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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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Aspin Kemp takes lessons learned in marine technology to land - Hoping to cut its electric bill in half

Aspin Kemp & Associates is a systems integrator focusing on energy efficiency in diesel, island and micro grid power stations. They have made a name for itself globally by improving the energy efficiency of engines on large ships. They now want to take what they have learned about green energy on ships and applying it on land. Think they can do it?

Currently, they are working on testing a new micro-grid system at its facilities in Poole's Corner, P.E.I. So far there is 60 panels, but they are hoping for 610 panels by spring. It's estimated the solar energy could cut the company's electricity costs in half. 

"It's local power generation," said Mike Newman, marketing manager at Aspin Kemp & Associates, who calls the project a prototype. "It definitely will reduce our costs and in theory we could go completely off grid with this system and power the entire manufacturing facility through solar panels and energy storage."

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Source: CBC News | Prince Edward Island 

Are Damless Hydro Power Plants the Future of Electricity?

Currently fossil fuels are still in the lead. However, with that being said, crude oil deposits are estimating to be exhausted by the year 2052 based on the current consumption and expected population growth. So, what does that mean exactly? Well it means that the energy industry and global governments need to start investing in reliable renewable energy sources. 

The nice thing with renewable energy resources is that since it is mainly a natural process, it can be continuously replenished – we may never run out. The most common type of renewable energy used around the globe for electricity generation is hydroelectric power. Simply put, hydroelectric power plants use dams to store river water into a reservoir. Water is released systematically through an opening in the dam. As the water flows through it turns the turbine which, in turn, activates the generator.

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Source: AZO CleanTech

Matawa First Nations exploring green energy options with the help of FedNor

In Northwestern Ontario, the communities of the Matawa First Nations will be undergoing a renewable energy readiness assessment. The goal is the find green energy solutions for the nine communities.

They will receive $240,000 from FedNor to help with this assessment. FedNor is an extension of the Northern Ontario Development Program that invests in projects that support community economic development, business growth and competitiveness, and innovation

“This is a major capacity building initiative that will allow us to build strong, healthy First Nation communities as we develop energy independence,” said David Paul Achneepineskum, CEO of Matawa First Nations Management, in a news release.

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Source: Northern Ontario Business

SaskPower is in the works to try and develop a geothermal plant

SaskPower set out a goal to double their renewable electricity generation by the year 2030. They are hoping that DEEP Corp, a geothermal developer, will help them to reach that goal. Last spring, they signed a power purchase agreement with them. The plan is to be able to build a five-megawatt, zero emission power plant. Now, this geothermal plant will be a bit different since it will be using steam to drive a turbine and generate energy instead of water for heat. 

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Source: Global News

Brooks solar project is the largest in Western Canada

Southeast Alberta might just be the place to be in the upcoming years! The City of Brooks is the proposed site for a 30-hectare solar project.

The Brooks project, which launched last week, is the first utility scale solar facility in Western Canada, far surpassing any other solar project currently operating. This is the first of several renewable energy projects to be constructed in Alberta as the province shifts away from coal power plants.

The 50,000 solar panels will collect enough sunlight to power 3,000 homes. 

Source: CBC News Business

Entertaining guests for the holidays?

Here are some great tips that you can do over the holiadas to save on energy. So simple and so easy! 

General Motors is looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 77 per cent from their facility located in St. Catharines

In partnership with Alectra Utilities, Integrated Gas Recovery Services and the TargetGHG program, which is funded by the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science, the goal is to build a 6.4 megawatt co-generation plant. This type of project is the first of its kind for the automaker company and it is set to be up and running by mid-2019.

“Supporting the efforts of large industries in their quest to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is an important part of our government’s Climate Change Action Plan,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. “With the help of our province’s innovative cleantech companies, the TargetGHG program will help build a prosperous, low carbon economy and create a cleaner, more sustainable future for Ontario.”

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Source: Design Engineering 

Is it possible to reduce reliance on diesel generators from renewable energy?

Researchers from the University of Victoria think it is!

They are looking to reduce the use of diesel generators for power for a dozen or so remote towns in the province. The federal government has invested $1.4 million to establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery at the university. This will allow them to set up shop and collect the necessary data. The institute plans to gather data using marine buoys (pictured) along with some other technology. This will then help them establish what power they are able to generate from the ocean. They can then present it to the communities involved. 

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Source: CBC News - British Columbia 

NEW Tesla's Semi truck

Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's new Semi truck and (in a surprise) a second-generation Roadster. The truck is supposed to get 500 miles per charge, while the Roadster is said to achieve 620 miles. Watch the full event cut down to 9 minutes.

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Canada could be getting its first geothermal heating system

Epoch Energy, a Calgary based company, and the Edmonton are suggesting to re-open an abandoned gas well. For what purpose? To heat close by municipal buildings. There are 12 public buildings within the raidus of the gas well, including schools, governement offices, a hospital and the RCMP detachment. Should this be possible, they would cut its CO2 emissions by 3,795 tonnes a year.

Question we are all thinking, how much is this going to cost? The proposed project is an estimated $10.2 million, BUT within 16 years the project will be pay for itself as these buildings would be saving that much at the current rate of nautral gas.

"It would be a huge boon for the economy of this province," said Johnathon Banks, a University of Alberta geologist who's working on the project.

"It makes sense," said Hinton Mayor Rob Mackin. "We were built on resources and this is just an extension of that."

The Alberta Energy Regulator has some questions that they need answered, however if the answers are in favour, the possibilities are large. Alberta has thousands of oil and gas wells that offer possibilities.

