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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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Canadian entrepreneurs seek path to fossil-fuel-free future

Right now, politicians from around the globe are meeting in Paris to figure out the next steps in reducing climate change.

But a number of Canadian entrepreneurs have spent years sussing out technologies that may help us get to a future of cleaner power.

Venture capitalist Tom Rand, for example, is pouring tens of millions of dollars into the race to replace fossil fuels.
 

"By the end of this century, fossil fuels will be done," says Rand.

"They'll be outcompeted by technology-based energy systems. But we don't have 100 years. We maybe have 20," he says, before climate change causes massive and expensive damage.

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Source: CBC News - Technology & Science 

Government announces $2.65B to help developing countries fight climate change

Canada today promised $2.65 billion over the next five years to help developing countries fight climate change.

The funding was announced on Friday in Malta, where Commonwealth leaders are meeting.

"I'm here today not just to say Canada's back, but to show it," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the leaders before making the announcement.

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Source: CBC News - Politics 

Family Designs Glass Greenhouse To Wrap Around Home And Warm It Naturally

While Charles Sacilotto and Marie Granmar’s home, encased in glass, may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, their life is far simpler than it appears. In a video uploaded on Nov. 11, the couple gives a tour of their house-in-a-greenhouse, located on the Stockholm archipelago, that uses natural solar power to provide heat and save energy.

Rather than build from the ground up, Sacilotto and Granmar decided to purchase this small home and construct the greenhouse around it. The structure, built out of security glass 4 millimeters thick, is designed to withstand the elements, but will shatter into small harmless pieces if it does break. Fair Companies states that its warming effect produces a climate not unlike the Mediterranean, with Sacilotto adding, “At the end of January it can be -2°C outside and it can be 15 to 20°C upstairs."
Source: The San Francisco Globe 

Kathleen Wynne unveils new anti-sexual violence ad

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has unveiled the latest ad from the province's public education campaign about sexual harassment and violence.

The video debuted Thursday at the 2015 Summit on Sexual Violence and Harassment in Toronto, and is the second installment in the province's multimedia awareness campaign, a pillar of the Wynne government's goal of ending sexual harassment and violence in Ontario.

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Source: CBC Toronto

 

Carbon and Greenhouse Gas Legislation Across Canada

Unlike other countries, the majority of Canada’s climate change initiatives have been implemented at the provincial level. The federal government has suggested that, despite the global effects of climate change, a provincial approach to carbon management may be better suited to Canada’s diverse geographic, economic and political needs.

Although there are a variety of approaches to carbon management in Canada – from intensity-based emissions reductions legislation to absolute cap-and-trade based systems – the provinces continue to look for opportunities to work together to ensure a cohesive approach to carbon management for national and international corporations.

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Source: Osler

Clean Energy Canada predicts almost a million new jobs and GDP growth by 2050

A new economic analysis by Clean Energy Canada is predicting steady GDP Growth and 900,000 new jobs by 2050 as BC renews its commitment to climate leadership.

The report of the Simon Fraser University climate and energy think tank is based on new modelling results and technical analysis by the highly regarded Navius Research firm which has worked for governments and industries, as well as academic institutions.

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Source: Energentic City 

Scotland Approves World’s Largest Floating Wind Farm

The Scottish Government has approved the construction of the world’s largest floating wind farm, to be developed by oil and gas giant Statoil.

The project will consist of five 6 MW turbines installed at Buchan Deep, approximately 25 kilometers offshore from Peterhead. Upon completion, which is expected sometime late in 2017, the wind farm will generate the equivalent electricity necessary to power around 20,000 households.

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Source: Clean Technica 

Hydro One shares on sale in biggest TSX IPO since 2000

Ontario's Liberal government kicked off the biggest privatization of a Canadian Crown corporation in 20 years on Thursday, when shares in Hydro One started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The move comes despite widespread opposition, with the government's own polling suggesting most Ontarians are against the plan.

Hydro One controls Ontario's high-voltage transmission system and distributes electricity directly to 1.4 million homes and small businesses, about 25 per cent of the province's hydro customers, mainly in rural areas.

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Source: CBC News

How 24 Sussex Drive can become the greenest official residence it can be

The prime minister's official residence could be transformed into the "greenest official residence" in the world, the Sierra Club Canada's boss says. But an Ottawa energy strategist warns the reality of renovating such an old property may put the most ambitious environmental goals out of reach.

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Source: CBC News

Norway Plans To Construct A Fleet Of Plug-In Hybrid Ships

Norway depends on ships for much of its national and international commerce. It also has an extensive network of ferries that cross its many fjords, inlets, rivers and harbors. While we here at Gas 2.0 focus mostly on carbon emissions from land based vehicles, the truth is, ships spew enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during every voyage. Some estimates suggest one large container ship is responsible for as much atmospheric pollution as 50 million cars (mostly from sulfur dioxide emissions) each year it is in operation!

Now, according to The Maritime Executive, Norway is moving ahead with plans to construct a fleet of plug-in hybrid ships to service its marine industries. In a joint program with the Norwegian government, Oslo-based DNV GL recently launched the Green Coastal Shipping Program, which aims to create the most environmentally friendly vessels in the world. The ships will use LNG and batteries as energy sources.

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Source: Clean Technica 

Morocco poised to become a solar superpower with launch of desert mega-project

The Moroccan city of Ouarzazate is in the process of building a complex four linked solar mega-plants that, alongside hydro and wind, will help provide nearly half of Morocco’s electricity from renewables by 2020 with, it is hoped, some spare to export to Europe. The project is a key plank in Morocco’s ambitions to use its untapped deserts to become a global solar superpower.

When the full complex is complete, it will be the largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in the world , and the first phase, called Noor 1, will go live next month. 

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Source: The Guardian 

The Economics of Battery Energy Storage

2015 HAS BEEN THE 'YEAR OF THE BATTERY'

But in addition to declining costs, it's time to also focus on servcies and increasing value. 

Most batteries deliver a single, primary service. Yet customer-sited, multi-use batteries can deliver the most services and value to customers and the grid.

Find out how. Download The Economics of Battery Energy Storage.

Source: Rocky Mountain Institute 

Algonquin Power to build US$303M Michigan wind project

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. is expanding its portfolio of clean power projects south of the border.

The Oakville, Ont.-based company has agreed to develop a 150 megawatt construction-stage wind project in the U.S. as part of a joint venture with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.

The Deerfield wind power project is located in central Michigan and is expected to cost approximately US$303 million.

“We are pleased to partner with Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. on the Deerfield wind project. This project demonstrates our capacity to create long term shareholder value through investments in renewable energy generation projects”, the company’s CEO Ian Robertson, said.

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Source: Clean Tech Canada

Nation’s Largest Microgrid Online

Rocky Mountain Institute visited the University of California, San Diego to study and document the "microgrid" that controls and integrates electricity supply and demand on the campus. UCSD's microgrid is one of the best examples of an electricity network that provides local control yet is interconnected with the larger electricity grid.

At UCSD, the microgrid provides the ability to manage 42 megawatts of generating capacity, including a central cogeneration plant, an array of solar photovoltaic installations and a fuel cell that operates on natural gas reclaimed from a landfill site. The central microgrid control allows operators to manage the diverse portfolio of energy generation and storage resources on the campus to minimize costs. In addition, the campus can "island" from the larger grid to maintain power supply in an emergency, as in the case of the power blackout that struck parts of Southern California, Arizona and Mexico in September 2011.

The microgrid at UCSD provides a living laboratory to experiment with integration and management of local resources and to optimize the use of these resources in interaction with market signals from the larger grid. 

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Source: Rocky Mountain Institue 

Quebec unveils plan to expand electric-car network

With promises of a free pass on toll bridges and roads, unfettered access to reserved car lanes and more electric-car charging stations, Quebec is poised to roll out a new $420M electric-vehicle plan.

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Source: CBC News

Sweden Plans To Become World's First Fossil Fuel-Free Nation

Recently, there seems to be an uptick in small nations or islands setting their sights on becoming increasingly, or completely, powered by non-fossil fuel energy sources, particularly renewables such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power. 

Sweden announced that they will be spending an extra $546 million (£360 million) on renewable energy and climate change action, beginning with their budget for 2016. The ultimate aim is as ambitious as it is honorable: They hope to become one of the world’s first nations to end its dependence on fossil fuels. Solar energy, in particular, has seen its budget increase by 800%.

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Source: IFL Science 

Cape Sharp Tidal aims to install Bay of Fundy turbine by end of 2015

Nova Scotia is a step closer at another attempt at harnessing power from the highest tides in the world. 

At an open house in Halifax, Cape Sharp Tidal — a collaboration between OpenHydro and Emera — said it was putting the finishing touches on a 1,000-tonne turbine set to be installed in the Bay of Fundy by the end of 2015.

"At this stage, we are finalizing the manufacturing. We'll be assembling the turbine components in the next few days," said Jeremy Poste, the project leader of Cape Sharp Tidal.

"Definitely between November and December, by the end of this year, we will have a turbine under water, on seabed, generating electricity."

A second turbine is expected to be installed some time in early 2016.

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Source: CBC News | Nova Scotia 

Smart Energy Systems: 100% Renewable Energy at a National Level

Denmark has decided to become independent from fossil fuels. For the sake of the climate, the economy, and in order to ensure security of energy supply.

This film shows how this will happen based on research.

 

Source: EnergyPLAN

The Dutch Railway Could Run Solely on Wind Power By 2018

The Netherlands has an ambitious new energy goal: The country wants its entire electric rail system to run on 100% wind power within three years.

Railway Technology reports that Dutch energy company Eneco and the VIVENS rail companies signed a deal to make Dutch electric trains within Netherlands Railways run entirely on energy produced by wind farms. Wind farms already supply half of the 1,800-mile, 1.5kV DC network’s energy—a network that carries 1.2 million passengers a day.

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Source: Gizmodo

Nation’s Largest Microgrid Online

Many myths about renewable energy refuse to die. In a recent interview with Bloomberg News, Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research (a group backed by the fossil fuel industry), describes renewable energy as a pipe dream, saying that solar energy is “ineffective, expensive and unreliable.”

Naysayers are also quick to point out that the electricity grid is so complex that it cannot function without the base level of power that coal and nuclear power plants provide. However, microgrids like the one at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) that serve a specific geographic area and leverage customers’ ability to use power more intelligently, may be the ultimate solution that puts these myths to rest.

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Source: Rocky Mountain Institute