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Posted: March 31, 2021

Renewable Energy Institute established

The Board of Directors of the Columbia Institute of Renewable Energy Society (CIRES) has announced the incorporation of a society under the authority of B.C.’s Societies Act.

CIRES’ goal is to research, promote, develop and facilitate the deployment of renewable energy systems in the Kootenay and Columbia regions of British Columbia.

In making the announcement, Eden Yesh of Invermere and the President of CIRES stated, “As governments – provincially, nationally and globally – move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, it is crucial that electrical production, heating systems, transportation, and commercial industry sectors cease burning fossil fuels. This will lead to large increases in demand for electricity and power sources that are produced by clean and renewable energy.

“Only about 30% of B.C.’s current energy consumption comes from renewable sources. The vast majority is derived from fossil fuels sources which emit large amounts of greenhouse gasses, increasing global warming and its dire effects on our planet,” Yesh continued.

“Fuel switching – reducing reliance on propane, natural gas, coal, diesel and petroleum – is a paradigm shift in the status quo and the institutions and systems in which have built our societies. We recognize this transition will be difficult. However, we have chosen to see the many opportunities for new industry development, job creation, workforce transition, and local energy resiliency. Hundreds of new jobs can be created right here in the Kootenay and Columbia region as we focus our efforts to support innovators, entrepreneurs and workers to build, operate and maintain local renewable energy industries.”

The purposes of CIRES are set out in its constitution filed under the Societies Act to:

  1. Research, promote, develop and facilitate the deployment of renewable energy systems which contribute to economic resilience, move us towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance ecosystems within the Kootenay and Columbia regions of British Columbia.
  2. Provide ‘State of Knowledge’ insights into a rapidly changing energy economy that is characterized by increasing complexity, a fast-growing demand for electricity, and a need for resilience and reliability by:
  • sourcing and consolidating scientific, technical, economic, and environmental data to advise on economic development opportunities; and
  • assisting public and private institutions, First Nations, and investors to develop and implement policies, programs, and projects.
  1. Prepare and present feasibility studies for selected renewable energy systems, including but not limited to: photovoltaic systems, wind, small scale hydro, geothermal, district heating, manufacturing, and green hydrogen.
  2. Create sustainable and equitable economic opportunities that attract and retain talent within the region.
  3. Promote proper stakeholder consultation, including impact and community benefit agreements, for any renewable energy projects proposed by CIRES.
  4. Coordinate or provide consultancy services to bring renewable energy ideas from concept to implementation.
  5. Produce and distribute a variety of educational materials that showcase how the renewable energy industry creates both economic opportunity and climate adaptation and mitigation.
  6. Act as a consultative body for regional clean technology innovators and entrepreneurs, offering support on networking, referral to existing service providers and programs, interface, peer-review assistance and other beneficial assistance.
  7. Establish a fund, derived from project revenues, to be used in the support of qualifying organizations committed to developing stable, sustainable approaches to the restoration of natural systems.

The founding members of the CIRES Board of Directors are: Allan Early of Crescent Valley; Corey Kanzig of Cranbrook; Gerry Nellestijn of Salmo; Tyler Rice of Nelson; Laura Sacks of Castlegar; Bruce Wilson of  Kimberley; Eden Yesh of Invermere.

Over the next month or so the board will be developing the strategic planning required to carry out their ambitious goals and will be making further announcements when appropriate. We are striving for a board and membership that represents the diversity of persons living within our region.

Columbia Institute of Renewable Energy

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