Clean Energy Canada | B.C.’s new investments in clean electricity will help ready the province for a prosperous future
June 15, 2023

powerlines in front of mountains, green treescape, and mostly-blue sunsetting sky

VICTORIA — Evan Pivnick, Clean Energy Program Manager, made the following statement in response to the B.C. government’s announcement on clean power to electrify B.C.’s future:

“BC Hydro’s updated demand forecasts show that the transition to an electrified economy is happening faster than anticipated. This is the first step toward ensuring that B.C. has sufficient clean power for our homes, businesses, vehicles, and an economy that is increasingly electrified.

“BC Hydro’s first call for power in 15 years—with an important focus on ensuring Indigenous nations can advance clean power projects—will start to address B.C.’s future clean electricity needs as well as create good jobs across the province. It’s also a positive sign that the government is signaling the likely need for future calls, as this provides more certainty to clean energy companies that investments in B.C. have long-term potential.

“While over 97% of the electricity generated in B.C. comes from renewable sources, electricity only accounts for 19% of the total energy use in the province, with over 70% currently being met through the use of fossil fuels. Longer term, B.C. needs a plan to transition its economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels, and today’s announcement is a key piece of a climate-aligned energy framework. 

“Clean electricity can be a key competitive advantage for B.C., but in order to ensure enough affordable, clean power is brought online, we need to make the right choices now. This not only means producing more clean electricity but also prioritizing how best to use it. B.C.’s clean power should underpin the industries that will be growing in 2030 and beyond, including mines for critical minerals, producing clean hydrogen, and sustainable forest products.

“With a call for power starting by next spring, and a goal of bringing new resources online as soon as 2028, B.C. will need to take a hard look at how long it takes to permit and build projects in our province. We need to take lessons from other jurisdictions, like the European Union, that are moving quickly to bring new clean energy resources online.

Key Facts

  • BC Hydro’s call for 3,000 GWh per year of new clean electricity is enough to power some 300,000 homes.
  • Last year, over 18% of new passenger vehicles registered in B.C. were electric, far exceeding BC Hydro’s forecasts.
  • B.C.’s electricity grid, which is among the cleanest in the world, is already 97% non-emitting.
  • The Canadian Climate Institute estimates that B.C.’s electricity grids will need to add 1.3 to 2.6 times more generation and 1.8 to 2.9 times more capacity in order to achieve net zero. This does not include investments needed in other energy sources (such as biofuels and hydrogen) that will also play important roles throughout the energy transition.