One of the great mysteries of contemporary capitalism is the fact that as a system it appears absolutely incapable of responding to the crisis of climate change. Why can't a system that made the automobile into an accessible mass consumer good provide us with clean and efficient mass transit, or at the very least electric cars? On this matter, the forces of the market are curiously silent.
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On an average day, about 160-billion tonnes of seawater flows into the Bay of Fundy. This is where an ocean research centre decided to put their tidal energy test site. According to recent models, there is roughly 7,000 megawatts of potentially extractable tidal energy in the Minas Basin. Of that number, researchers say about 2,500 megawatts can be tapped safely. That's more than enough electricity for all of Nova Scotia.
If Alberta devotes even a portion of the brains, money and time it devoted to turning the oilsands into a useable resource to doing the same with solar, we might be onto something. Alberta has certainly taken a lot of black eyes for the way it develops its non-renewable resources, developing it's other greatest natural resource might be a way to address them.
The slow sway of the oilfield pumpjack, or nodding donkey as some call it, is one of the most familiar sights in Alberta. Drive around long enough and they become just another part of the landscape. But a small, innovative company based in Edmonton, Alberta named Canadian Control Works is re-imagining pumpjacks as green micro-generators. A pumpjack is like an iceberg. The vast majority of it is hidden, mysterious and out of sight. Underneath the pumpjack there are two to three kilometers of rod string which can weigh between five and 10 tons. Moving that weight requires a lot of electricity. Canadian Control Works is the group behind the Enersaver, a device which generates electricity from otherwise wasted kinetic energy created by the downswing of a pumpjack.
It might actually be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than to find investments that not only produce a healthy return but also contribute to a better society. Enter Solar Bonds from SolarShare in Ontario. The investment side is solid. A $1,000 bond has a return of five per cent for five years. The kicker? That money is invested in getting solar energy projects up and running in Ontario.