Earth Hour, the celebration of energy conservation, held Saturday evening across Canada and the world, had a noticeable impact on energy consumption, in cities across Canada.
Cities across Canada made commitments to participate and the commitments had real value.
British Columbians reduced electricity consumption Saturday enough to reduce the province's electrical load by 1.04 per cent during Earth Hour and B.C. Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer was effusive, "Earth day is fun and interesting. It gets people talking about conservation. It's a big win for us, seeing what people can do." The small town of Burn's Lake with a population of 2,100 led all B.C. communities with a seven-per-cent drop.
The city of Hamilton, Ontario in central Canada may be able to lay claim to the largest increase over last year. Hamiltonians reduced energy consumption by more than three times what they did last year during Earth Hour. "Horizon Utilities said the city decreased demand 19.1 megawatts from the previous hour on Saturday. That represented a 3.5 per cent drop in demand -- a jump of more than three times the 1.1. per cent the city dropped last year," The Hamilton Spectatorreports this morning.
Also in Ontario, Terry Young, with the Independent Electricity System Operator in Ontario, lauded the citizen commitment and highlighted Earth Hour's importance in symbolic and real terms:
[It] isn't something that obviously we're looking to see make a major impact in terms of electricity demand. What it is, is more of an awareness....People were turning off their lights and stopped using as much electricity, and we could notice that. Any time we can notice something like that on a provincial scale then it does have some sort of an impact.
In Montreal, the light on Mount Royal was extinguished, and Hydro Quebec set an example as the iconic 'Q' on the Hydro Quebec tower went dark. Also in Quebec, blogger 'Midnight Poutine' noted the symbolic and motivational importance of Earth Hour:
It's events like Earth Hour that act as a collective demonstration of this concern. By turning off a light or shutting down your computer, you're saying, 'Yeah, this is whack. I want my grandkids to be able to go on a hike or catch a less-than-three-eyed fish on a summer camping trip.'
In the Maritime provinces, Nova Scotians also responded. Nova Scotia Power’s energy control centre reported an 18-megawatt reduction in power consumption between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, during Earth Hour 2010. In Newfoundland energy consumption fell by nine megawatts and Simone Brown, Energy Efficiency Manager with Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro used the occasion to reminded residents of Newfoundland and Labrador "it's important to take measures to conserve energy every day."