New energy action framework to cap emissions, electrify the clean economy

THE Province’s new energy action framework will ensure oil and gas sector projects fit within B.C.’s climate commitments and create new opportunities for people in clean energy and technology.

“Our new energy action framework will help us meet our climate targets and build a better future for all British Columbians, especially our kids and grandkids, in a clean-energy economy,” said Premier David Eby on Tuesday. “Our work on the climate crisis and our commitment to the next generation requires everyone, including the oil and gas sector, to do their part to reduce emissions. It also requires us to forge a new path forward with clean-energy projects that people and communities can count on. We can and must do both.”

Under the new energy action framework, the Province will:

* require all proposed LNG facilities in or entering the environmental assessment (EA) process to pass an emissions test with a credible plan to be net zero by 2030;

* put in place a regulatory emissions cap for the oil and gas industry to ensure B.C. meets its 2030 emissions-reduction target for the sector;

* establish a clean-energy and major projects office to fast track investment in clean energy and technology and create good, sustainable jobs in the transition to a cleaner economy; and

* create a BC Hydro task force to accelerate the electrification of B.C.’s economy by powering more homes, businesses and industries with renewable electricity.

“We are committed to taking urgent and innovative actions to fight the climate emergency with a comprehensive plan across all sectors. By introducing this new framework our province will continue to be a climate action leader, while moving quickly to seize rapidly emerging opportunities for people in the clean-energy and clean-technology economy,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The framework will provide strong, enforceable emissions reduction requirements to make sure we hit our targets and provide predictability for industry.”

The new framework builds on the recent approval of Cedar LNG, a Haisla Nation-led project that will be the largest First Nations majority-owned infrastructure project in Canada and play a key role in the Haisla’s economic development over the next four decades. The project will be one of the lowest-emitting facilities of its kind in the world. The Province will enter into an memorandum of understanding with the Haisla Nation to help achieve further climate objectives, including exploring ways to enhance environmental performance and lower emissions to near zero by 2030.

“Our province is on the frontlines of climate change and seeing the impacts of record wildfires, heat waves and flooding on people and communities. British Columbians have made it clear that we need to meet our climate targets and move forward as a clean energy leader,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Our new energy action framework will provide certainty for industry, create good jobs and build a clean economy that works better for people, respects First Nations, and protects the climate.”


Energy Action Framework background

The New Energy Action Framework builds on actions outlined in CleanBC to drive clean economic growth, while helping the province meet its legislated climate targets.

In March 2021, B.C. became the first province in Canada to set sectoral targets covering emissions across the economy. The oil and gas industry is currently responsible for around 50% of industrial emissions and 20% of B.C.’s total emissions. The sectoral target for the oil and gas industry aims to reduce emissions 33% to 38% below 2007 levels by 2030. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 committed that the Province would implement policies and programs to ensure the oil and gas sector meets its sectoral targets.

The Province has legislative authority under the Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act to regulate emissions from industry. Starting in April, the Province will launch engagements with First Nations, industry, labour, environmental organizations, local governments and other stakeholders on the final design of the regulatory cap on oil and gas sector emissions, including on issues like how the cap will be allocated, credit trading, and verifiable offsets. Consultations will be complete before the end of the year and the Province intends to implement the regulatory cap as soon as possible to provide the public and industry with certainty.

The federal government has also committed to implementing a nationwide cap on oil and gas sector emissions as part of Canada’s climate plan.

Under the Province’s framework announced today, proposed LNG facilities in B.C. will be required to have a credible plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030 in order to proceed through the environmental assessment process. This may involve adopting best-in-class technology to reduce emissions as much as possible and offsetting their remaining emissions through high-quality, verified carbon offset projects. This new requirement will help ensure that proposed LNG facilities meet the Province’s condition that LNG development fits within B.C.’s legislated climate targets.

The Clean Energy and Major Projects Office will help attract private-sector investment and lead clean energy development in B.C. It will be established by late spring within the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, and will work across government to help clean energy projects – including hydrogen, biofuels and renewable natural gas – navigate regulatory processes, access provincial programs, and reach final investment decision. There are currently 50 proposed projects in the hydrogen sector in B.C., representing over $7 billion in potential investment. It will also continue to monitor implementation of already approved projects to make sure they are benefiting British Columbians.

The new BC Hydro task force will ensure B.C. is well positioned to electrify B.C.’s economy and industry as the province transitions to a clean-energy future. It will accelerate the planning and procurement of new infrastructure needed to power B.C.’s economy with clean electricity instead of fossil fuels, while keeping rates affordable. It will also identify and advance Indigenous ownership opportunities in future electricity generation and transmission investments. The task force will include senior officials from the Province and BC Hydro, Indigenous representation and independent expertise.


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