LETTER: Solar garden is a step in the right direction

From reader Sjeng Derkx…

Re: “The mayor’s church” (Letters, July 5)

In his letter, Norm Yanke describes investing in Nelson’s solar garden as “donating to a philosophy.” He tells us that the financial and engineering projections are too optimistic, and that anyway, “nothing is cleaner or greener than our water power.”

Mr. Yanke may be partially right, but as investors in the project, my wife and I fully understood that this was a learning experience for Nelson Hydro. Nelson’s water power is indeed clean and green, but a low fossil fuel future is an electric future, and in a changing climate, we will need more and more varied generating capacity everywhere.

We cannot count on a great snow pack to swell our rivers every year, and the glaciers we have counted on are melting. Venezuela depends on hydro power for 70 per cent of their electricity. Recently they were hit with a multi-year drought which led to a state of emergency, with massive blackouts, riots in the street, and economic standstill. If you believe this could not happen here, think again, because in B.C. a whopping 95 per cent of our electricity comes from hydro.

Nelson’s solar garden project is just a small step, but it is in the right direction, and it has already started to spread and spawn more. Even if Mr. Yanke is right that our investment will not yield a profit, it does support the philosophy of achieving energy security through decentralization and diversification. Congratulations to Nelson Hydro for their long-term vision.

Sjeng Derkx