Clean Energy: B.C.’s new economic opportunity

27/01/2010 at 10:53 pm Leave a comment

The Copenhagen summit demonstrated that while global warming remains top of mind at home and abroad, achieving a global consensus on strategies and actions to confront this critical issue is a daunting task.

But despite the absence of a realistic and effective international plan to tackle climate change, it’s reassuring to know that British Columbia is taking real leadership and action through various measures, including the carbon tax, cap and trade, legislated greenhouse-gas reductions, a carbon-neutral public service and the Low Carbon Fuel Standard to name a few.

Further, in B.C., we have a unique opportunity — some might say a moral obligation — to use our endowment of renewable resources to make a real and meaningful difference in the battle against climate change.

After all, we are the only region in North America to have world-scale clean power generation potential from wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal, solar and tidal all in one place.

Besides the positive environmental benefits clean energy and clean energy technologies can create in B.C., these industries also represent an exciting new chapter in our province’s economic story, including tens of thousands of new jobs and billions in new investment.

Traditionally, our province’s primary resource industries such as fishing, agriculture, mining, forestry and pulp and paper provided British Columbians with jobs and income as well as tax revenue for communities and governments.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently released a report commissioned by the Independent Power Producers Association of BC (IPPBC) on the economic impact of the province’s clean energy sector.

The report indicates that by 2020, capital investment in B.C.’s independent power sector could reach $26 billion.

Moreover, the report found that independent power projects are creating jobs for British Columbians, and that construction in the sector could create 90,000 person years of employment by 2020, and more than 9,100 full time jobs to support operating projects.

The report also found that while much of the economic activity by IPPs has taken place in southwestern B.C. and Vancouver Island, future development will add a much needed economic shot to the North Coast and Peace regions along with the east Kootenays and the Interior, directly helping rural and first nations communities.

Importantly, the PricewaterhouseCoopers report showed that IPPs have created a multitude of partnerships with first nations, creating long lasting economic and social benefits for these communities.

In B.C., there is some debate about potential environmental impacts from larger scale renewable energy development, despite the fact we have rigorous provincial and federal environmental review processes.

The provincial government’s Green Energy Task Force is examining a wide range of issues, such as environmental best practices, first nations participation and community planning and dialogue.

As an industry association, IPPBC looks forward to working with the task force, first nations and other stakeholders to ensure we optimize the province’s renewable resources while employing effective environmental stewardship practices.

IPPBC member companies are committed to serving the public interest by providing clean, cost-effective electricity and reducing B.C.’s carbon footprint through the responsible development of the province’s renewable energy resources.

Despite the ambiguity of Copenhagen, one thing is clear: B.C. is a leader in the development of climate policy, clean energy and clean energy technologies that are providing real environmental and climate change solutions that can grow our economy and a better future for all British Columbians.


Entry filed under: Renewable Energy.

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