Local company leads charge to supply B.C. film industry with clean energy generators

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Each filming day uses an average of two to three diesel generators, with each generator using an average of 296 litres of diesel a day.

Sim International estimates that after 14 days on one unnamed set, the production company saved 9,976.4 Kg of CO2 using the battery-powered generator.

Production crews can plug in to studio house power, the city’s power grid, or use EV car chargers, said Ramsay.

“Because it is not making emissions or noise you can park it right beside an actor or put it in a sensitive location, like a neighbourhood, and run almost no cable, making your production more efficient,” he said.

“People come up to us and say that’s not running, and we have to say ‘no it’s on’ so it is noticeably quieter.”

Geoff Teoli, senior manager for film and special events with the city of Vancouver, said the $1,000 daily film permit fees are cut by 50 per cent if the production can demonstrate they have eliminated at least one diesel generator from their daily activity.

That cut could go as high as 80 per cent if the company has an “ultra low impact production,” which means a very small environmental footprint with crew size, parking/street use requirements, and zero use of diesel generators.

The city is continuing with its plan to deliver access to power from the city’s grid. When complete, Teoli estimates that there will be a kiosk within a 10 minute drive of almost anywhere in the city, resulting in about a one-third reduction in generator use.

Companies like Sim will then supply their clean energy solutions to help reduce the remaining two-thirds of use.

“When built, film companies will be able to access these kiosks without additional charge if they hold a valid film permit and have paid all other applicable film permits fees,” said Teoli.

B.C.’s film industry generated $3.4 billion in revenue in 2018, and $4.2 billion in 2019.

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