British Columbia emerges from its “dark years”
December 7, 2018 ~ Chris Campbell
Yesterday, a local commentator referred to the post-2012 era of BC governance as the “dark
years”! Members of the Marine Renewables Canada family have experienced them as the
silent and frustrating years as we saw interest in diversification of clean energy supplies and
attendant economic opportunity lost in a dogma that no new electricity (other than Site C
hydro!) would ever be needed. Member companies gave up, a few gallant souls went back to
the 2004 status of a mutually-supporting coffeeclatch and we and the governments clung to
research, knowledge and tool development at the University of Victoria as a bookmark for
eventual action by the sector.
But, all this has changed! On December 5 2018, the consortium of NDP government supported
by Greens, a multifaceted Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council and a host of
industry players are launched in a climate action initiative that takes a leap forward from the
2008-2011 foundation laid by the Gordon Campbell Liberals.
The goal is greater and the plan more integrated and inclusive. It is the beginning of a strategy
designed to build a new economy while transitioning to the low-carbon economy needed for
decades to come.
Prior to 2012 Marine Renewables Canada (OREG) was involved in clean energy, electrification
and clean industry strategy development. We worked to demonstrate where new business and
economic opportunities would come from and with existing industry we explored the business
value of products and processes based on consumption of clean electricity. There was a
remarkable alliance of industrial processors, the clean electricity sector and BC Hydro.
That was shelved but has now reemerged.
A couple of years ago Merran Smith of Clean Energy Canada (and cochair of the advisory
Council) asked MRC to help bring together the clean electricity associations. CANCore emerged
with a clear message that Canada had a massive advantage in climate action due to existing and
undeveloped clean electricity resources.
We have seen that message resonate federally already, and now we see it as central to the BC
strategy – Clean Electrification – of everything – as fast as possible!
By 2030 the strategy is intended to deliver:
• Ca 700,000 electrical, hybrid or hydrogen new light-duty vehicles
• Ca 300,000 residential heat pumps
• 50m m2 of commercial space heated and cooled by heat pumps
• 60 large industrials replacing natural gas with heat pumps
• More than half of gas line compressors powered by electricity
• Electric-powered ferries, and
• Significant adoption of electric and hybrid heavy goods and industrial vehicles.
All of which suggests that:
“the policies in this strategy will require an additional 4,000 gigawatt-hours of
electricity over and above currently projected demand growth to electrify key
segments of our economy. This is equivalent to increasing BC Hydro’s current systemwide
capacity by about 8 per cent, or about the demand of the City of Vancouver. We
can meet this increased electricity use with existing and planned projects that harness
B.C.’s vast wealth of clean, renewable power.
Meeting our targets beyond 2030 will require substantial additional volumes of new
clean electricity to further electrify transportation, industry, and buildings.
BC Hydro will undertake a transformational review that addresses changing energy
markets, new utility models and emerging technologies to deliver on CleanBC’s longerterm
electrification goals. These include both generating and acquiring energy,
maximizing B.C.’s capacity advantage, supporting clean economic development, and
adapting to growth in distributed and district energy and new digital technology. This
work will be carried out over the course of 2019.
Incorporating these findings and the strategic direction set by CleanBC, BC Hydro will
prepare a new Integrated Resource Plan to incorporate new objectives and develop a
new path forward for electricity in B.C.”
The strategy once again brings forward the economic aspects of this development:
“we (can) use our position as a clean energy leader to grow our innovative technology
sector; where we export our expertise and products to make a difference in the lives
of hundreds of millions.
With clean electricity as the foundation for the prosperous and sustainable future for
this province, BC Hydro is taking steps to position us for enduring success in the
rapidly changing global energy sector.”
So, we need to restart our efforts with BC Hydro, addressing the longer-term opportunities
offered by river, tidal and wave energy. A 2019 project!
But we also need to engage at the indigenous and incorporated community level around what
might be more immediate opportunities:
“The CleanBC Communities Fund (CCF) will encourage investments in small-scale,
community-owned energy generation from sources such as biomass, biogas,
geothermal heat, hydro, solar, ocean or wind power to offset community energy use.
The fund will start accepting applications this year with $63 million of combined
federal and provincial funding available for the first wave of capital funding. Projects
will have to achieve at least one of the following outcomes:
• Increase the community’s capacity to manage renewable energy,
• Increase access to clean energy transportation,
• Increase the energy efficiency of buildings, or
• Increase generation of clean energy”
“By 2030, the Strategy targets the implementation of all four pillars in the remote
communities served by the 22 largest diesel-powered electricity generation stations in
B.C. (12 BC Hydro stations and 10 Indigenous Services Canada stations). The Strategy
aims to reduce province-wide diesel consumption for generating electricity in remote
communities by 80 per cent by 2030.
Additional support will be directed to the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, with
matching funding from the federal government. The money will support project
planning, feasibility and design in on- grid and off-grid Indigenous communities who
are working to advance energy efficiency and clean energy projects.
These are intended to
• develop renewable heating systems, including heat pump technology and
district energy systems; and
• implement renewable energy projects to offset all or most remaining diesel
generation, including rooftop solar photovoltaic and community-scale
renewable systems. “
The full strategy is downloadable at: