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The Innovation Station


Building a 21st Century Union requires staying on top of the latest goings on in Canada and around the world. News items, photos and more to keep you 'in the know'.

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Hydropower 101


Source: Student Enerygy

Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre goes solar!

Shopping malls are an ideal space for solar panels – a wide open FLAT space that sees sunlight all day, it’s perfect! That is exactly what the owner and operator at Oxford Properties thought as well when they started this project back in 2017 working with a Canadian engineering company RESCo Energy Inc.

The plan: to install 600 solar panels in clusters around the mall’s roof surfaces to generate power to the one million square foot of retail space for the next two decades.

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Source: The Globe and Mail

Major refurbishment planned for historic Sir Adam Beck Power Canal

The Sir Adam Beck Power Canal is a 13.7 km power canal that channels water to OPG’s hydroelectric generating stations. It was built in 1921 and will undergo a major refurbishment to improve the performance for another 50 more years.

“This work will preserve the structural integrity of the canal and clear debris to restore and improve water flow.” Tony Palma, Project Manager with OPG

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Source: Ontario Power Generation 

Taking solar to a whole new level!

The company behind this new RV design is Dethleffs and it offers off-grid status. The whole RV is covered in solar panels a total of 334 sq feet (on the roof AND on the side) which offers 3,000 watts of energy. To make it even better, you don’t need a charging station or fuel!

Click here to check out the inside, its luxurious! 

Source:Goods Home Design

*image from Goods Home Design website

Take a tour inside a house made with plastic bottles

Curious on what you can build with 600,000 plastic water bottles? Well, last month a company called JD Composites unveiled its first home in Meteghan River on Nova Scotia's southwest shore. Its walls are made from 15-centimetre thick plastic slabs.


Source: CBC News Nova Scotia


Microgrids are on the rise!

Microgrids are ‘decentralised energy grids that intelligently balance the local supply and demand of distributed clean energy resources'.

A new study shows they could play a pivotal role in supporting efforts to transition to renewable energy systems and meet climate targets. A Dutch report found that microgrid technology, through sharing of energy at the local level between multiple households, could make the economy 90 percent self-sufficient.  

Microgrids could play a huge role in the transition to renewable energy moving forward.

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Source: Vice

Courts uphold the carbon tax in Ontario

Statement released by Policy Director at Clean Energy Canada, Dan Woynillowicz, regarding the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision supporting the constitutionality of Ottawa's federal carbon price. 

“With Canada warming twice as fast as the rest of the world—triggering an increase in fires and floods—trying to score political points by grandstanding against sound climate policy is not only reckless, it’s deeply dangerous. With four out of five judges ruling in favour of the federal government, in addition to a similar decision in the Saskatchewan court in May, it could not be clearer that fighting climate change is more important than fighting each other. 

“It’s noteworthy that this case, and the court’s decision, goes beyond simply upholding the federal government’s ability to put a price on carbon pollution. It affirms that when provinces fail to act, the federal government can step in to ensure minimum standards for cutting pollution across... Read More

Source: Clean Energy Canada

Electric bus plant to open in Ontario

Build Your Dreams (BYD) is opening their first Canadian assembly plant in Newmarket, ON. The 45,000 sq ft facility will first focus on assembling buses for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  Will start with 10 electric buses with the option for 30 more.  

It has been reported that the BYD busses can eliminate approximately 10 tons of nitrogen oxides, 350 pounds of diesel particulate matter, and approximately 1,690 tons of CO2 over the 12-year lifecycle of the vehicle.

“We’re proud to establish a home in Canada; it re-affirms our commitment as a company to be rooted in this country and in this province,” said Ted Dowling, Vice-President, BYD Canada. “We look forward to creating new partnerships across the nation.”

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Source: Newmarket Today

Ikea switching ALL fleet to electric by 2025

Ikea has pledge to switch their whole delivery fleet to electric by 2025. By next year that will have New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam and Shanghai all electric. In fact, they are even up ahead of schedule as they have already reached their goal for Shanghai.

“We wanted to challenge both ourselves and others, and Shanghai is one of the biggest cities in the world,” says Angela Hultberg, who oversees sustainable mobility at Ingka Group. “A city that struggles with air pollution, the very problem we’re trying to address, seemed like a perfect place to start.”

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Source: Fast Company 

Carbon-Neutral Neighbourhood right here in Canada

Interested in living in one of the world’s largest planned sustainable communities? Well, you can now do so right here in Edmonton! In fact, you can buy a house in their first phase of development. This carbon-neutral neighbourhood is located 10 mins from downtown Edmonton and is powered entirely by renewable resources.

