Like most Islanders, we lost power for an extended time following the storm last week. And like most Islanders we were caught by surprise and were unprepared for just how damaging the seemingly mild storm was. Could we have been better prepared? And can we expect more of this during the next few months? Speaking personally, I wish I’d filled up the bath tub with water, and as always I lament the fact that we don’t have a generator …. but never quite enough to go out and invest in one. Collectively, we could invest in a similar sort of insurance against the next devastating storm which will inevitably come, if not this winter, then some winter in the near future.

Firstly, I join all Islanders in saluting the remarkable job that the Maritime Electric workers always do to restore power to our communities, typically in difficult conditions. Thank you.

But I’d like to suggest that a more progressive-thinking administration at Maritime Electric would be leading the charge towards a more dispersed, decentralized and resilient generating network. Any distribution system, whether it be for power, resources, or information is made vulnerable when it is highly centralized. And conversely, systems that are diversified and decentralized are more robust and able to sustain threats such as last week’s storm. Just imagine for a moment an Island where all residents produce their own power through a diffuse, integrated network of solar, wind and other carbon neutral sources. And imagine for a moment a situation where there is storage capacity in individual homes and communities to allow Islanders to be largely able to sail through a weather event such as the one we had last week. Impossible? Impractical? Not at all. Technological advances are coming in leaps and bounds in the renewable energy field, particularly in storage. Many other countries have invested in small-scale renewable installations, and are reaping the benefits, both environmentally and economically. There is no better time for us to wean ourselves off fossil fuel-based power generation, and to start investing in a modern, clean and robust energy system here on PEI. And signs are that our provincial government is finally ready to get behind such a vision.

Personally, my vision of our energy future is of entirely renewable generation which is diverse, decentralized and carbon neutral. My vision also includes a picture of Maritime Electric line workers sitting, like the famous ad for the Maytag repair guy, head in hands with nothing to do as our Island remains empowered during a blistering winter blizzard.

-Peter

 

2 Comments

  1. Dave Dixon 13 December 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Well stated. Solar panels would have provided some power during the daytime even without storage. Enough perhaps to fill a tub, charge some devices get the furnace online for awhile. Investing $50+ Million in an oil fired generation plant is a missed opportunity to bring 50 Million Watts of clean Solar PV panels online across the island that would produce for at least 25 years on free fuel. Better yet, put that money into an incentive plan that matches investments by firms and folks now your talking double the power and at a very affordable price for islanders. Imagine the buying power. Feature the jobs for installers. Or how about a generator that lets you cleanly produce electric power using wood mulch? Wind power, we let more leave than we use. Solar hot water – easy and efficient as a supplement in winter. No single solution but diverse and renewable, without a lot of transmission loss. Big grids are not only vulnerable but inefficient. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Let’s see some public support to create some political will.

     
  2. wanda 13 December 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Just a few comments…

    1) We live in Kingston, a rural area, but which is totally “diversified and decentralized”. Power was out at different times all around us which was appropriately taken care off. We, luckily, didn’t loose ours this time. But most of our neighbors and community did.You may have power in one house and next door they had none.

    2) Your comment was…” But I’d like to suggest that a more progressive-thinking administration at Maritime Electric would be leading the charge towards a more dispersed, decentralized and resilient generating network.”
    So I really dont understand what you mean by some of your comments.Do you really think that these guys want to be out in all this bad weather? Do you really think that they dont want to stay inside with their families where the are safe? Do you really think it should be all about Maritime Electric!

    3) So can these guys come up with ideas that are “progressive”? Who will pay for their time to do this? How will it be implemented? What is the cost to the end user? For those that cant afford any changes, who picks up the tab or if no one ( ie government) then do they stay with same service we have now?

    4) Sometimes I think we were better off in the old days where we had wood burning stoves for heat, a pump out back for water and all the food for winter in storage.

    5) We live in PEI, THE greatest place in the world. (Yep I am biased). We gets lots of rain or snow depending on season. But we can always count on getting the WIND. Anyone who lives here knows that… they know that power will be out, poles knocked down, roads that you cant get through for days (if your lucky) , your mailbox will be hit a few times by the plow, and just after you cleaned your driveway he will come back again and fill it in!!!

    6) BUT!! We chose to make this our home. This is where we raise our kids without most of the worries other provinces have, this is our home, our friends, our community.

    7) One for which we should all fight for and keep intact!

    8) So although I don’t understand alot of what you said I do agree with some of it. We do need to look to the future, but the following is just words that I dont understand. Skip the political
    speeches that sound great but that dont mean a thing to the regular person.

    Personally, my vision of our energy future is of entirely renewable generation which is diverse, decentralized and carbon neutral. My vision also includes a picture of Maritime Electric line workers sitting, like the famous ad for the Maytag repair guy, head in hands with nothing to do as our Island remains empowered during a blistering winter blizzard.

    Thanks for listening

    Wanda

     

Leave a Reply