A Message From Our Chairman, Al Humber
As the year concludes it provides a good opportunity for reflection not only upon what has been accomplished, but what the future holds and how to adapt to it. BCSEA’s original mandate was built around a discussion platform for the existence of climate change. Now, with those realities upon us the world has evolved and so must we.
It is important for any organization to periodically take a step back and self assess. In 2023, your Board undertook an initiative to develop a strategic plan which would define what we want to accomplish. We redefined our core mission and vision and outlined what we see as our strategic directives for the coming years. The mission statement of the BCSEA is now simply “To create a sustainable future”. This statement is necessarily broad in nature to allow us the flexibility to be involved in our collective sustainable future in many ways. We will have a very busy 2024 as many supporting initiatives get underway.
We will be continuing our popular Cool-it program in the elementary and high school system. This program continues to grow at an unprecedented rate as the appetite for education on sustainable energy topics continues to strengthen. Building on the success of that program we are developing a parallel program oriented more towards adults called “Community Cool-it”. We are hoping to pilot this program in several communities in 2024.
Our regulatory advocacy team has been busy this past year with their involvement in the BCUC hearing process. This past year BCSEA attended 7 days of oral hearings and participated in 8 stakeholder engagement sessions. They provided an additional 18 written arguments to BCUC as we continue to work with the BCUC and the Provincial utility companies within this regulatory framework. There were a further 20 articles published on the BCSEA website detailing the team’s efforts. Our participation in the BCUC process is an essential role that allows the BCSEA to provide input into the way utilities are provided to British Columbians and we look forward to continuing this role in the coming year.
Our public engagement platform was particularly robust his past year. Ten monthly newsletters were sent to over 3500 subscribers highlighting our continually expanding reach. Six webinars were held on a wide range of topics from solar panels to carbon offsetting. This year we reached a milestone of about 4000 Facebook followers, a number that we hope to continue to build upon this coming year. Finally, the Board, the Chapters, and volunteers of the BCSEA combined to participate in over 6 events this past year increasing our exposure and promoting pathways to a sustainable energy future.
BCSEA is excited to announce our involvement in the Accelerating Community Energy Transformations (ACET) program. This initiative being spearheaded by the University of Victoria has received major funding aimed at developing programs at the community level to identify challenges in the shift to sustainability and identifying achievable pathways to facilitate change. BCSEA’s involvement in this program enables our continued growth within the sustainable energy community.
Finally, your Board is currently in negotiations to create a new Prince George Chapter of the BCSEA. It is our hope that these discussions will be complete in early 2024 culminating with the creation of that chapter and a representative steering committee. Creation of this northern Chapter will give BCSEA a bigger voice in the north and allow our members and volunteers in the north more of a presence at the Provincial Board level. More to come on that initiative early in the new year.
At the AGM this year we were sad to mark the departure of several board members. Jonathan Ho (Chair), Lana Gonoratsky (Vice Chair), Louis-Benoît Desroches (Director), and Stephen Hargreaves (Director) have left the Board and we wish to thank them for their tireless efforts and for creating the strong foundation upon which will continue to grow.
At the same time, the Board wishes to welcome Neil Andrews, Brian Douglas, David Kassian, Jared Girman, and Tracy Tilscher as new Directors. We look forward to the energy and input these new faces will bring to our organization and are excited about what we can accomplish together.
2024 marks the 20th year of operation for the BCSEA. We will be planning events and celebrations to mark this historic year. Stay tuned for information on how to participate.
We have two webinars planned in the coming months. As a kick-off to our 20th year celebrations, on January 24th our BCUC regulatory team will be presenting “20 Years at the BC Utilities Commission”. Then, on February 12, 2024, we rescheduled the webinar ‘Tidal Energy in Rural and Remote Communities’ presented by Yourbrook Energy Systems. Registration information can be found in this newsletter.
After a tremendously successful 2023, your Board is looking forward to an exciting 2024 with many new and exciting challenges ahead of us.
Wishing everyone the best of the holiday season.
Chairman, Board of Directors
British Columbia Sustainable Energy Associatio6