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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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The Arctic is melting!

This has been a particularly hot year for the Arctic, with parts registering 20 degrees above normal -  ten times more ice is melting annually due to warmer temperatures. At this rate, forecasters say the Arctic could be ice-free by 2030.

An iceless Arctic could have a catastrophic impact on the world's climate — which has some climate scientists proposing radical ideas.

One promising suggestion is to refreeze the arctic ice.

Steve Desch is a professor of astrophysics at Arizona State University, and he's part of the team proposing the massive geoengineering project.

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Source: CBC News

Kia NEW Echo Friendly Car

Here is Kia's latest commerical, which will air during the Superbowl this coming weekend. It stars Melissa McCarthy as she sets off on a mission to save the planet. 

It is to promote their new eco friendly car, the 2017 Kia Niro


Canadians will now have the option of a green burial

Have you ever thought about what you would want when the time comes for you to pass? Well it is now an option for Canadians to be cremated and the remains will then be turned into a living ocean reef.

So the idea is that the cremated remains are placed into a mold, made into an artificial reef and then placed in the ocean. It will then create an artificial habitat for marine life. 

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Source: CBC News Toronto

Is Canada well on its way to a renewable-energy future?

We are seeing lots of countries making plans and setting goals to help kick its carbon habit, which can be considered the simplest way to combat climate change.

Last year, renewable energy surpassed coal as the largest source of installed power capacity in the world. Germany has proposed that all gasoline-powered cars will be banned by 2030. Vancouver has stated that they want to outlaw natural gas in new buildings for 2030 as well.

So where does this leave Canada? Have we maxed out prime real estate for hydro, solar, and wind energy? Most of our territory is not connected to electrical grids nor are they located near population centres. There seems to be two options: future renewable-power installations get cheaper, because we have learned from past practices and technology or it could get more expensive since the best possible spots for steady windy, reliable solar and proximity to existing power distribution and population centres are already taken.

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Source: The Globe and Mail

A 19-year-old Canadian inventor has been honoured in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list

Ann Makosinski, a second-year student at the University of British Columbia, invented The Hollow Flashlight as well as the e-Drink. This has gotten her recognized as she appeared on The Tonight Show Staring Jimmy Fallon and more recently it was announced that she made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. 

Makosinski Hallow Flashlight converts body heat into electricity to power an LED lightbulb. She later developed the e-Drink, a mug that uses thermoelectric generators to harness excess heat from coffee to power a phone or music device. 

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Source: CTV News

A partnership has developed between Purdue University and Whirlpool Corp

Researchers at Purdue University are working to make homes more energy efficient. Their goal is to transform an existing home located near their campus, into a green building research laboratory and sustainable living “showcase.”

They have actually partnered up with Whirlpool Corp to develop next-generation appliances that will be more efficient, improve performance and mitigate their impact on the environment.

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Source: Triple Pundit - people, planet, profit 

Season’s Greetings from the Officers and Staff at CUSW

This is the time of year when the true spirit of our Members can come to life.  Inside of each and every one of us is a desire for security, hope and the opportunity to live in peace, both in place and in mind. It is in this spirit that we come together through CUSW to build and share a community that is vibrant and caring and where our values define who we are and our actions bring our dreams to life.   


CUSW comes to life through the participation of our members. It is in this spirit that we have drafted our Constitution.  In addition to the contributions each and every one of us makes on a daily basis we also have elected members who fulfill the formal positions required in an organization that has legal as well as social responsibilities.  Starting in January 2017, members are invited to come forward to take on these roles. The details of each of these roles will be available through Alliance Learning on the CUSW website throughout the year. Take the time to review the videos and other information even if it is only to better understand the great work that the members who do step up, are contributing to realizing our dreams.


All across the country we are beginning to see a growth in interest and in opportunities for CUSW.  With this growth come new members and an increased involvement by existing members in welcoming and supporting those who have come to join us. Through the Leadership Academy and Alliance Learning we are now able to share our structure and values on-line while delivering valuable information about the world around us. Through initiatives such as Take the LEAD and Introduction to Negotiations we are able to provide new members with the tools to enable them to participate and contribute to our goals as soon as they join us.    


It is a tradition that at this time of year we welcome all new members who have joined with us in building CUSW.  This year we have the pleasure to offer a Special Welcome to those who have joined us as non-bargaining-unit members.  These folks have joined us, not to improve their wages and benefits, but to be part of building the kind of future that all of us can believe in.  This is a whole new part of CUSW and we look forward to the contribution that these folks will make to the development of our Union. 


The last Convention approved a new role for the Units that is focused on building CUSW outside of the workplace. Throughout 2017 the Units will be hosting activities and social events that provide the opportunity for Members and their families to come together.  Check out the Unit websites for more details.


Every year at this time we ask you to reach out to someone who is retired or off work due to illness or injury. We also remind you that this outreach of support is not limited to Special occasions.  The formal supports that we provide through our Member Assistance Program are only a part of the solution for those in need. As members we are also friends and as friends we can provide the heart and emotional supports that make all the difference to someone who is lonely or on the road to recovery.  By helping others we also help ourselves. 


On behalf of all those who help CUSW to work for all of us – HAPPY HOLIDAYS

Borealis plan... to build a geothermal industrial park

The Borealis GeoPower company believes that their project which is investing in geothermal energy, will kick start the industry in Canada. 

