LETTER: Stick with hydro power

Verne Bystrom responds to Michael Jessen...

RE: Conflicting Views on Nelson’s Solar Garden

Mr. Jessen’s mostly irrelevant facts do not discredit my premise that solar power is not only uneconomical in our geographic area, but also does nothing to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Large reservoir dams may produce some GHG’s , but since our dams were originally built mainly for flood control, we would be crazy not to take advantage of the low cost hydro power that they provide.

The cost for hydro power at our power plant is $.02/kWh and Fortis charges $.04/kWh, so we will be paying 2.5 to 5 times as much for solar power at $.09712/kWh. Also, the majority of solar power is produced when we do not need it, during high water from April to August, when we do not buy from Fortis and all of BC has an oversupply of power. During the winter, the 200 solar panels may produce enough power for 2 homes. We would need 100,000 panels at $90,000,000 to power just 1000 homes at 2.5 times the cost of Fortis hydro. How would that reduce our carbon footprint or reduce the $6 million/year we pay to Fortis? Just like you wouldn’t install wind turbines where there is no wind, don’t install solar where it produces negligible power when you need it most.

I would suggest to Mr. Jessen that the only thing innovative about the solar garden project is the deception that the solar panel investors are paying most of the costs. The investors are expected to receive most of their money back, while Nelson Hydro customers will be paying not only the $75,000 subsidy but also 2.5 to 5 times as much for all the solar power produced. Mr. Jessen wants more solar power. I say let him pay for it along with all the people who initiated this fiasco. I want to stick with hydro power.

I agree with Mr. Jessen that reducing power consumption should be our highest priority. How about replacing our old HPS streetlights with LEDs. Not as sexy as a solar garden, not innovative or market making, but a project that would actually reduce our carbon footprint.

Verne Bystrom

Nelson

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