Energy event ignites hot topics

Driftwood contributor on March 26, 2014

During the recent Salt Spring Film Festival, students from the GISS Environment Club provided information about the Solar Scholarship Project and the Renewable Energy Conference set for April 5. From left: Indigo Porebska-Smith, Jenna Aston, Aina Yasue, Keenan Nowak and environment club teacher/mentor, Amy Cousins.
Ron Watts | Driftwood Gulf Islands Media

What can we do in our community in response to the increasing threats of climate change?Most islanders would agree that increasing our use of renewable energy is one of the best options.

On April 5, the first Salt Spring and Gulf Islands Renewable Energy Conference will explore energy efficiency and renewable energy issues and solutions through presentations and hands-on workshops.

Sponsored by Transition Salt Spring, and supported by grants from the Capital Regional District and BC Hydro, the conference will bring together local experts as well as presenters and resources from around the region. The conference will start at 8:30 a.m. for registration and coffee and end at 3:30 p.m.

The conference will feature a public launch of the innovative Gulf Islands Secondary School Solar Scholarship Project followed by a keynote address from Rob Abbott, director of the BC Climate Action Secretariat.

Following the keynote, there will be three workshop/presentation sessions where people can choose from 14 different topics such as solar hot water for the home, electric vehicles as experienced by owners, energy efficiency considerations for house-building, electric bicycles, solar panels for the home, monitoring electricity use for energy and money savings, climate change and community action and the future of electric vehicles.

There will even be a “build your own solar toy car” workshop for parents, grandparents, children and teachers.

Demonstrations of solar panels and solar hot water systems will be complemented by a “green power” display where participants will generate green bicycle power. The conference will have all its energy consumption offset with clean, carbon-neutral electricity from BullFrog Power. A tour of the new GISS greenhouse and considerations of permaculture and biodiesel are also on tap. Lunch ($10) will be available at the school cafeteria.

Conference tickets are $10 in advance at Salt Spring Books or $15 at the door. All students are admitted for free.

A limited number of conference spaces are available (150) so it is strongly recommended that people get their advance tickets soon. For more information visit or