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Thursday February 1, 2007

The Endless Energy Report

British Columbia could be energy self-sufficient by 2025 from renewable sources alone. Over that same period, greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced to well below year 2000 levels. These are the conclusions of a new report from the GLOBE Foundation which examines the feasibility of moving BC towards a sustainable energy future.

"An Endless Energy economy in action would be an impressive feat, and one that is entirely achievable. Through the practical application of developing technologies and the capabilities of Canadians, Endless Energy can become a reality in British Columbia."

-- Dr. John Wiebe, President and CEO, the GLOBE Foundation

"The Endless Energy Project" confirms that the province's renewable energy potential is such that it could be 100 percent energy self-sufficient within 20 years without undue social or economic hardship. Not only would this provide long-term, secure and stable energy supply for the provincial economy, it would provide some insulation from world energy shocks.

The report found a sustainable energy economy in British Columbia in 2025 could be powered by renewable electricity generation and by biomass energy -- a 'bio-electric' economy.

Large scale utilization of natural renewable energy resources would increase substantially. Hydroelectricity would remain the backbone of BC's electricity supply. Wind, solar, geothermal and ocean energy sources can all be deployed on various scales in British Columbia.

The Endless Energy Model views the built environment (buildings and municipal infrastructure) as the primary interface between energy supply systems on the one hand, and all the ways we use energy (the demand side) on the other.

Thus, very small scale renewable energy installations for individual buildings would provide up to 14 percent of the total energy needs of homes and businesses in BC, primarily in new construction. Technologies such as solar water heating, geo-exchange systems, and solar photovoltaic systems could offer cost effective and reliable energy. The use of district energy, in which a group of buildings or a small community draws electricity and heat from a central source, also has strong potential in both urban and rural BC.

The Endless Energy project has evaluated the rising price of conventional energy, energy security concerns, the threat of climate change and many other trends and combined them to show that moving from 40 percent renewable supply in year 2000 to 100 percent renewable supply in 2025 is not only possible, but entirely reasonable and desirable.

Importantly, the scenario described implies little disruption in way people live and the way businesses operate. However, it does imply a major expansion in economic growth as a result of: increased energy and technology exports, major investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and replacement of petroleum imports with indigenous bio-fuels and electricity.

If British Columbia was successful in achieving energy self-sufficiency, the world would take notice. As 80 percent of greenhouse emissions result from fossil fuels consumption, the effect on greenhouse gas emissions would be dramatic, and the public health and economic benefits would be widespread.

"An Endless Energy economy in action would be an impressive feat, and one that is entirely achievable," notes Dr. John Wiebe, President and CEO of the GLOBE Foundation. "Through the practical application of developing technologies and the capabilities of Canadians, Endless Energy can become a reality in British Columbia."