Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

BC Hydro and the provincial government have announced a new five-year plan for the Crown corporation that provides incentives for people to switch from fossil fuels to electricity to power their homes, businesses and vehicles.

Under the plan announced Tuesday, BC Hydro will spend nearly $190 million to promote fuel switching in homes, buildings, vehicles and industry.

More than $50 million will be spent to attract industries to B.C. to run their businesses and reduce their carbon footprint by using hydroelectricity.

Story continues below advertisement

Bruce Ralston, the province’s minister of energy, mines and low carbon innovation, called the plan “ambitious” and said it could lead to lower rates for BC Hydro customers, potentially by about 1.6 per cent by 2026.

“We plan to use B.C.’s clean power advantage, the power of water to transition away from using fossil fuels like gasoline, diesel and natural gas to using clean electricity over the next five years,” he told a news conference.

Premier John Horgan said the plan could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 930,000 tonnes by 2026. That is equivalent to taking about 200,000 passenger vehicles a year off the road, he noted.

“Those solutions will lead to what we call energy switching, moving away from fossil fuels and taking up more clean, green electrified options,” Horgan said.

This plan builds on existing rebates and customer supports for the installation of heat pumps, electric vehicle chargers and electrification measures, he said.

The province announced in January that it would set up an electrification fund using about $84 million from the federal government’s infrastructure investment program. The fund aims to reduce the costs of connecting to the power grid and supporting certain industrial customers upgrading their connections.

The amount would cover up to 50 per cent of a customer’s eligible costs, such as new transmission lines, to a maximum of $15 million.

Story continues below advertisement

It said then that depending on the industrial facilities that participate, these electrification initiatives could reduce the release of more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Ralston said homeowners can benefit from new top-up incentives that could save them about $3,000 over existing rebates on electric heat pumps if they’re switching from natural gas.

The government also plans to “more than triple” the number of public fast-charging stations for electric vehicles by 2025, he said.

In July, the B.C. government announced a hydrogen strategy involving government, industry and innovators to help the province achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Ralston said then that the short-term goals include establishing regional hydrogen hubs to supply fuel to industries and consumers. This would take place while increasing the number of medium and heavy-duty vehicles powered by hydrogen on highways and at industrial sites, he added.

At the news conference Tuesday, Horgan emphasized the role of such “cutting-edge innovations” along with the push for hydro power to help the province switch from fossil fuels.

Story continues below advertisement

Chris O’Riley, president of BC Hydro, said the province has been powered by clean energy for decades by dams and generating stations.

“The impacts of climate change, though, continue to confront us,” O’Riley said, noting the drought conditions, heat wave and fires over the past summer.

“Thanks to the clean power advantage we have here in B.C., we are well positioned to act on climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies