How green is your fuel? I have had a number of letters questioning the wisdom of using electricity. Some people don't seem to buy into how clean an electric car is for the environment. While they concede an electric car gives off no harmful emissions when driven, they point out that the electricity generated in British Columbia isn't all green.
They charge that some of the electricity generated comes from the use of coal and other fossil fuels - negating any green benefits of running on electricity.
They are correct, as seven per cent of B.C.'s electricity is generated by coal and other fossil fuels. But they fail to acknowledge that the majority - 93 per cent - comes to us from green, renewable sources, mostly from hydro. We are second only to Quebec in hydro generation.
Canadians shine on the world stage as well. We are the second-largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world, accounting for 58 per cent of all electric generation. Quebec is the national powerhouse, generating over 31 per cent of Canada's electric power and almost half of all hydroelectric power.
At the other end of the spectrum, oil-rich Alberta used 52 per cent of coal and 36 per cent of all the natural gas consumed in Canada for the production of that province's electricity.
Ontario burns less coal than Alberta, but is the leader in nuclear-power generation. Nuclear generation of electricity produces no conventional pollution, but not everybody is comfortable with the dangers surrounding nuclear plants.
The picture is a lot less green south of the border. Forty-five per cent of U.S. electricity comes from the burning of coal, 23 per cent from natural gas and over 20 per cent from nuclear sources. Less than seven per cent comes from hydroelectric generation.
In France, over 78 per cent of the country's electricity is generated by nuclear sources, with 11 per cent from hydro.
In the United Kingdom, natural gas is the major fuel used for electricity generation, at 40 per cent, coal follows with 33 per cent and nuclear at 19 per cent. Hydroelectricity accounts for a mere one per cent of the mix.
Given the worldwide perspective, the seven per cent of our electricity not produced via green and renewable resources seems trivial.
British Columbians are likely the envy of our neighbours who lack the natural resources that continually provide us with abundant, renewable and green energy. It powers our homes, businesses - and now our cars.
If I can borrow from the province's former slogan, B.C. is The Best Place on Earth for electric vehicles.
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