In a suitably fitting tribute to Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, the latest data out of the U.K. shows Britain is being powered by record levels of green energy from wind, sun and even waves.
Renewable energy from these and other sources now accounts for 11 per cent of the U.K.’s electricity, putting the U.K. closer to its goal of obtaining 15 per cent of its power from renewable-energy sources by 2020.
Fifteen per cent may not seem like much, compared to the 90 per cent of B.C.’s energy that comes from renewable-energy sources, but it’s a big step up for the U.K., where the aging energy infrastructure they have is largely based on coal and nuclear power.
And although the U.K. certainly doesn’t have the kind of hydroelectric resources B.C. has, it does have considerable onshore and offshore wind-energy resources similar to those we have here in B.C.
In fact, onshore and offshore wind generation was the biggest contributor to Britain’s increase in green energy.
Compared to last year, wind energy’s contribution in the U.K. was up nearly 50 per cent, leading some to suggest that Britain is poised to become the Saudi Arabia of offshore wind.
All in all, if this green-energy trend continues, renewable energy may ultimately prove to be greatest legacy of Queen Elizabeth’s long and successful reign.
Yolanda Lora Vilchis, Surrey
Saving energy. Isn’t that what everything is about these days? Or is it merely a pretentious goal?
Personally, I think it is more of the latter.
Canada’s energy strategy boasts of its dysfunctional plans, but it is still less energy-efficient than even China; among the world’s top 12 economies, according to the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, Canada is lagging at 11th. Canadians waste so much energy every second without even noticing.
For instance, I am a Semiahmoo Secondary student currently taking summer school in Earl Marriott, and every student in my class has complained that the classroom is freezing, while the sun is shining outside.
I distinctly remember my friend saying, “Why is it so cold in here! I thought it was supposed to be summer!”
The air conditioner surely consumes a huge amount of energy every day. I have no choice but to wear thick jackets and long pants more suitable for winter. This is beyond ridiculous. It wasn’t like that in Semiahmoo Secondary; I never felt like I was studying in an igloo.
So why not set the air conditioner at a lower temperature? There are countless things like this that could be improved easily without losing much, while gaining a whole lot more in the long run.
Let’s start saving energy one step at a time. Let’s start with matters that seem trivial but really can affect the world if we are not efficient.
Let’s try to come in first in next year’s energy efficient score card, shall we?
Sophie Zhang, Surrey
It’s often said that energy conserved is energy that doesn’t need to be generated.
Given the high cost of building new energy-generating infrastructure, energy conservation is therefore clearly the least expensive way to meet any growth in energy demand. Unfortunately, energy demand in B.C. and around the world is set to grow rapidly over the next couple of decades, and energy conservation on its own is not going to be sufficient to satisfy that demand.
That means we’re going to have to build new energy generating infrastructure here in B.C., just as they are in places all over the world.
A big difference here in B.C. is that we have the great fortune to be able to pick and choose from an almost limitless assortment of renewable energy resources, most of which we’ve barely even begun to tap into.
So, as we look to building new energy infrastructure to meet our future needs in this province, I hope we will avail ourselves of these incredible renewable energy resources, creating jobs while also keeping ourselves on the green path to continued prosperity.
Charles Davis, White Rock