Clean power to electrify B.C.’s future

BC Hydro will move forward with a call for new sources of renewable, emission-free electricity to power British Columbia’s growing clean economy and create new jobs throughout the province.

The call is expected to launch in spring 2024.

In addition, the Province is providing $140 million to the B.C Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support Indigenous-led power projects, create economic opportunities for First Nations, and advance community self-determination.

“As we face the threat of a record fire season across Canada, the need to switch to clean power to fight climate change has never felt more urgent. The good news is that from electric cars to electrified heavy industry, British Columbians are taking action,” said Premier David Eby. “To guarantee the affordable power for this important transition, we’re working in partnership with First Nations and BC Hydro to generate more of the clean electricity that British Columbia needs to build our economy, and grow our role as a clean-energy superpower.”

Electricity demand is expected to increase by 15% between now and 2030. This is due to economic and population growth, and as more homes, businesses and industries switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity. In the past six years, the number of electric vehicles on B.C.’s roads has increased by nearly 2,000%.

Updated demand forecasts filed by BC Hydro with the B.C. Utilities Commission today confirm that new sources of electricity will be required sooner than previously expected. To ensure that it’s ready to procure new power supply, BC Hydro is moving forward with the development of a competitive process to acquire more clean electricity. This will be BC Hydro’s first call for power in 15 years, and will target larger, utility scale projects.

BC Hydro will only acquire 100% clean, renewable electricity, including wind and solar. The call for power process will be designed by BC Hydro and the Province following engagement with First Nations, industry and stakeholders. The engagement will include development of options regarding minimum requirements for Indigenous participation in new projects. The newly formed BC Hydro task force will also provide strategic advice.

The BC Hydro task force draws on further Indigenous and external energy experts to provide strategic advice on advancing Indigenous ownership and/or equity interest opportunities. The task force has three key priorities:

  • speed of permitting and delivery;
  • oversight to protect ratepayers and enable economic and climate priorities; and
  • identifying, enabling and accelerating economic opportunities.

Over the next 12 months, the task force will focus on identifying and implementing short- and medium-term actions that can advance these priorities.

“First Nations are key partners as we work to power B.C.’s growing clean economy with clean, renewable electricity,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Funding for the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative will open up new opportunities for First Nations in clean-energy projects, including wind and solar, create local jobs, and support Indigenous self-determination.”

The Province’s $140 million contribution to the BCICEI will support smaller Indigenous-led power projects that may otherwise not be competitive due to their smaller size.

The BCICEI is a clean-energy funding partnership between the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada, and the New Relationship Trust. It provides support and capacity-building funds to First Nations communities toward the planning and implementation of clean-energy projects. The BCICEI is administered by the New Relationship Trust, an Indigenous-led non-profit organization that delivers federal and provincially funded programs in support of Indigenous capacity development and reconciliation.

BC Hydro expects to initiate a call for power in spring 2024 in order to acquire new sources of electricity as early as 2028. This may be followed by subsequent calls as the transition to clean energy continues to accelerate, and BC Hydro requires additional resources in order to electrify B.C.’s growing economy and meet the province’s climate targets.

Quick Facts:

  • BC Hydro gets 98% of its power generation from clean or renewable resources, making BC Hydro the leader in North America when it comes to clean energy.
  • BC Hydro’s residential electricity rates are also the second lowest in North America.
  • Zero-emission vehicles represented 18.1% of new light-duty passenger vehicles sold in B.C. in 2022, the highest percentage for any province or territory, and well ahead of CleanBC targets.
  • The number of registered light-duty electric vehicles rose from 5,000 in 2016 to more than 100,000 today – a 1,900% increase in the past six years.
  • There are approximately 200,000 heat pumps installed in BC Hydro residential customer homes. This is equivalent to about 10% of homes.
  • The BCICEI has delivered $26 million to support more than 100 Indigenous clean-energy projects in B.C. since 2016.
  • In 2021-22, Canada provided a $6.4-million top-up to the BCICEI.
  • In 2022-23, Canada renewed the BCICEI for 2022-23 and 2023-24 with an additional $3.6 million.

