All abuzz over alternative energy option

WP news editor Bruce Dyck has an alternative energy idea he thinks may generate some buzz. | File photo

Scientists tell us that reducing our use of fossil fuel will be how we stop the runaway climate change train hurtling down the tracks toward the abyss.

The question is — how exactly will we do that?

There’s solar energy, but the sun doesn’t always shine.

There’s wind energy, but the wind doesn’t always blow.

There’s hydroelectricity, but building new dams has become environmentally controversial.

There’s nuclear energy, but that’s scary.

And there’s geothermal energy, but that just sounds complicated.

So what to do?

A recent article in the Western Producer gave me an idea.

Canadian beekeepers are having a hard time this year obtaining bees from overseas, particularly from New Zealand. That’s because Air Canada has cancelled or altered flights from that country due to the pandemic.

Another complication is that apparently you can’t just stuff an airplane full of boxes of bees.

The insects generate so much heat that a Boeing 777’s air conditioner can only acommodate one or two pallets a trip.

Thus, my idea.

Would it be possible, I wonder, to heat a home or barn during the winter using packages of hot-blooded bees?

One pallet contains 632 bee packages, which weigh one or 1.5 kilograms each. The entire pallet weighs 600 to 700 kg.

Our story also said three pallets of bees arrived dead by plane this winter because of overheating, resulting in a loss of $350,000. My rudimentary math skills come up with more than $100,000 per pallet.

That’s a very expensive furnace.

However, would we really need 700 kg of bees to heat a house over the winter? I’m suspecting not. Perhaps one or two boxes per room would be enough.

It sounds to me like a university research department needs to take a hard look at this.

Of course, like all the other alternative energy sources, this particular option would come with its own set of problems.

I’m thinking primarily of what happens if the bees get loose, which isn’t something you have to worry about with a natural gas furnace.

However, did that gas guzzler in the basement ever provide the family with honey all winter?

The alternative energy community isn’t buzzing over this idea, but maybe it should.

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