The Globe and Mail reported yesterday that B.C.'s quest for clean energy investment is going to be directly headed up by Premier Gordon Campbell. According to the report, "Ontario's new energy pricing strategy has left B.C. behind, with new contracts expected to be rolled out in the coming weeks under its "feed-in tariff" policy guaranteeing prices and long-term contracts for green power.
B.C.'s budget, which was introduced last week, establishes a three-year, $100-million clean energy fund to support biofuel production and other forms of low-carbon electricity generation. B.C. has vast hectares of forest which have been devastated by the mountain pine beetle. The Government intends, through the introduction of its Clean Energy Act to exploit these forests as a bioenergy alternative. I mean, when life hands you lemons, you may as well make lemonade. That's what B.C. plans to do.
B.C., along with its neighbour Alberta, are beginning to make subtle shifts away from a climate change agenda to one which signals that the provinces are open for clean and green energy initiatives. B.C. for its part, has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet when it comes to clean energy. The Premier remarked: "There is not a jurisdiction that won't try to win the clean-energy race...[t]he real advantage we have is incredible clean, low-carbon resources".
According to the Globe, later this week "BC Hydro is expected to announce a series of new clean-energy contracts designed to leverage more than $3-billion in investment. The purchase agreements are slated to produce up to 5,000 gigawatt hours per year to help B.C. become self-sufficient for its electricity needs". Because B.C. does not generate enough power to meet its needs, those in the power game see B.C. as a strategic place to invest.
The article concludes "Don Roberts, research analyst with CIBC World Markets Inc., said Mr. McGuinty has set the benchmark for investors with Ontario's new long-term price guarantees.
"The feed-in-tariff program is by far the most generous in North America, and in some cases in the world," he said. Mr. Roberts doesn't expect B.C. will be able to match those subsidized rates, but he said there are changes the province can make to regain competitiveness.
BC Hydro will have to provide long-term commitments on energy pricing, and the province needs to lower the cost of extracting pine-beetle-killed timber from the forests to make bioenergy more viable, he said".
While Alberta's emissions profile is vastly different from that of B.C. and Ontario, Alberta intends to be a leader in the development of clean energy technology. The February 4, 2010 Speech from the Throne, indicates:
Energy development is a partnership between Albertans, who own the resources, and industry, which develops them on Alberta's behalf. It's a partnership that has yielded tremendous benefits in economic activity that touches every corner of our province...[Alberta] is committed to ensureing that this industry remains vibrant, continues to attract investment and create new technologies...As a result of the international agreement in Copenhagen, we will work with the federal government to reach a thoughtful, continental approach to controlling greenhouse gas emissions - one that spurs Alberta-based investment in new technologies and the next generation economy. In addition to announcements late last year with respect to the $2 billion CCS fund, Alberta's climate change and emissions management fund, administered by the CCEMC, will be used to leverage investments in clean and green technologies. These investments will help secure Alberta's position in the clean energy future of Canada.
With major initiatives in Alberta, B.C. and Ontario, 2010 is shaping up to showcase Canada as a "clean energy superpower".