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B.C.’s renewable energy export opportunity

May 21, 2010

Blair Lekstrom, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, was in northern B.C. last week talking about the new Clean Energy Act.  The Prince Rupert Daily News reported on the Minister’s visit and it’s good to see the clean energy issue receiving some well-deserved attention and generating informed discussion. 

For us here at BCCGE, the Minister’s comments about the development of a green energy export industry in this province are particularly noteworthy. 

As we pointed out in our recent Triple Legacy Report, not only do we have the potential to meet the clean energy needs of our own province, we also have the potential to meet the renewable clean energy needs of neighbouring provinces and states.

As Minister Lekstrom stated in the Prince Rupert Daily News:

“We believe we have the ability to become a clean energy powerhouse, to not only meet our own demands, but the demands of others, whether it be Alberta, Saskatchewan. Many people think when we talk export, we strictly talk about the United States, but we can actually help our neighbours to the east as well.”

There’s no question that developing B.C.’s immense renewable green energy resources (mindful of all environmental considerations and regulations) would allow us to help our neighbours in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and those south of the border, kick their coal burning habit. 

There’s also no question that renewable green energy exports would generate considerable revenue for the people of B.C. and create thousands of jobs on top of it. 

We were also pleased that the Minister made it very clear that the new Clean Energy Act shields B.C. taxpayers and BC Hydro ratepayers from any risk that might be associated with developing a clean energy export industry in this province.  This was a concern that some critics had expressed over the past year.

As Minister Lekstrom stated in the Prince Rupert Daily News:

“If we go for a full increased export opportunity in B.C., we don’t want the rate payers and tax payers at risk. The act stipulates that we will go out and secure the long-term energy contracts before we secure the electricity to fill those contracts. That takes all of the risk away from the tax payer and rate payer….”

As Minister Lekstrom also pointed out,  more than 90 percent of B.C.’s electricity is currently generated from clean hydroelectric sources; something we can all be proud of.

And as he also pointed out, the electricity trading activities of BC Hydro’s Powerex subsidiary have been very beneficial to B.C. taxpayer and BC Hydro ratepayers over the past 20 years.   In the words of Minister Lekstrom, Powerex’s trading activities have provided “a pretty healthy return.”

As the Minister said in the Prince Rupert Daily News:

“We have the opportunity to really pursue another resource that we have, the development of clean energy. A little over 90 per cent of our energy or electricity is developed through clean and renewable sources right now. We also have traded power for many years. You will probably have heard about Power X (sic), which is the subsidiary of BC Hydro and on average it has realized about a $100 million benefit back to the ratepayer and taxpayer of B.C. for the last couple of decades…. We think we can build upon that.”

We certainly agree with Minister Lekstrom.  We have incredible renewable energy resources in this province and an incredible opportunity to meet our own clean energy needs and those of other jurisdictions as well. 

And as the Powerex example has shown, there are significant financial benefits that go along with the environmental benefits inherent in B.C.’s wealth of renewable green energy resources.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2010 11:16 am

    BC is one of the best provinces in terms of resources and land richness.

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