Bullfrog Power brings renewable energy to BC.

Bullfrog Power in British ColumbiaWhen I lived in LA, the utility company there had an option where I could pay a slight amount more for my power and as a result all my power would come from renewable sources. I jumped on board. It is important to me that I pay a little more to help fund initiatives providing green power to our grid.

When I moved to BC, I found no such option available to me. I wasn’t too worried, as so much of the power we generate comes from hydroelectric and is renewable. But we sell a lot of our clean energy at peak hours to the US and buy back their mostly coal fired electricity at night when the cost per kilowatt hour is a lot less.

So recently my friend Peter ter Weeme sent me a sign up for Bullfrog Power, an Eastern Canadian renewable energy company that was moving into BC. Basically, you tell them how much you use in residential energy usage, and pay 2 cents per kilowatt hour and they will ensure that that amount of green energy is added to the BC grid, basically offsetting your usage.

You can see more info here on Bullfrog Power in BC. I think this is a very smart initiative, as it gets some competition around cleaner energy solutions in BC, and will speed up BC Hydro’s good efforts in this space.

One other thing for the bankers in the room. TD Canada Trust, one of Canada’s biggest banks, ran a campaign saying their Green Machine network, which is what they’ve always called their ATMs, is now run on Bullfrog green energy, reinforcing their position in the environment, and putting a nice spin on the branding. Read more about TD’s effort here.

Climate Friendly Banking shows how your money can make an impact.

Climate Friendly BankingOne of the advantages of getting Google Alerts for your company is that you find nuggets like this.

The Rainforest Action Network has investigated the contribution that Canada’s big FIs make to climate change. Their site, Climate Friendly Banking, goes beyond the actual greenhouse gas emissions from the FIs’ operations to quantifying the lending and financing they provide to the fossil fuel industry, which in Alberta is particularly polluting.

The enormous financial commitments made by Canada’s five biggest banks – RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, CIBC and BMO – to fossil fuel production, namely oil and coal operations, inextricably links them to the fueling of global climate change. Banks are the lifeblood of the fossil fuel industry…

“Financing Global Warming: Canadian Banks and Fossil Fuels” is the first report to analyze and quantify the greenhouse gas emissions of seven leading Canadian banks – the aforementioned banks as well as Desjardins and Vancity – based on their financing of fossil fuels…

Canada’s top banks provided more than $155 billion in total corporate financing for fossil fuel extraction in Canada and internationally in 2007.

It’s a very intriguing way to look at this issue. I’ve said repeatedly that one of the main reasons I love working at Vancity is when you get to how financing affects the community, you get to the root cause of a lot of issues and can be an instrumental force for progress. Here’s one conclusion they draw.

Moving $10,000 from Scotiabank, the highest-carbon footprint bank, to Vancity, the low-carbon bank leader, avoids an amount of financed CO2 (1,430 kg CO2) comparable to:

  • not driving a small car for five months;
  • replacing an average car with one that gets 33 percent better gas mileage;
  • eliminating seven two-hour airplane flights per year.

That’s powerful stuff. They have a calculator to figure out how your deposits at a Canadian FI affect climate change. I truly believe that more and more consumers (though by no means most) will include factors like this into their consumer decision-making.

The site has several versions of the report, from a one pager to the full 294 page report. Well worth checking out.

I was particularly proud of this sentence:

…Vancity stands out as the only Canadian bank profiled in this study that provided no corporate loans or direct investments to fossil fuel producers.

Now that’s a company I want to work for.

Thanks to Dan Dickinson for sending this my way.