BC Clean Energy Act calls for more power from hydro, other renewables

British Columbia announced a new clean energy plan that calls for increased efficiency and an increase in the amount of energy the province gets from hydropower and other renewable energy sources.

British Columbia, under the new act, has decreed that 93 percent of its electricity must come from clean or renewable sources, up from 90 percent, the government reported.

The British Columbia Utility Commission will also be required ensure “appropriate rates” are set to advance the new energy policy.

In other news, Ontario recently signed billions of dollars worth of green energy projects with different service providers.

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Press release:

British Columbia’s new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for a new future of electricity self-sufficiency, job creation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, powered by unprecedented investments in clean, renewable energy across the province. Bill 17 builds upon British Columbia’s unique heritage advantages and wealth of clean, renewable energy resources.

The act advances 16 specific energy objectives by expediting clean energy investments, protecting B.C. ratepayers, ensuring competitive rates, encouraging conservation, strengthening environmental protection and aggressively promoting regional job creation and First Nations’ involvement in clean electricity development opportunities.

“The new Clean Energy Act opens the way to an exciting new age of economic growth and job creation by unleashing British Columbia’s full potential in clean energy, power smart technologies, environmental stewardship and climate action,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “It will maximize the value of our public heritage assets for the benefit of British Columbians by forever securing competitive rates and generating new streams of revenue for crucial public services.

“Our goal is to build on our unique competitive advantages with record investments in our historic ‘two rivers’ public power system and with new clean and renewable electricity investments and partnerships,” Campbell continued. “We want British Columbia to become a leading North American supplier of clean, reliable, low-carbon electricity and technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while strengthening our economy in every region.”

“British Columbia has a proud history of producing clean, reliable electricity at rates that are among the lowest in North America,” said Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “The Clean Energy Act builds on the work of the Green Energy Advisory Task Force with a new statutory framework to encourage new investments and jobs, strengthen BC Hydro and secure British Columbia’s power needs at low rates for generations to come.”

The new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for three areas of priority:

1. Ensuring Electricity Self-Sufficiency at Low Rates

The act will strengthen B.C.’s legislated goal of electricity self-sufficiency by 2016 with a new regulatory framework for long-term electricity planning, bold commitments to clean and renewable electricity generation, streamlined approval processes, and new measures to promote electricity efficiency and conservation. It also strengthens protection for B.C. ratepayers with new measures to promote competitive rates and to ensure that all of the benefits from the province’s heritage assets continue to flow to British Columbians. These objectives will be accomplished through long-term planning; public investments and conservation; and new investments in clean, renewable power and energy security. The British Columbia Utilities Commission will continue to ensure appropriate rates are set in advancing government’s energy objectives and long-term resource plans.

2. Harnessing B.C.’s Clean Power Potential to Create Jobs in every Region

The act will provide BC Hydro and renewable power producers the tools necessary to establish British Columbia as a clean energy powerhouse that enables economic growth and job creation in every region. It will enable BC Hydro to maximize the value of its energy resources for ratepayers and taxpayers. It will provide a new model to secure long-term export power sales to other jurisdictions seeking clean power by partnering with renewable power producers without risk or cost to B.C. ratepayers.

The act also creates a First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to provide the opportunity for First Nations to create investment and jobs in renewable power production.

3. Strengthening Environmental Stewardship and Reducing Greenhouse Gases

The act enshrines in law measures the Province will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help customers save money through conservation and protect the environment.

The Environmental Assessment Act process will be strengthened to specifically provide for assessments of potential cumulative environmental effects. In addition, the development or proposal of energy projects in parks, protected areas and conservancies will be prohibited by law.

The Clean Energy Act builds on the work of the Green Energy Advisory Task Force, appointed in November 2009 to provide insights and recommendations on a comprehensive strategy to put B.C. at the forefront of clean energy development.

Source: British Columbia government

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