positions in B.C. to staff new lifeboat stations, ships and infrastructure projects.
The federal agency is looking to add 500 positions across Canada. While that will not reverse the cuts made under the previous Harper government, it will allow a quicker response to environmental emergencies and search-and-rescue missions, said David Heap, regional director for the coast guard’s integrated business management services.
Some of the new positions on the West Coast will be tied to four new lifeboat stations and several new vessels, part of the $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan announced in November.
The locations of the stations have not been announced, but they will help fill in “some of the blanks that we’ve currently got up and down the coast,” Heap said.
Port Hardy will also get more resources to beef up the coast guard’s environmental-response capacity along northern Vancouver Island and the central coast.
The federal agency is hosting job fairs and looking to hire mariners, navigators, marine engineers and environmental response personnel, as well as technicians and engineers to work on infrastructure such as radar sites.
“Everything from electronic engineers who know about microwaves and radar and how they work to labourers that are going out on the work crews to help set up some of the shore-side facilities,” Heap said.
Heap said none of the 500 positions will replace retiring workers. Upward of 20 per cent of the coast guard’s 4,500 employees could soon be retiring, he said.
“We have the same [aging] demographics as other industries, meaning there’s a lot of people looking to retire in the next five to 10 years,” Heap said.
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Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) chairman Ian Telfer was in Senegal recently for the grand opening of one of his latest investments.
It wasn’t a new gold mine, however, but a waste-to-energy plant that takes tires and plastics and turns them into fuel in the township of Nguekokh.
The project was the brainchild of Vancouver businessman Stephen Jenkins and was built and financed entirely by B.C. business people. The $1.8 million plant was designed and built by Vancouver engineering design firm Balanced Power Engineering Inc., which is also an investor in the project.
Balanced Power used to work mostly with pulp and paper mills, and still has clients in that industry, but over the last decade it has changed its focus.
Jenkins is the founder of a social enterprise called Energies Du Futur, which is working to develop renewable energy projects in West Africa. The new waste-to-energy plant in Senegal, which was officially opened on January 31, is the first of six projects Jenkins is trying to build. A second phase will be a wind and solar energy project.
The plant uses plastics and tires as feedstock to produce a variety of diesel fuels through pyrolysis, a process that breaks up polymers at high temperatures. It can process up to 1,500 tires per day and produce up to 15,000 litres of fuel oil – which raises the question: does Senegal really have that many old tires lying around? Sadly, the answer is yes, Walter said.
“There are that many waste tires,” he said. “By our estimates, we’ve got a 15-year supply. They’re stacked up on the sides of roads everywhere you go. If you go outside of town a little ways, you’ll find gullies. These will be completely full of tires.”
There is a lot of waste plastic around too. Local villagers are paid $15 per tonne to bring plastics and tires to the plant, which employs 40 people.
To finance the project, Jenkins called on Telfer and other friends in B.C. to become investors to raise the $1.8 million needed to build the plant. The township of Nguekokh donated the land for a 5% equity stake in the project.
Read full article on BIV.com.