The Government of British Columbia is taking action under the Climate Leadership Plan to provide regulatory support to encourage the use of clean electricity and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Government has approved an amendment to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) under the Clean Energy Act that will enable BC Hydro to offer incentives to customers to help them transition from more carbon-intensive fuels to clean electricity to run their equipment and operations.
A further amendment to the regulation supports the development of additional transmission infrastructure in northeast B.C. to serve increasing demand for electricity from the upstream natural-gas sector.
With 98% of the electricity supply in British Columbia coming from clean or renewable sources there is an opportunity to achieve significant GHG reductions through electrification. BC Hydro already provides a range of incentives to customers to help them conserve and manage their energy consumption, and these amendments will support further programs to help customers reduce their emissions. The goal is to encourage customers to use clean electricity instead of more carbon-intensive fuels while also helping customers use that electricity efficiently.
The amendments build on the Province’s decision – announced in Balanced Budget 2017 – to phase out the provincial sales tax (PST) on electricity purchases. The PST exemption provides an added incentive for businesses large and small to switch to clean B.C. electricity, supporting B.C.’s Climate Leadership Plan.
The GGRR was introduced in 2012, and already allows utilities to provide incentives for compressed and liquefied natural gas in the transportation and marine sectors to reduce GHG emissions. The amendments expand coverage of the regulation to include investments in electrification.
The amendments are enabling-only, and also contain the requirement that electrification programs have a net positive impact on electricity rates over a period between now and 2030. Over the longer term, there could be the need to acquire new energy supply to meet new demand. The impact on rates at that time would depend on the cost of acquiring that new supply.
Discussions continue with the federal government to share the cost of electrification programs and infrastructure projects.