Learn More:

To read BC Hydro’s 2021 Integrated Resource Plan, including recent updates, visit: www.bchydro.com/cleanpower2040

To follow the B.C. Utilities Commission review of the Integrated Resource Plan, visit: https://www.bcuc.com/OurWork/Proceedings

For more information on the New Relationship Trust and the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, visit: https://newrelationshiptrust.ca/

To meet the members of the new BC Hydro Task Force and learn about its work, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/BCHydroTaskForce

Three backgrounders follow.

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Backgrounds:

What people are saying about clean energy

Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro –

“It will take all of us working together to build a more sustainable economy as we broaden our clean and renewable sources of energy through this call for power. BC Hydro is committed to meeting the growing and changing needs of our customers and will be working with all levels of government, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the private sector to make this happen.”

Chief Jen Thomas, səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) –

“An investment in clean energy is an investment in a healthier future. Tsleil-Waututh Nation is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and to addressing climate change, such as sea level rise, which is a concern in our community. We have taken steps to reduce emissions by adopting renewable energy such as solar, and our climate action and community energy plans as well as our recently approved energy-efficient and low-carbon buildings policy will provide a pathway to a renewable energy future for our Nation. We will continue working collaboratively with external partners to meet our clean-energy goals.”

Walter Schneider, CEO, New Relationship Trust (NRT) –

“This historic investment in First Nations’ clean energy represents an essential step in advancing Indigenous-led clean-energy projects to the benefit of low-emission economies, reconciliation goals and the province’s future power needs. We are confident that NRT’s leadership in program delivery and strong working relationships will continue to empower a new energy road map where First Nations are leading the way in the transition toward a low-carbon future.”

Cole Sayers, executive director, Clean Energy BC 

“B.C. is a leader in First-Nations-led and partnered development in clean energy. I commend the Province’s efforts in supporting First Nations in the clean-energy sector. The call for power and a $140-million clean energy investment is an exciting opportunity to advance economic reconciliation, implement the UNDRIP, and usher in a new era of clean energy that is led by First Nations.”

Dan Woynillowicz, principal, Polaris Strategy + Insight, and external energy adviser, BC Hydro Task Force 

“We know our clean-electricity system needs to grow to become the energy backbone that powers our economy and day-to-day lives. More clean power will enable people and businesses to switch from fossil fuels to electricity, reducing pollution and energy bills in the process. BC Hydro’s call for power is an important next step toward a net-zero future where electricity will meet most of our energy needs.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation 

“Collaborative relationships with First Nations are the way of the future. Participation by First Nations in the clean-energy sector is vital as we work together on a low-carbon future. By supporting the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, we are supporting vital clean-energy work by First Nations, which contributes to achieving CleanBC’s climate targets and a better future for all.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy 

“CleanBC combines environmental action with economic opportunity. As we work with Indigenous communities to create new sources of clean power, we’re building resiliency, creating new low-carbon jobs, and walking together in reconciliation.”

Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Indigenous Services 

“Reconciliation is everyone’s business. This is a concrete example of how governments can work in partnership with Indigenous organizations to advance the clean-energy economy, create good-paying jobs for Indigenous communities, and move toward real reconciliation. The British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative supports First Nations-led clean-energy efforts and is a model to follow. I commend B.C. for taking this important step forward.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, federal Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan) 

“From the very beginning, PacifiCan has been an enthusiastic champion and supporter of the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, which has created thousands of jobs and launched 100 clean-energy projects. These projects have generated enough clean energy to power over 3,600 homes and reduced enough CO2 emissions to take the equivalent of 128,000 cars off the road for a year. Today’s investment in BCICEI will continue to create lasting economic development that advances reconciliation.”

Media Contacts

George Smith

Communications Director
Office of the Premier
[email protected]

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 208-6183

Independent power producer projects

Beat Mountain wind turbines
Independent power projects from BC Hydro (Link to Source below)

We have a long history of purchasing clean or renewable power from independent power producers (IPPs). IPPs generally include power production companies, municipalities, and First Nations. We acquire power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to help meet B.C.’s electricity needs.

