Alternative power moving forward
Thursday, Nov 03, 2016 06:00 am
As our days shorten and we once again face the turning back of our clocks for the sake of questionable benefits related to Daylight Saving Time, Sunday (Nov. 6) we’re reminded of the fact that in this province alternative energy options continue to be investigated and promoted.
… yes, yes, oil is king in Alberta and we’re all waiting with bated breath for a turnaround in oil pricing that will have us flush once again.
But the latest downturn, we’d point out, does seem to be lingering. The slide in oil prices that began while the Conservatives were in power, and has now continued into the NDP’s mandate, hasn’t shown much sign of relenting.
Worse yet, prognosticators aren’t showing much enthusiasm for the likelihood of soaring oil prices in the near future.
So, as everyone in this province rides out yet another roller coaster of oil pricing and associated economic highs and lows based on oil, it appears that looking elsewhere for our energy needs may well be increasingly necessary.
After all, oil is a non-renewable resource, and some experts are predicting its life as possibly being measured in decades.
In the meantime, positive measures can be found in relation to alternative energy. Among these are NAIT’s Alternative Energy Technology diploma, which focuses on solar, geothermal, wind, biofuels, hydro, etc.
Meanwhile, at SAIT, programs are now available for solar-related training, including manufacturing and automation of photovoltaic systems.
In a province where hydrocarbon engineering-type courses used to be the way to go, almost the only way to go, if one was interested in the energy sector, some educators and program designers have been thinking outside the box.
These are just a couple of programs noticed in the news recently; there are, of course, others.
As well, the Solar Energy Society of Alberta (SESA) is offering classes on photovoltaic system design and modelling for professionals and seminars on opportunities for women in renewable energy. According to SESA, Alberta’s solar generating capacity is growing at 100 per cent per year over the past three years.
We’re not suggesting oil and the oilsands, for example, are no longer the mainstay of our provincial energy sector, but it’s encouraging to note that alternative energy is a growing trend. Again, oil production will eventually stop; why not get ahead of that inevitable day?
At some point, as oil dwindles, there will be no alternative to alternative power sources.
If you’re wondering where this comment on alternative energy has come from, it’s simply due to seeing/reading items concerning new developments in energy.
For example, with the American-made Volturnus River Turbine, you don’t have to take the massive scale Quebec and B.C. route of damming flowing water to generate power. Volturnus turbines are in-river units, installed as ‘pods’ or ‘farms’ which generate power simply from water flowing over them.
Then there is a Spanish company that has designed the Vortex Bladeless system that looks like a telephone pole that generates power simply through vibration as wind passes over them. Unlike windmills, which have deleterious effects on birds, the vortex unit is allegedly unlikely to.
Finally, the province is pumping a further $5 million (not a massive amount when it comes to provincial budgets) into solar panel projects for municipalities and agricultural producers.
Let the sun shine.