Nelson’s corporate energy co-ordinator Fiona Galbraith recently addressed city council about a feasibility study that found burning wood waste in our downtown core from local mill(s) at a cost somewhere between $2 million and $6 million would recover capital cost quicker than a proposed geothermal system that would collect energy from Kootenay Lake to heat and cool our regional pool and hockey rink.
The study is shortsighted. We do not need more huge truck traffic on our narrow wintery highways. Burning biomass and creating heat to produce electricity make sense at the mill where it is manufactured. They in turn use power at the mill and sell excess to power grid.
Originally when our pool and hockey rink was proposed and constructed, it was suggested by a local citizen that they bury geothermal piping to reduce energy costs to run these high energy community facilities.
They agreed at first but then at the last minute because of pressure it was withdrawn.
Within three or five years it was apparent our energy cost for these important public assets had to be brought under control. There appears to be a bit of panic now. Trucking wood chips is not wise. Too many moving parts. Highways kill people. Highway trucking is very hard on highways. Big trucks suck beau-coops of energy.
Dig up that huge parking lot; throw some geothermal piping in the ground or as suggested from the “corporate energy feasibility,” pipe energy from Kootenay Lake or both but please don’t crowd our mountain highways with more trucks.
Instead of a “steel clad industrial building” burning whatever on the lower vacant lot beside community centre, I would like to see an outdoor hockey rink with ice piping. In the summer it could be used for other sporting or community events.
I’d be happy to help with this important energy dilemma. We should be very careful when we pay big dollars for consultants. While it is important to provide ourselves with as much information as possible, the relationship between politicians and the consultants they hire with our tax money is getting too cosy.