Can Revelstoke afford lower propane rates?
Revelstoke Mountaineer – 4th October 2019
Some food for thought after reading this article.
I fully support our needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Reduction can come in many ways but it must come with objective consideration of real and timely options.
Some facts - Cimate change is a global issue not one that Revelstoke, BC, or Canada can solve without consideration for the entire world emissions.
Fact - in the last 10 years North American carbon dioxide emissions have gone down by approximately 10%. Conversely Asia's emissions have gone up by approximately 30%.
Fact - coal emissions account for approximately 45% of the world emissions of carbon dioxide. Gas is only 23% and oil is only 33%.
Fact - BC exports huge amounts of coal to many Asian countries including China. The emissions from BC coal are equal to approximately 85% of the current emissions from all other sources for the entire province of BC.
Fact - burning coal produces approximately 64 % more CO2 per unit of energy then burning propane. Burning natural gas produces 20% less CO2 emissions per unit of energy than propane. Burning wood produces more CO2 emissions than burning coal by approximately 15%. And we burn wood in Revelstoke.
Fact - Wood waste is only waste if it is not used. When wood fibre is burned to produce heat it is now a wood produce with a commodity price that is dictated by market forces. Anyone burning firewood knows that the price of this "wood waste" has gone up considerably over the last few years regardless of whether you buy it or cut it yourself( truck gas. log splitting, etc.) Once wood fibre for use as a heat source becomes commercially developed( biomass, gasification, etc.) the market value will dictate whether wood fibre becomes a sawlog, pulp, paper, or biomass.
Fact - Downie Timber and the Revelstoke Community Energy Corporation are two of the largest users of propane in Revelstoke.
So I have to question a few of the rural myths that exist.
Why would we not support the conversion from propane to natural gas in Revelstoke when we can reduce our CO2 emissions while saving over $400 per year? These savings (in both $$$ and Co2 emissions) would also be realized by Downie and RCEC.
The City could also meet its targets of reducing emissions.
Why are Downie Timber and RCEC some of the largest burners of propane when this whole biomass energy system is suppose to burn "wood waste"?
Why do we sit in our favorite coffee shops and watch coal train after coal train roll through Revelstoke knowing it’s all heading to Asia and not recognize there is a provincial opportunity to reduce global CO2 emissions simply by banning the export of coal in favor of alternate less CO2 emitting fuels?
Why do we hate all fossil fuels and refuse to convert to less emitting fuels in favor of unproven technologies that may never be developed or could possibly be worse? Why do we burn gasoline in our vehicles when propane has been proven to be a less costly and less CO2 emitting alternative? Remember when many vehicles were converted to burning propane and now it is hard to find a fill-up station that even offers propane.
Why can we drive through Alberta and see huge flare-off pipes burning excessive natural gas surplus to the demand while we chose to burn gasoline. Why aren't we burning this natural gas in Revelstoke or finding other productive uses for this fuel?
Why do we believe the political rhetoric that we will all be driving electric cars in a few years when many of the supporters of such a concept also oppose the building of the Site C dam?
When the demand for electricity (from all the electric cars) exceeds the current production by BC Hydro how will BC Hydro produce more power? Where is all the electricity going to come from? Will we build fossil fuel or biomass power plants to run these electric cars? Will we dam the Fraser River? Electricity doesn't come from the plug in your house. As with all supply and demand systems the cost of electricity will skyrocket. BC Hydro will get rich, the provincial government will rob all the $$$ from BC Hydro and boast surplus budgets while home electrical use will cost double or triple what it currently costs. Will all those with baseboard heating be willing to pay such huge costs? There is good reason BC Hydro switched to smart meters. They now have the ability to change the electrical rates in real time use. Will your Thanksgiving dinner cost a fortune to cook while you’re forced to do laundry at 2am to save some $$$.
Many European countries charge more than $0.40 per kw/hr. We only pay between $0.09 and $0.13 per Kw/hr. But not for long thanks to the narrow shortsightedness of the government.
Why do we think that burning wood in Revelstoke is better than burning propane or natural gas? That’s 225% more emissions than natural gas. One has only to walk from Southside to the top of the Mile Hill in the winter after 6pm to enjoy the sweat smell of all that smoke and associated CO2 emissions? What about our health? What about all that cancer causing smoke?
Saskatchewan has recently spent billions of dollars producing a carbon capture and storage system. BC has its own natural system - its call trees and forests. Why do we want to make our forests economically viable as biomass produces when we could leave the tree standing to capture carbon? Leaving our trees to work for us as carbon capture and storage systems seems like a better economic opportunity then burning fossil fuels to cut them down and then burning the trees to produce energy. Why is there no price for a live tree but only one for a dead tree?
If we are going to do our tiny part in supporting the idea of reducing greenhouse gas emissions we need to be object and see the big picture not just the simple issue of Fortis offering Revelstoke the price of propane at the price of natural gas.
Lets get real, lets get smart, and lets do something now that makes a real difference. Lets burn natural gas instead of propane, lets burn propane instead of gasoline, lets stop exporting coal ,and lets leave our forests alive to remove the maximum amount of CO2. Let make live trees worth more than dead trees.
Some food for thought and discussion while we all chow down on our Thanksgiving dinner.