“There will be 30,000 people in Blatchford living and working in a sustainable way,” said Tom Lumdsen, development manager for Blatchford. “It’s a very forward-thinking opportunity to show that Edmonton is more than just an oil and gas town.”

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Source: New Energy Economy


Carbon and Energy payback of a wind turbine

A question most of us (or all of us) have thought about: How long does it take a wind turbine to generate as much electricity as is used and carbon dioxide as is emitted, during the entire lifecycle of that turbine?

SaskWind did a great job at breaking this all down. In short, they concluded that a typical wind turbine will have an energy payback of less than 6 months and a carbon dioxide payback of around 6 months.

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Source: SaskWind

The stator has arrived... all the way from Poland!

We are all aware that the refurbishment at OPG’s Darlington unit 3 is well under way, but did you know that a key component of the refurbishment just arrived?

The stator made the journey all the way from Poland (where it was built) and is a critical piece to the puzzle. It is a specific element of the turbine generator that serves as the stationary portion of an electric generator that converts the rotating magnetic field into electric current. 

The stator is the largest piece of equipment since the plant’s construction. The hope is to have it installed by next year.

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Source: World Nuclear News

The former Nanticoke Generating Station site has been transformed

The Nanticoke Generating Station provided 15% of Ontario’s electricity for more than 40 years but in 2013 it stopped using coal as fuel. Shortly after that the site was closed.

This former coal power plant which is on the Northern shore of Lake Erie recently got a makeover! About a year ago the 650 ft smokestacks were torn down and in replace of them are 192,431 solar panels spread across the 260 acers.

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Earth Day - April 22

As Earth Day is a week away, here is a look at Ontario’s new plan to preserve and protect our environment for future generations.

B.C. is set to be zero-emission standard on all new light-duty cars and trucks by 2040

The plan is now in motion!

In the fall, the province annouced their plan for all new light-duty cars and trucks that are sold to be zero-emission vehicles by the year 2040. It won't happen all at once, they want to phase it in with 10 per cent of new car sales will be zero-emission by 2025 and then by 2030 it will jump to 30 per cent and by 2040 it will be ALL new car sales. 

The province recongizes that zero-emission cars do cost more so to help with that they will be providing rebates to encourage more British Columbians to buy clean energy cars.

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Source: Global News

Climate change, a hot topic!

Lots of Canadians are pushing for a serious plan to take action on climate change and the debate is getting stronger. Right now, a lot of focus is on the carbon tax pricing. Here is a short video that discusses 3 common carbon pricing myths. To read the full report click here – it also includes a great infographic.

The facts are out there. Let’s use them.

Source: Canada's Ecofiscal Commission 

Alberta to kick-start a new green transportation project

Earlier this week, Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillps announced something HUGE. They plan to kick-start a new green transportation project. This will also include a pretty special truck that is being developed by the Alberta Motor Transport Association. They want to build a transport truck that will have the ability to drive long distances while at the same time delivering a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The province has committed to $100 million to help support these projects, which there are currently 16 of and these projects hope to create approximately 114 new jobs.

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Source: Global News

What is the most cost effective source of energy?

As of right now WIND is cheaper than coal, nuclear, or any of the alternatives. It is the most cost-effective source of new electricity, as new analysis show that wind energy cost has dropped 69 percent since 2009. 

Canada still has some work to do as our wind energy costs as still slighty on the higher side, however ongoing technology improvement is key. The recent procurements in Saskatchewan, where the average bid price was CDN$37.50 and the winning bid came well in below that, demonstrates that wind energy can be built in Canada at costs closer to the lower end of the price range. 

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Source: CanWEA

Where do Canadian cities sit with becoming 100% renewable?

One can say that it all started with Vancouver back in 2015, as they started to make the shift to 100% renewable energy. We are now seeing more cities going towards this. Here is a really good progress update on where Canadian cities are and what goals they are setting for themselves to help them implement their plans. 


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Source: Renewable Cities

The largest municipal utility in the nation is going 100% renewable

That is right, you heardf correctly! The City of Los Angeles is set to phase out three gas-fired power plants by 2029. Currently the city has two enormous gas plants and one smaller one, which together represent 38% of the utilioty's gas-fired generation. Mayor Eric Garcetti calls it the 'New Green Deal' and is all part of the city's plan to move to 100% renewable energy.

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Source: PV Magazine