Dark Hour for Castlegar as it relinquishes Earth Hour Cup

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
March 30th, 2011

 It’s a dark hour for Castlegar as the city is forced to relinquish its Earth Hour Cup, held for two consecutive years, to Keremeos.

  The tiny village, population 1,200, managed the highest per-capita pledges for Earth Hour, with over seven per cent of residents signing on, winning them a $5,000 energy upgrade that will go to their Legion. Castlegar ranked fifth, with just under three-per-cent participation.  Rossland took third, with just over six per cent of the population pledging–a mere smidgen behind shared second-place communities Kaslo and Crawford Bay. The bottom three communities were Creston, Kelowna, and Grand Forks, each with fewer than one per cent of the population pledging. For a full list of results, click here. Fortis reported that overall there was an 80 per cent increase in the number of pledges it its service area.   But pledges are not the only measure of success when it comes to Earth Hour, and they don’t fully reflect the number of people who participated in the hour. Quantitatively, energy savings are the most telling detail. Fortis reported that it its service area electricity consumption during Saturday night’s event dropped by one per cent, which works out to 3.58 megawatts. This is equivalent, according to the power company, of turning out about 60,000 incandescent light bulbs.   Provincially, British Columbia saved about 117 megawatt hours during Earth Hour and reduced its energy output by 1.8 per cent, which is double the 2010 number. Accordinng to BC Hydro, this year’s reduction equals turning 7.8 million 15-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs. The communities with the highest reductions were Pitt Meadows with six per cent and Tumbler Ridge with five per cent. Vancouver’s percentage was 1.5 and our capital’s percentage was .93.     Nationally, the numbers are all over the place. Toronto Hydro reported a 115 megawatt drop in power usage, which, according to their site, is enough energy to power 12 skyscrapers or 35,000 homes. New Brunswick Power says that energy consumption in the province dropped by 24 megawatts, or 480,000 lights, and Nova Scotia Power reported a reduction of 18 megawatts, or 1.4 million 13-watt compact fluorescent bulbs.  According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the organization behind international phenomenon Earth Hour, a billion people on this planet turned out their lights to celebrate the event’s third year and show support for action against global climate change.   – with files from The Rossland Telegraph

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