Artist’s rendering of the Site C dam, the third hydro dam on the Peace River that started construction in 2015. (BC Hydrophoto)

FortisBC outlines renewable energy plan blueprint

Sees $100 billion savings in diversified approach rather than electrification option

One of B.C.’s major public utilities has outlined how the province can achieve a 30 per cent energy use reduction by 2030.

FortisBC says the province faces either electrification or diversified energy pathways to reach omissions reduction targets set by the province and is coming out in favour of the diversified option.

“We don’t feel it a choice between gas or electric to optimize our energy system, we need both rolling at the same time in the same direction to meet the province’s 80 per cent energy reduction target by 2050,” said Tyler Bryant, low carbon energy and policy manager for FortisBC.

Bryant was among a team of FortisBC officials who presented an energy use vision for the future last Friday (June 4) which will impact homeowners, commercial businesses and the transportation industry.

That vision was reinforced by a study conducted by Guidehouse Inc. commissioned by Fortis, over an 18-month period from 2019 to 2020, which sided with the diversified pathway as the best option to meet greenhouse gas reduction demands.

“B.C. is a unique place that we know very well having operated as a public utility in this province for more than 100 years,” said Bryant.

“We have a unique energy system so where we go from here, what might work elsewhere is not going to work here. We need to set our own blueprint.”

Bryant said both pathways face challenges – massive energy infrastructure deployment and significant technological improvements.

“There are no free lunches here. Decarbonizing the B.C. economy will be challenging… we really need all hands on deck to produce as much clean energy as we can.”

But he said the Guidehouse study concluded the overall cost of diversified energy pursuits is $100 billion less than the electrification option.

He added electrification will require new large-scale hydroelectric power station infrastructure and energy storage capabilities to meet peak demand periods, noting the current Site C project will quickly max out its energy supply capabilities shortly after 2030.

“This means building out the provincial electricity system by about two-thirds more than what we have today to meet peak load power demands and electrify our building heating needs,” Bryant said.

But with challenges come opportunities, Bryant stressed, noting B.C. already has an extensive hydroelectric energy source supply, a forestry sector that produces biomass waste which can be re-utilized as renewable energy and potential to further develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

Along with infrastructure, Bryant said the technology of new energy products, such as high-efficiency natural gas heat pumps to generate heat and hot water, energy-efficient new building and retrofit energy-saving concepts and both electric, natural gas and other renewable energy powered vehicles that reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“The key point here is we maintain that the use of a gas system is not incompatible with long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals. We hear concerns about being locked into a higher emission gas system, but we flip that idea on its head with the idea of a gas delivery system as significant reduction potential built into it which we feel we can utilize,” he said.

“Fortis is positioned to contribute with either of these pathway options…but we just feel with the diversified approach we are not putting all our energy eggs in one basket.”

READ MORE: Letter – Renewable energy options are cost-effective

READ MORE: Columnist – Renewable energy far better than fossil fuels

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

FortisBC

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

It's believed the Sacred Hearts church on PIB land burned Sunday night. (Aileen Mascasaet Maningas)
Church burns on Penticton Indian Band land

The fire started around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read