There are an estimated 8,000 electric vehicles in BC. These numbers may seem small compared with the millions of vehicles registered, but growth is tracking in the double-digits on a year-over-year basis. With significantly fewer emissions and lower operating costs, electric vehicles have the potential to benefit climate change and affordability – two important goals in our region.
·        Eve Hou, Air Quality Planner, Air Quality and Climate Change, Parks, Planning and Environment, Metro Vancouver
·        Chris Frye, Acting Director, Communities and Transportation Branch, Electricity and Alternative Energy, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Province of BC
·        Anthonia Ogundele, Manager, Environmental Sustainability and Business Continuity, Facility & Environmental Management, Vancity
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  1. While the choice of an electric does have environmental value, where the electricity for refuel is sourced is also an important consideration. Was is sourced from Site C Dam? Was it sourced from coal mining? Not out of the woods yet, unfortunately.

    1. In a discussion on electrifying our region, what impact does coal fired power generation have? Any?

    2. Little coal based power in BC. In AB, or some US states, different story.
      Is heatng your hot water or home better though with electricity than natural gas ?

      1. Yes.
        But you need an energy efficient home to make it affordable. Electricity costs about 3 times more per unit of energy. But a house can get all of it’s heat and hot water with a heat pump that uses 1/3 the energy of gas. But it only really works if your house isn’t of the crappy variety we’ve typically been building here.
        So the costs can come out even, or cheaper in the long run if you build to European or Passive House standards . With electricity you’re not contributing to CO2 emissions. So, yes, it’s better. We should be aiming for the comfort and durability of better buildings.

      2. Ron’s point needs to be taken to heart. Building an enegy efficient building is more expensive, but the savings on the long-term operational costs (heating, cooling) are very significant.
        I live in a century-old house that would be very hard and prohibitively expensive to bring up to Passive House standards. However, what improvements we have made over the years (e.g. double-glazed sash windows with fitted storm windows, more insulation in beefed up walls, etc.) have really made a difference. We are considering an air-to-air electric heat pump in future. Small improvements, comparatively speaking, but manageable while on the path of reclaiming the lost architecture.

    1. It has to be noted that Alberta has a plan to replace coal electricity with natural gas or renewables. In my view they should skip the gas and jump directly to renewables because a large part of the gas resource is extracted through fracking shale formations, which is beset by large methane leaks. Some reports estimate that the emissiion levels for fracked shale are the same as burning coal.
      Renewables have a tremendous future potential in Alberta. Some fossil fuel companies there are investing billions in it (e.g. Enbridge into wind and solar), no doubt hedging their bets. A recent wind power auction garnered a record Canadian low of $34 / MW for a project with over 600 MW potential power at a site near Pincher Creek. This is nothing to sneeze at.

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