May 20th, 2023 by

Once again, we have been hit by a major storm that has left many Islanders without power. This was the strongest low-pressure storm ever to hit Canadian soil. If we take a look at which communities were able to restore their local grid in the quickest time, we will find that places like Summerside and Alberton, both of whom have their own community-based microgrids were in a better position to re-establish services quite quickly.

More and more we see local communities turning to smart grid solutions. In China this past Summer, they experienced record-breaking high temperature in 17 cities that caused great concern about “brownouts” and “blackouts” due to the overstrain on those respective electric grids. The severity of the strain caused some factories and businesses to shut down. This had severe consequences for workers’ incomes because of lost time at work. However, the bright side in several cities was the fact that the sheer number of electric vehicles and EV charging stations were able to temporarily suspend their charging, or in some cases “battery swap” locations that have a reservoir of electrical storage to divert this stored electricity back to the respective grids to boost the electrical supply during the peak hours of electrical consumption.

This same approach is also becoming more and more interesting to many communities in North America as well. In New Hampshire, the state-run Power Co-op has just initiated a program whereby EV owners with home chargers are eligible to sign up for a program where they charge their electric vehicles during the night when the demand for electricity is at its lowest and receive special low rates for electricity. Then the EVs that are plugged in during the peak times of energy consumption during the day, when electricity rates are at their highest, and the demands on the grid are the greatest, the grid can pull electricity from the EVs. This is fast becoming a great resource to help stabilize the grids while more and more clean energy solutions are being developed to create greater supply to the grids. This is forward sustainable thinking, which is relatively low cost and offers an incredible opportunity for local communities to also create new employment opportunities in installing new, small-scale energy production and storage. Of course, it also creates even more opportunities for local creative minds to develop new industries such as designing and building solar and wind electrical production at that same local level.

The future is here, and many Canadian companies are seeing this blossoming new potential in mineral development and battery technologies and a complete line of support industries. Look at the number of new companies looking at clean mining for lithium in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and New Brunswick. Not to mention the new contracts in Nova Scotia that recently signed major contracts with Germany to produce and store “Green Hydrogen” for Germany’s new hydrogen cell technology mass transit rail. We truly are at the ground level of an emerging technological boom time that promises incredible opportunities. In the past few months alone, literally billions of dollars are being invested around the world in these new emerging technologies. We need to get on board.

Holland College has an incredible wind technology program, and we have some of the best technicians in the world. These technicians even go to Europe, especially in Scotland and the North Sea. Yet we are not designing and building our wind turbines as of yet. We are fortunate in that we have the talented people that potentially could be doing exactly that. New green technology designed and built by Islanders. We have the talented people who could be designing and building solar panels, solar and wind-powered EV charging stations that would support our future needs and provide additional resources in “green energy” production that would benefit all Islanders.

We, here at Township Chevrolet, are doing our part by doing outreach to local island communities, talking to local governments, providing support and resource information to the local businesses of these communities as well to help facilitate the pending shift to electrified mobility. Doing our part to guarantee the future of children and grandchildren.

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