British Columbia’s Green Party is urging a halt to smart meter installation across the province because of health and environmental concerns. Party Leader Jane Sterk asserts that the meters will expose citizens to electromagnetic radiation, and says the World Health Organization has cited electromagnetic radiation as a possible carcinogen.
BC Hydro has selected Bit Stew Systems and Clevest Solutions to assist with its deployment of smart meters to nearly two million customers throughout British Columbia. Both companies will provide software solutions and communications infrastructure.
In the middle of June, Chris Anderson, the Gulf Islanders for Safe Technology chairman, led a delegation to the Islands Trust Council’s quarterly meeting on Denman Island. Anderson’s group has highlighted concerns with the planned smart meters deployment throughout British Columbia across the province, including potential health risks posed by electromagnetic radiation, privacy issues, the risk of information hacking, and increased costs.
For all the well publicized sturm und drang in various municipalities by anti-smart meter advocates, the global smart meter industry continues to gain momentum. Meter manufacturers shipped nearly five million meters in the first quarter of 2011, a year-to-year increase of 22.7 percent. The numbers mark the second highest quarter of shipments to date, just behind the record 5.1 million meters shipped in the second quarter of 2010.
Telvent’s was singled out by Gartner in a recent report, MarketScope for Advanced Distribution Management Systems, which examined the capabilities of global smart grid solutions providers that offer advanced distribution management (ADMS) smart grid solutions.
BC Hydro has confirmed it will deploy approximately two million new Itron metering systems to over the next two years as part of its Smart Metering Program. It is estimated the meters will save about $70 million in the first three years of implementation and a net benefit to customers of over $500 million in the long term.
The state-of-the-art Hydrogen Assisted Renewable Power (HARP) energy storage project in British Columbia is now operational and supplying power to the remote community of Bella Coola. The HARP system is expected to reduce Bella Coola’s annual diesel consumption by 200,000 litres, which will lower greenhouse gas emissions by 600 tons annually. The project, a partnership between BC Hydro, GE, and Powertech, is supported by British Columbia and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).
British Columbia is embracing clean energy technologies. Stockwell Day, president of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway announced that Power Measurement Ltd. will receive up to $3 million through the Canadian government’s Clean Energy Fund for a project to demonstrate the ability of a smart grid electricity system to optimize energy resources, including renewables, in an institutional building complex at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). It is possible the smart grid technology could allow buildings to reduce their electricity consumption by 10–25 percent.