We’re preparing for a call for power

Electrification is a key pathway to achieving the CleanBC emission reduction targets – and we continue to see significant interest from the residential, commercial, transportation and industrial sectors in making the switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity. We’re forecasting that we’ll need new clean or renewable resources starting as early as the end of 2028.

As a result, we’re planning to acquire clean or renewable energy from new resources through a competitive acquisition process. We expect to issue a call for power in spring 2024.

We’re looking to First Nations and the Independent Power Producer industry to help us plan this call for power.

Engagement

We’re currently designing the details of the call for power and seeking input from First Nations, independent power producers and stakeholders on certain design elements and our overall approach.

Learn more about the engagement process and upcoming activities.

Have questions?

If you have questions about the call for power, email us.


Related

Electricity purchase agreement renewal program

Learn about our program to renew existing electricity purchase agreements with clean or renewable IPP projects on the integrated system.

Source: https://www.bchydro.com/work-with-us/selling-clean-energy/meeting-energy-needs.html

Powering the Future & Navigating the Growth of Commercial Solar with

Introduction: Commercial solar, often referred to as C&I solar (Commercial and Industrial scale), occupies a unique position within the solar industry, distinct from its residential and utility-scale counterparts. While this sector has faced challenges, signs point to significant growth, making it a space worth exploring. In this article, we provide an overview of commercial solar, discussing its diverse customer base, project sizes, and the factors influencing its expansion. Join us on a journey through the complexities and opportunities in this dynamic sector, with a focus on Power My Home.

Understanding Commercial Solar: Commercial solar isn’t simply about powering businesses; it spans a wide range of customers, including large corporations, local businesses, governments, schools, and nonprofits. Projects can take the form of rooftop arrays or ground mounts, varying in size from kilowatts to multi-megawatts. The commercial solar landscape is expansive, offering flexibility from ground-mount installations to innovative use of rooftop space, all under the expertise of Power My Home.

The Commercial Solar Opportunity: Researchers at UC Davis, utilizing Aurora solar software, have explored the potential of commercial buildings in the U.S. Their findings showcase the immense opportunity, with a Texas-based aerospace company having the potential to generate 88 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean energy. This extreme example underscores the variability in project sizes within the sector, presenting a diverse range of possibilities for Power My Home to harness.

Constraints on Commercial Solar: Despite its potential, commercial solar has faced hurdles, leading to slower growth compared to residential and utility-scale solar. Factors contributing to this include historically lower commercial electricity prices, split incentives for building owners, and complex financing structures. Overcoming these challenges is crucial for Power My Home to unlock the full potential of commercial solar.

Solutions to Barriers: Efforts are underway to overcome challenges in the commercial solar sector. Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) have emerged as a key financing option, allowing investors to absorb upfront costs while consumers gradually pay off the system. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and SolarKal, highlights the diverse project structures and financing options available, emphasizing the sector’s cost competitiveness with utility energy.

Current Scale and Future Growth: As of the latest data, the U.S. has over 8,300 megawatts (MW) of commercial solar projects across 43 states, representing approximately 70% of all installed commercial capacity. While impressive, commercial solar still trails behind the residential and utility-scale markets. However, indicators suggest significant growth potential, with the sector poised to take off as barriers are addressed, with Power My Home almost at the forefront of this transformative journey.

Commercial Solar Benefits: Commercial solar offers a multitude of benefits to various stakeholders. Building owners can experience increased operating income and longer lease terms, while tenants enjoy reduced operating costs through utility bill savings. Power My Home, as close to leading solar contractors navigating this sector, can capitalize on economies of scale, making commercial projects potentially more lucrative than residential ones.

Conclusion: This article serves as an introduction to the world of commercial solar, offering insights into its diverse nature, challenges, and potential for growth.  As we look to the future, commercial solar stands as a pivotal pillar in the broader growth of solar energy, presenting exciting opportunities for all stakeholders involved. Including Elemental Energy & Energy Economics.

 

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