(Black Press file photo)

(Black Press file photo)

COLUMN: Summerland’s solar project meets council priorities

Project an investment in electric utility infrastructure

Summerland is one of only five municipalities in the entire province that owns their electric utility.

Penticton, Nelson, New Westminster and Grand Forks also benefit from public-owned electric utilities.

The district buys electricity from FortisBC then, using public infrastructure, distributes the power to Summerland ratepayers.

Early in the first year of this term, council adopted their strategic priorities for 2019-2022.

READ ALSO: Summerland council reaffirms solar project in 4-3 vote

READ ALSO: Summerland approves solar project

The six key themes of this plan are downtown vibrancy, infrastructure investment, good governance, active lifestyles, alternative energy and community resiliency. Most of council’s priorities fall within more than one of these themes.

The integrated solar + battery storage project falls primarily under both alternative energy and infrastructure investment. It is an alternative energy project in that it will produce electricity, that is, the district will not be purchasing it from Fortis.

The project is also an investment in the electric utility infrastructure and will not only increase the district-owned assets, but provide revenue.

Examples of other strategic projects and initiatives falling under the alternative energy theme include the ongoing implementation of the Community Climate Action Plan, the Corporate Climate Action Plan (first draft presented Feb. 22) and the Community Energy Strategy.

Council has also approved an updated distributed generation (net metering) program that allows Summerland electric utility resident customers to generate their own electricity through a renewable energy source. Participants are able to completely offset their annual electric consumption; the district purchases, at the wholesale rate, any excess energy which is put back onto the grid.

A second example of infrastructure investment related to the electric utility is the voltage conversion project – an initiative to address future and growing electric load requirements and improve the reliability of Summerland’s public-owned electrical distribution system (this project is subject to the district’s successful receipt of grant funding).

The first draft of the Community Energy Strategy — a comprehensive report including recommendations on how to get the most out of the district’s electric utility – will be before council by early spring.

The integrated solar + battery storage has been a matter of some discussion over the past year and there has been considerable civic engagement on both sides of the matter, both for and against, on topics from the cost to the need to the location to the risks and benefits.

However, at the Feb. 22 meeting, Coun. Erin Carlson brought forward a notice of motion asking “that council reaffirms the commitment to complete the integrated solar + battery storage project in its chosen location.”

After a lively discussion, the vote of council remained the same: a majority 4-3 decision. This vote provides assurance to district staff to continue with the process that is now in the site preparation, design and procurement stage.

* * *

Congratulations to Kristi Leardo on her new-ish (July 2020) venture: Bees Knees Yarn Shop on Main Street. Leardo was featured in a national newspaper article about entrepreneurs who have opened during the pandemic. Well done, Kristi!

Summerland was recently named one of “12 great places in B.C. for working remotely” in a magazine focused on stories about smaller communities, homes and living.

Toni Boot is the mayor of Summerland.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

solar panels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A Keremeos family lost their home after a fire shortly before midnight on April 13. No injuries were reported. (Contributed)
Keremeos home destroyed in late-night fire

The family inside was unharmed

An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

Bad Tattoo owner Lee Auger and head brewmaster Liam Hutcheson welcomed Firehall Brewery owner Syd Ruhland into their brew-room to make a massive batch of his hit Backdraft Blonde Ale Tuesday, April 2021. (Firehall Brewery / Facebook)
Drinking buddies: Penticton brewery steps up to help out smaller competitor

Firehall Brewery of Oliver needed larger equipment to meet demand; Bad Tattoo was happy to help

Campfires are allowed within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, but open burning season comes to an end April 15 at midnight. (Black Press file photo)
Open burning season ends in Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Campfires are permitted, following provincial guidelines

Send your letter to the editor via email to news@summerlandreview.com. Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.
LETTER: Name is spelled incorrectly

For 100 years, the Garnett name has been spelled incorrectly as Garnet

Arlene Howe holds up a picture of her son, Steven, at a memorial event for drug overdose victims and their families at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach Park on April 14. Steven died of an overdose at the age of 32 on Jan. 31, 2015. (Aaron Hemens - Kelowna Capital News)
Moms Stop the Harm members placed crosses Wednesday morning, April 14, on Rotary Beach in memory of children lost to drug overdoses. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Kelowna mothers remember children lost to the opioid crisis

It has been five years since illicit drug deaths was announced a public health emergency

The yearling appeared to have suffered a broken back. ( Photo contributed by photographer Jill Hayward)
Police forced to euthanize deer attacked by dog

Animal’s owner receives $345 ticket

Vancouver police say eight people were arrested Wednesday after anti-pipeline protesters blocked off both the entrances and exits to two buildings in the downtown core. (Instagram/Qtcatspictureclub)
8 people arrested after anti-pipeline protestors chain themselves to Vancouver buildings

Cst. Tania Visintin said demonstrators caused ‘a serious safety hazard’ downtown for hours Wednesday

Weekly COVID-19 cases in the North Okanagan-Shuswap saw increases for the Vernon and Salmon Arm health areas during the week of April 4 to 10. (BC Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases rise in North Okanagan-Shuswap with Vernon leading increase

Revelstoke alone in high category by population although case number dropped slightly

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Shed fire spreads to Kelowna residence

The fire extended into the attic of a residence

A Kelowna yoga studio has received negative messages after being mistaken for a martial arts gym that was turning away vaccinated patrons. (Metro Creative Stock)
Kelowna MMA gym’s anti-vaccine policy prompts misguided nasty phone calls to yoga studio

Move & Flow yoga and dance studio is being confused with Flow Academy, an MMA gym that has barred vaccinated patrons

(Black Press Media File)
Kelowna-based cannabis company expands into Manitoba

Valens now distributes its products in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan as well

Jamie Coutts recorded a man following her around downtown Vancouver for a half-hour on Wednesday, March 18. (Instagram screenshot/Iammjammbamm)
Man charged in alleged high-profile Vancouver stalking case that went viral online

Man faces five other charges including criminal harassment and assault with a weapon

Most Read