When Premier John Horgan gave his ministers their mandate letters, essentially their “to-do lists,” it was clear that finding innovative ways to decrease GHGs was a priority for the NDP government.
And they’re working hard to make progress toward this vital goal. Developing a new Energy Roadmap. The Climate Solutions and Clean Growth Advisory Council. Establishing strong GHG reduction targets. A commitment to the world’s cleanest LNG. More clean-tech university training. These actions make a real difference.
But, despite these initiatives, there is more we need to do to ensure B.C. doesn’t fall behind. On those ministerial lists was something that, counter intuitively, means we can use more energy and still help the environment. Through electrification — using electricity instead of other energy sources — we can keep our standard of living and create more jobs and revenue while reducing the impacts of climate change, both at home and abroad.
The great thing about electrification is it keeps the economy flowing strong and ensures we maintain our role as a climate and clean-energy powerhouse. We have a wealth of successful, cost-effective renewable power being produced in B.C. daily. In fact, did you know that 14 per cent of the electricity in B.C. comes from wind, small hydro and solar producers?
The government recognizes we need to do more to keep us in front of this critical environmental, economic and social opportunity. Luckily, we have a tool to do that: the B.C. Clean Energy Act gives us a chance to embrace our strength in renewable-energy production over time. We can add even more affordable B.C. clean electricity to the grid and help other industries, which rely on dirtier sources like petroleum, to green up. Mining is just one industry that has seen the benefits of sustainability through the electrification of their operations. Electrification also does something else that aligns well with this government’s goals: It helps foster the development of First Nation and rural communities through the use and development of renewable resources.
Our association has also proposed a new Electric Truck mandate — a chance to make significant gains and keep us in front is greening transportation and reducing its GHGs. By switching only five to 10 per cent of trucks to electricity by 2025 the NDP could send a strong signal about its seriousness in achieving our climate-action goals.
We applaud the vision of this NDP government and its work to fight climate change. And we look forward to a future when our members help drive us toward electrification and a competitive economy that delivers more value to families across B.C. These are things we are going to be talking about at our Global Electrification Now! Summit on June 14. It’s time to hit the pedal and make sure we aren’t left behind on electrification.
Jae Mather is executive director of Clean Energy B.C.