A few years ago Sea Breeze Energy Inc. made an application to investigate building windmills in the waters off James Island.
The proposal was for 50, 70-metre tall generators located in a southeasterly and northwesterly pattern in the water between James Island and Zero Rock in the Cordova Channel.
At the time the public shouted a loud and firm no, mostly because of the aesthetics of the thing, and in part because of the potential threat to shore birds.
A couple of years later, another Sea Breeze project, a 550 megawatt High Voltage Direct Current Light submarine and underground electricity transmission cable connecting Vancouver Island with the Lower Mainland was proposed. Again after much public opposition, the plan was withdrawn.
Now, some six years later, we’re looking at an enormous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, hard opposition to Alberta’s oil sands development and Site C, the potential of a major hydroelectric dam in the Peace River Valley.
Our need for energy is increasing. Electricity use is predicted to increase up to 40 per cent over the next 20 years. Turning down the heat in winter and opening the windows during the summer will only go so far in conserving that energy.
That means it’s time for us to take a hard look at where we are going to get our energy from. What is acceptable to us as a province? Does that mean that we may have to sacrifice our view, or that of our neighbours?
There are tough decisions ahead for our province, country and our own municipalities.
BC’s new Clean Energy Act that calls for increased efficiency and an increase in the amount of energy the province gets from hydro power and other renewable energy sources is a step in the right direction. But we are also going to have to open our minds to new sources and perhaps be prepared to give up something in return.