FortisBC presents Renewable Energy Master Plan – Victoria News

One of British Columbia’s leading utilities explained how the province can reduce its energy use by 30% by 2030.

FortisBC says the province is facing electrification or diversified energy pathways to meet the energy reduction targets set by the province and is in favor of the diversified option.

“We do not believe that we should choose between gas or electricity to optimize our energy system, we both have to drive in the same direction at the same time to reach the target of energy reduction of 80% of the province by 2050, ”said Tyler Bryant responsible for carbon energy and policy for FortisBC.

Bryant was part of a team of FortisBC officials who presented a vision for energy use for the future on Friday, June 4, which will impact homeowners, businesses and the transportation industry.

This vision was reinforced by a study conducted by Guidehouse Inc. commissioned by Fortis, over an 18-month period from 2019 to 2020, which chose the diversified path as the best option to meet demands for greenhouse gas reductions. .

“British Columbia is a unique place that we know very well for having operated as a public service in this province for over 100 years,” said Bryant.

“We have a unique energy system, so where we go from here, what might work elsewhere will not work here. We have to define our own plan.

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

“There are no free lunches here. Decarbonizing BC’s economy will be a challenge… we really need everyone on the bridge to produce as much clean energy as possible.

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

He added that electrification will require new large-scale hydropower plant infrastructure and energy storage capacities to meet peak demand periods, noting that the current Site C project will quickly maximize its power supply capabilities. energy soon after 2030.

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

But with challenges come opportunities, said Bryant, noting that British Columbia already has a vast source of hydroelectric power, a forest sector that produces waste biomass that can be reused as renewable energy. and which have the potential to further develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.

Along with infrastructure, Bryant said the technology for new energy products, such as high efficiency natural gas heat pumps to produce heat and hot water, new energy efficient buildings and concepts for energy saving, as well as electricity, natural gas and other renewable energies. motor vehicles that reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

“The key point here is that we maintain that using a gas-fired system is not inconsistent with long-term greenhouse gas reduction goals. We hear concerns about being locked into a higher-emitting gas system, but we reverse that idea with the idea of ​​a gas distribution system as a built-in significant reduction potential that we think we can. use, ”he said.

“Fortis is well positioned to contribute to either of these route options… but we just think that with the diverse approach, we don’t put all of our energy eggs in one basket.

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Lois Mendez

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