BC Energy Plan: February 2007
In February 2007, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources announced the BC Energy Plan: A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership. The plan focused on 55 policy actions including: aggressive targets for zero net greenhouse gas emissions, new investments in innovation, and an ambitious target to acquire 50 per cent of BC Hydro's incremental resource needs through conservation by 2020.
In addition, the plan focused on providing new measures to enhance energy security in the province including initial discussions with First Nations, the Province of Alberta and communities to discuss a potential Site C project. The Site C project is a proposed third dam on the Peace River in B.C. If built, the project would flood several thousand hectares of land near Fort St. John, producing enough electricity to power approximately 460,000 homes.1 The project would produce about 4,600 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, representing approximately 10 per cent of the electricity produced annually at BC Hydro's existing hydroelectric facilities.2
The "Report on Progress": April 2009
In April 2009, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources reported on the province's progress in carrying out the BC Energy Plan. Some of the highlights include:
- Residents across the province are eligible for rebates through the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program. The program was launched in May 2008 and invests $62 million dollars over four years to help B.C. residents reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint through upgrades to homes and businesses. The high demand for the LiveSmart BC energy audits has resulted in an increase in energy advisors from 30 to over 100.
- Since 2008, the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund has approved investments of over $47 million in 34 projects within B.C. To date these investments represent a total value of over $174 million, which assist in developing clean and renewable energy technologies in areas of solar, geothermal, tidal, wind, and bioenergy.
- In March 2009, Phase Two of BC Hydro's Bioenergy Call for Power was announced. The Call for Power focuses on converting biomass into clean, cost-effective and carbon-neutral electricity. The four successful proposals in Phase One of the call will generate a combined total of 579 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, or enough to power more than 52,000 homes.
- In furtherance of its energy security policy action, the Province reported that BC Hydro is investing $3.6 billion in upgrades for heritage asset power plants, including existing dams like the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, transmission and distribution systems, and facilities. The Report on Progress did not comment specifically on the status of the Site C project. However as of March 2009, BC Hydro had completed Stage 2 consultation of the Site C project.3
- In addition to its energy security mandate, the Province announced the BC Hydro Standing Offer Program for clean, renewable or high-efficiency co-generation projects for less than 10 megawatts. The Program will assist more small clean, renewable projects on to the grid and expanding the Province's clean energy supply.
- Lastly the Province has made strides in its "no nuclear power" policy action. In April 2008, the Province announced it would not support uranium exploration and development in B.C.
In 2009, the Province issued an order to prevent permits from being issued for uranium and thorium exploration and development. In highlighting the clean energy initiatives taken by the Province over the last 2 years since the introduction of the BC Energy Plan, the Report presents the Province as an environmental leader in the management of its natural resources.