Their plan is to build a geothermal industrial park that will supply Valemount, B.C. with carbon-free heat – substituting for propane gas and diesel. This project consists of 3 phases: Griffin GeoHeat Park – Hot Pools, Greenhouse & CO2e Credits, Cedarside GeoPark, and Canoe Reach GeoPower.

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Source: Think GeoEnergy

Canada to help southern New England get more clean electricity

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted a critical federal permit to run a new hydro-power transmission line from Canada through Vermont to southern New England. 

The New England Clean Power Link project will run for more than 97 miles along the bottom of Lake Champlain and another 55.7 miles along town roads and state highways on land. It is estimated to cost $1.2 billion and is expected to have a capacity to transmit up to 1,000 megawatts of power. 

Construction is expected to begin next year and developers plan to have the transmission line fully operating by 2019.

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Source: Hartford Courant 

Photo credit: WAMC Northeast Public Radio

UK Wind Energy Sets New Generation Record!

The UK is leading the wind energy nation and they have just reached yet another milestone. They recently generated more than 10,000 megawatts for the first time from its fleet of onshore and offshore wind turbines. This provided 23% of their total electricity demand at the time.

 “It’s terrific to see wind power smashing another record,” said RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck. “It shows that wind is playing an increasingly central role as a reliable part of our new modern energy system. As we install more wind power, more records will tumble. This is a Christmas clean energy bonus — not just for the renewable energy sector, but for all of us.”

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Source: Clean Technica

Tidal turbine in Bay of Fundy generating electricity

A while back we talked about a tidal turbine that is being built in Nova Scotia, Bay of Fundy, well it was recently just lowered onto the floor of the Minas Passage last month. As soon as it was connected it started to produce electricity, how amazing is that!

The turbine will generate enough electricity to power 500 homes. The deployment is part of a large-scale demonstration project to test the technology in the powerful tides of the Bay of Fundy over the next several years.


West Bay 4 | Cape Sharp Tidal from Cape Sharp Tidal on Vimeo.

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Source: CBC News Nova Scotia

Ottawa to expand electric vehicle charging stations

This coming March 2017, Ottawa will be adding 19 new electric vehicle charging stations at 10 different locations throughout the city.

The governement is investing $20 million to "create an unprecedented network of public, electric vehicle stations in cities, along highways, at workplaces and at other public places in Ontario," according to several MPPs. The province is working with 24 public and private sector partners to build the stations. 

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Source: CBC News Ottawa

Alberta to repalce coal-fired power generation with power generated at SAGD sites

Alberta is currently looking to increase the overall efficiency to 70 percent or more using steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology in replace of coal-fired power generation. The plan is to replace most of the 33 percent efficient coal-fired generation with 50 percent efficient natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) generation.

Even though this is an improvement, the power generation will still be throwing away 50 percent of the fuel energy as waste heat. 

That means by the year 2030 the amount of heat that will be discarded from NGCC power generation will be enough to heat ALL residential buildings in the province of Alberta that year. 

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Source: Calgary Herald 


Alberta's climate plan - add 5,000 megawatts of capacity to the province's grid

Earlier this month at the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) annual conference held in Calgary, Environment Minister Shannon Philips unveiled a piece of Alberta's climate plan. A renewable energy program generating wind, hydro and solar power will add 5,000 megawatts of capacity to the province's grid. 

"There will be a competitive process among wind energy companies to bid on a contract for renewable power in the province," Phillips told the Calgary Eyeopener.

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Source: CBC News Calgary 

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline has been Approved

Prime Minister Trudeau has announced the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. In a statement made on Tuesday, Trudeau says that this project is an "integral part of our plan to uphold the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions while creating jobs and protecting the environment". 

The plan is for this pipeline to increase the number of barrels of oil per day from 300,000 to 890,000. 

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Source: Desmog Canada

Canada to invest in developing nations

The Canadian Government has committed to helping developing countries by investing $1.8 billion to help make the transition to cleaner, more sustainable economies. 

This funding is part of Canada’s pledge to help countries and communities around the world to reduce pollution and equip them to resist the effects of climate change.

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Source: Energy Business Review

Do you think it's possible to turn trash into cash?

The Skeetchestn Indian Band does! 

Along with the support from British Columbia's First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, they will be exploring this idea of turning compost into income. To help with this, they will receive $30,000 to develop a community energy plan that will raise awareness about energy consumption in the community and study a range of opportunities toward energy efficiency and independence.

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Source: Castanet 

Big news, Tesla and SolarCity Merge

Recently released news that Tesla Motors Inc and SolarCity Corp have combined forced. The goal of this merge is to create an integrated clean-energy company. Some aren't too sure of the reasoning behind the merge, with critics stating that Tesla is bailing SolarCity out as they are in a financial rut currently, with others looking at this a good move for Tesla, taking the next step in expending clean-energy offerings. 

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Source: Fox Business 

Looking for ways to improve your creativity?

E-Learning Infographics has come up with 9 simple ways that you can improve your creativity. These helpful tips will help you to improve your creativity at work and in life! These simple tips will not only help you to retrain the mind towards the habit of creative thinking but also stimulate your environment to create the space for more creative output.

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Source: E-Learning Inforgraphics

Manitoba company green-lit for green technology innovations

 A Manitoba company could lead the way making flax and hemp fibres a crucial part of a green future.

Composites Innovation Centre Manitoba (CIC) received a funding boost on Monday from the federal government to bring natural fibres into the composites industry and forge standards for Canadian biomass.

It means that properties from crops, like flax and hemp, could end up in vehicles, farm equipment, bus doors and even in the mining industry.

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Source: CBC News - Manitoba