If all goes according to plan, this pilot project could be up and running as early as 2019. In just under two years, Canada could be getting its first geothermal heating system. 

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Source: CTV News

Does making one small change in your energy use have an impact?

It sure does- just see how swapping out 1 LED can add up!

Edmonton is going electric!

Edmonton has a new plan for their transportation section – no more diesel! The city plans to stop buying diesel buses and only buy electric buses from here on in. Last winter, the city tested out these electric buses and they had very positive results.

These electric buses will be able to go for at least 500 km on a single charge. This transition will happen over time as the city just doesn’t not have the capacity to store and charge all of the electric buses. The Branch Manager of Edmonton Transit, Eddie Rober, says, “if we are able to construct Ferrier Garage quickly, it could be 2020”. That is only 3 years away! 

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Source: CBC News - Edmonton 

M&M has launched a new Fans of Wind campaign

The famous chocolate candy, M&M, has launched a new wind campaign. They recently announced a $1 BILLION sustainability drive, trying to do their part to fight (and bring awareness) to climate change. 

As part of the plan, Mars' M&Ms brand will "champion the power of renewable energy and highlight the need for action in addressing climate change."

Barry Parkin, Mars' chief sustainability officer, told Business Insider: "We're going to be using red and yellow. They're going to be enthusiastic advocates of wind power energy. Hopefully, it will continue to engage consumers in this important topic. We know consumers care about the planet and we're trying to do our part to help."

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Source: The Business Insider 

Recreation Centre in Banff to save $15k per year from solar power

The solar panels sitting atop the Banff recreation centre will provide 20 per cent of the facility's electricity needs. The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre located in Banff, is one of the city’s biggest consumers of electricity – but not any longer! Thanks to the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, the Alberta Municipal Solar Program, and the town's environmental reserve, as of July 25 the recreation centre was able to install 984 solar panels on their roof. This is excepted to save the facility approx. $15,000 per year on its energy bill. 

This is just the start for the town as solar-power systems were also put on the Banff Town Hall and two public washrooms. 

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Source: CBC News - Calgary 

Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation solar project inspires international community

Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation relies heavy on fossil fuels in order to provide their community with electricity. However, they are not thrilled about the fact that this contributes to climate change and air pollution. So what can they do to change this?

Well the community got together and decided to make a change. They partnered with Bullfrog Power, to help them financially, to install the community’s first solar power station which was launched in 2016. Because of the financial support from Bullfrog, the First Nation owns this solar power station and negotiated a power purchase agreement with Northwest Territories Power Corporation – which makes them an independent power produce. They are the first non-government entity to generate electricity and reap the economic benefits on behalf of the people who live in the community.

This made the First Nations want to do more, they wanted to show that suitability is possibly. They are inspiring the world’s Arctic communities to switch to renewable energy. 

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Source: Bullfrog Power

150 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint initiative

What it is: The 150 ways initiative is a participant oriented social media campaign in celebration of Canada’s 150th to raise awareness and inspire people to take just one step towards reducing their carbon footprint.

Why it’s important: The objective of this campaign is to have YOU, the people, share what you’re doing to reduce your carbon footprint and share your ideas to inspire others to act. When people see how easy it can be, and how non-daunting it is, this will hopefully inspire action. So, it is important that YOU participate and share.

How it works: Simple, grab your technology device and jump on your favourite social media platform and share with us via video (preferred), message or photo: Your idea for how you and other Canadians can reduce their carbon footprint and nominate any number of people to get them to share their idea.

You can share your idea in any, or all the following ways:

  • Web:
  • Facebook: #150ways
  • Twitter: #150ways
  • Instagram: #150ways

What are you waiting for? Submit your idea today!


Climate change is ‘great opportunity’ says Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is vocal about his cliamte change views, that is no secret. In a recent panel discussion the Founder and chair of the Virgin Group spoke about the threat of climate change and how he thinks it actualy offers 'one of the great opportunities for this world'. He continued to talk about how the business sector needs to step forward and 'fill certain gaps that some governments are leaving behind' in tackling this problem. 


Source: The Guardian 

What does it mean to be a 21st Century Union?

How did CUSW start? What was the motivation behind it all?

CUSW is a modern union, designed for modern times. One that incorporated the Knowledge Worker- someone who can see and understand the changes taking place in the world around us. 

The 21st Century is about embracing innovationand encouraging Member participation. CUSW was built around the participation model, which is a very different approach from most traditional unions.

The 21st Century Booklet was created to give Members a clear vision for what the future looks like, while also giving a bit of history of CUSW. 

By understanding how CUSW came to be can help with this transition and in turn create a better future for Members.

CUSW has a new President!

The National Board elections took place on Friday, June 30th. After 18 years as President, and one of the founding Members of CUSW, Joe Mulhall decided to retire.  His leadership and dedication to making CUSW a 21st Century union is why we are all here today. Thank you Joe, for your vision, guidance and commitment!

CUSW is excited to announce that Geoff Denstedt has been elected as the new President!

For a complete listing of the National Board election results, visit the Elections section on the Innovation Station. 

See how the Bull Creek Wind Facility was made!

The Bull Creek Wind Facility is located in the Municipal District of Provost, AB. This is Bull Creek’s first wind project to achieve operation in the province. The facility consists of 17 GE wind turbines that has a combined generating capacity of 29.2 megawatts.

Through an agreement with the Alberta Schools Commodities Purchasing Consortium, this facility powers several of AB rural school boards. The power generated from this facility is sold to several of Alberta’s rural school boards.

For more information on this project click here.

Watch this short video to see how the Bull Creek Wind Facility was made, its pretty cool!

Source: BluEarth Renewables Inc.