Clean Energy Canada | Poll: British Columbians overwhelmingly support $36B electricity grid expansion, renewables over LNG, and the need for an energy strategy
February 21, 2024

on shore wind turbines against pink sky

VANCOUVER — With a low snowpack threatening hydroelectricity production in B.C., power concerns are more top of mind than usual for many British Columbians.

Overwhelmingly, B.C. residents support the provincial government and BC Hydro’s recent $36 billion investment to expand and improve the electricity grid over the next decade, according to a new public opinion survey conducted by Stratcom for Clean Energy Canada. A third of respondents (33%) say the expansion is overdue, while another 40% say the province is acting at the right time.

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Confidence in the province and Crown utility is somewhat lower but still in majority territory, with 57% expressing confidence in their ability to bring enough electricity online to meet the needs of British Columbians and industries over the next decade.

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The idea of having an energy strategy—presented as a plan to connect the dots between economic opportunity, our efforts to combat climate change, Indigenous reconciliation, and meeting future electricity demand—sees extremely strong support at 83%, with nearly half of all respondents (47%) saying such a strategy is “very important.”

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As for the type of power generated, British Columbians would like to see more renewable options, with hydro (84%), solar (81%), and wind (79%) taking the top spots. Respondents also expressed strong support for energy storage (78%)—often paired with wind or solar power to store energy for later use—and homeowner-generated rooftop solar (75%).

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As well, more British Columbians now say they would prefer the government focus on developing renewables (69%) over LNG (15%) in comparison to responses to this question from 2022 and 2020.

bar graphs showing majority support for renewables

When presented with a number of emerging economic development opportunities for B.C., renewable electricity is most popular (84%), followed by manufacturing clean technologies (80%), clean hydrogen (75%), sustainably produced metals and minerals (67%), and engineered wood products like mass timber (48%). Natural gas production (48%) and exporting LNG (39%) were the least popular options presented.

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Asked specifically about whether LNG projects should receive financial support from the government to cover the cost of electrifying their operations to reduce emissions, a significant majority (65%) believe companies should bear this cost without taxpayer dollars, compared to just 15% who support this use of public funds.

pie chart showing majority (65%) supporting the statement that companies should cover the costs of the additional electricity and transmission lines that their facilities will need to reduce emissions, while only 15% think B.C. tax dollars should go towards it, 21% don't know.

And finally, only 15% of British Columbians say the province is moving too quickly in its actions to combat climate change—with 43% wanting the government to move even faster than it is now. Most respondents (67%) say the province is doing at least a fair job on the issue, and a majority (55%) want B.C. to be a climate leader. Only 8% would prefer the government did less or nothing at all to combat climate change.

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These are results from an online survey using self-selecting representative panels and river sources from February 5 – February 12, 2024, conducted by Strategic Communications. The sample of 800 B.C. adult residents is statistically weighted to match the composition of British Columbia by gender, age, and region as per most recently available Census data. Margin of error is not applicable to online surveys, but a probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 %, 19 times out of 20.