Bullfrog Bash

I attended the Bullfrog Bash at the Steamwhistle Brewery on Thursday night. Steamwhistle Brewery is in a converted roundhouse down near the Sky Dome. Over 700 Bullfrog customers and supporters attended. As Tom Heintzman, Bullfrog President pointed out, when did a utility ever attract that kind of support? People want renewable energy.

There were a lot of interesting people there. Evan Soloman, CBC host, was the volunteer host for the speeches. Gord Downey from the Tragically Hip played a few tunes. He posed a good question. With all the the talk about religious school funding in this provincial election campaign, and the possibility it might lead to creationism being taught in our schools, would that lead to a course on destructionism?

Mike Brigham won an award for single handedly convincing almost 50 people to make the switch to Bullfrog, all on a volunteer basis. Richard Ehrlich, a dentist from Caledon was recognized for his efforts to promote renewable energy. Jack Gibbons from the Clean Air Alliance was there. Keith Stewart, the clean energy advocate for the World Wild Life fund was there. There was Bob and Sara from Lion’s Head, longtime Bullfrog customers.

The sense of unified purpose was pervasive.

Bullfrog has grown to 5000 retail customers, and 400 corporate customers in just 2 years. They recently opened a Calgary office, under the competent leadership of Theresa Howland. They will do well in Alberta. Bullfrog buys the output from two wind turbines in Alberta, and 4 in Ontario, with an additional 2 under construction. It isn’t changing the world overnight, but it is building rapidly. If everyone bought Bullfrog Power, the world would change.

I had driven to Toronto from Montreal that day, after spending time at the Quebec CanWEA conference. I had used the Quebec City bus system to get to the convention centre. The buses on the route were frequent, well used, and had bus lanes during rush hour. They were faster than driving, and a whole lot less than the parking charges. They had posters advertising cheap rental cars for families with bus passes. Kids with families travelled free on weekends if you had a bus pass. A sign of hope.

On the way back, I stopped at a rest stop on Highway 401. There is no bigger monument to our use of fossil fuels than the 401. But at the rest stop picnic area, they had installed composting toilets. They were clean. They use no water. There is no electricity required to pump the water. Another sign of hope. If they can use composting toilets on the 401, they can use them anywhere. I have heard that as much as 5% of a municipality’s electricity consumption is used for pumping and treating water and sewage.

There is hope. Bullfrog, the Quebec City transit system, and even the 401 proves it.

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