VICTORIA — Evan Pivnick, clean energy program manager at Clean Energy Canada, made the following statement in response to BC Hydro’s new capital plan:
“B.C. has what it takes to be a global leader in the energy transition, from critical minerals to some of the most promising cleantech companies in the world. But clean electricity is the key to unlocking this potential.
“The new plan announced yesterday to significantly expand B.C.’s power generation is a big step in the right direction. The 50% increase over BC Hydro’s previous capital plan shows the province increasingly understands the scale of the challenge—and the opportunity.
“As British Columbians and businesses alike ditch fossil fuels in favour of clean electricity, it’s no secret that B.C. is looking at a future with far more demand for clean power. Already, EVs make up 26% of new cars sold in the province, while the number of heat pumps has more than doubled in recent years. The province must meet the needs of its residents as they embrace the affordability benefits that come with ditching fossil fuels.
“The recent cold snap was a reminder of how important building electricity capacity is for British Columbians—and, occasionally, our neighbours. Interties with other jurisdictions helped Western Canada and a number of U.S. states meet electricity demand while financially benefiting B.C.
“But good power planning is about more than simply keeping the lights on—it’s also good economic planning.
“Indeed, cheap, clean electricity is a big draw for businesses looking to cut their carbon footprint, and only by building enough of it can we ensure we are attracting economic opportunities that will fuel a healthy, job-creating economy in the years and decades ahead.
“To that end, it is vital that this electricity be used to set B.C. on a prosperous course to compete in a rapidly evolving global economy. New capacity must be used to power sectors that will grow in the coming decades, including sustainable critical mineral mines and the production of clean hydrogen. Using it to export more fossil fuels in a world that is decarbonizing will lead to stranded assets and lost opportunities.
“Put another way, looking in one’s rearview mirror is no way to see the road ahead. With today’s announcement, the province and BC Hydro are looking to the fast-approaching horizon.”
- While over 98% of the electricity generated by BC Hydro 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.
- 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 doesn’t include other energy sources, such as biofuels, and hydrogen, that will also play important roles throughout the energy transition.
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