Province and BC Hydro launch plan to make clean energy more affordable

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The provincial government and BC Hydro have launched a five year plan to make it more affordable for British Columbians to use clean energy to power vehicles and buildings.

The plan proposes new programs and incentives to advance the switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity and attract new energy-intensive industries to B.C., according to a media release from the province. 

“We will help more people and businesses become less reliant on fossil fuels and use more affordable, made-in-B.C. hydroelectricity. As a clean-energy powerhouse, we have a huge opportunity to tackle the climate crisis while building a stronger and more resilient B.C. for everyone,” said Premier John Horgan.

BC Hydro plans to invest over $260 million to implement the plan over the next five years, including nearly $190 million to promote fuel switching in homes, buildings, vehicles and industry and over $50 million to attract new industries looking for clean power to run their businesses and reduce their carbon footprint. The plan also includes programs to reduce the time required to get customers connected to BC Hydro’s grid. 

“We need to electrify more of our daily activities like driving, heating our homes and powering our industries with clean power. BC Hydro’s electrification plan sets out significant new actions to help us meet our CleanBC climate targets and build for a net-zero emissions future,” said George Heyman, minister of environment and climate change strategy.

As more customers increase the use of electricity, the province anticipates BC Hydro’s energy sales will increase, providing more revenue to cover its fixed system costs and helping keep rates low. BC Hydro estimates that if the electrification plan is fully realized, customer rates will be about 1.6 per cent lower by 2026 compared to what they would have been.

“We have an incredible opportunity to also take advantage of our clean electricity to power homes, businesses, vehicles and industries. We’re here to help people and businesses make the switch from fossil fuels to being powered by water,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro.

The province said if actions in the plan are fully realized, it will result in incremental greenhouse gas emission reductions of over 930,000 tonnes per year by 2026 — equal to taking 200,000 passenger vehicles off the road per year.

The plan builds on existing BC Hydro and provincial rebates and customer supports for the installation of heat pumps and electric vehicle chargers and electrification measures from CleanBC, and new recommendations from Phase 2 of the BC Hydro Review, including the discounted CleanBC industrial electrification rates announced in January 2021.

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