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British Columbia Unveils New Clean Energy Plan

On December 5, 2018, the B.C. government unveiled a new clean energy plan, CleanBC, which outlines the government’s strategy to achieve 75% of the Province’s 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target (how the remaining 25% will be achieved remains to be determined).

The full report can be read here.

The highlights report can be read here.

What’s In the Plan?

The plan outlines a number of initiatives that are intended to “clean” or “green” the transportation, construction, waste and industrial sectors of the B.C. economy, primarily by reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing the use of electricity in these sectors.

Key initiatives planned for the industrial sector of the B.C. economy include:

  • Working with natural gas providers to put in place a minimum requirement for 15 per cent renewable content in natural gas by 2030.
  • Revising the Province’s Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Standard to require suppliers to reduce the carbon intensity of diesel and gasoline by 20% by 2030 and working with renewable fuel providers to increase new production of 650 million litres of renewable fuels by 2030 (about 8% of our total annual fuel use).
  • Directing a portion of the B.C. carbon tax paid by industry into a “CleanBC Program for Industry” comprised of: (1) a Clean Industry Fund that will provide funding for emission reduction projects and (2) an Industrial Incentive that will reduce carbon-tax costs for operations that meet specified emissions benchmarks.
  • Making investments in electrification of upstream oil and gas production so extraction and processing are powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels, adding new transmission lines and interconnecting existing lines to increase the electrification of large industrial operations.
  • Enacting regulations to reduce methane emissions in the upstream production of natural gas by 45% by 2025 (these regulations are expected to be enacted by the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission in 2019).
  • Developing a new legislative framework for regulating carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Key initiatives planned for the transportation, construction and waste sectors of the B.C. economy include:

  • By 2020, enacting a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard that will require automakers to meet an escalating annual percentage of new light-duty ZEV sales, reaching 10% in 2025, 30% in 2030 and 100% by 2040.
  • Revising the B.C. Building Code to require all new buildings constructed in B.C. to be “net-zero energy ready” by 2032.
  • By 2030, capturing 75% of landfill methane and diverting 95% of organic waste from landfills.

With respect to LNG, the plan notes that LNG Canada is working to make its Kitimat facility the world’s cleanest in terms of GHG emission intensity and explains that the CleanBC Program for Industry will encourage the use of the greenest technology available in the LNG sector to reduce emissions and encourage economic and job growth.

What’s Next?

Looking forward, the plan leaves much to be determined in the coming years. For example, the plan states that in 2019:

  • The Province will begin a new round of engagement to determine how the Province can achieve the remaining 25% of its 2030 GHG emissions target;
  • The Province will establish an active transportation strategy with measures to support new infrastructure, education and incentive programs, and safety improvements; and
  • BC Hydro will undertake a review that addresses changing energy markets, new utility models and emerging technologies to deliver on CleanBC’s longer-term electrification goals.

The plan also states that, in the coming years, the Province will develop a low-carbon industrial strategy (in collaboration with the Business Council of British Columbia) and a “climate change adaption strategy”.

The full impact of the plan for businesses operating in B.C. has yet to be determined. We will continue to monitor the roll-out and implementation of the plan and its related strategies and to update this page accordingly.

  • By: Erika Lambert-Shirzad