Friday, August 28, 2009

BC Government forges ahead with clean energy plan

BLUEFUELENERGY.COM: The summer of 2009 has certainly been a tumultuous one for the renewable energy industry here in British Columbia. On July 26 the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC)—an independent regulatory agency of the provincial government—shocked the industry and the government by rejecting the 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP) of BC Hydro, a BC crown corporation, saying that it was not in the public interest and ordering BC Hydro to deliver a new LTAP by June 30, 2010. That myopic decision completely ignored the BC Government’s 2007 Energy Plan and various other progressive policies. It also dropped a wet blanket on billions of dollars in investment in green power generation. Appalled by this cheeky pulling of the plug on its initiatives, the government boldly stated its resolve to pick the plug up off the floor and jam it back in the socket.

A mere month after the BCUC decision debacle, the BC Government appears ready to deliver; in its August 25 throne speech (outlining the agenda for the upcoming session of the legislature) the government clearly states what it plans to do to ensure that BC is a leader in renewable energy and climate change mitigation. Sections of the speech most germane to the renewable energy industry are as follows:
  • “Green energy will be a cornerstone of British Columbia's climate action plan.”
  • “Electricity self-sufficiency and clean, renewable power generation will be integral to our effort to fight global warming.
  • The BC Utilities Commission will receive specific direction.
  • Phasing out Burrard Thermal is a critical component of B.C.'s greenhouse gas reduction strategy.” (Burrard Thermal is an archaic natural gas power generation facility that BCUC proposed ramping up.)
  • “Further, this government will capitalize on the world's desire and need for clean energy, for the benefit of all British Columbians.” (Clean power exports . . . )
  • “Whether it is the development of Site C, run-of-river hydro power, wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, or bioenergy and biomass — British Columbia will take every step necessary to become a clean energy powerhouse, as indicated in the BC Energy Plan.”
  • “We will build on past successes with new strategies aimed at developing new clean, renewable power as a competitive advantage to stimulate new investment, industry and employment.”
  • New energy producers will be looking for long-term investments leveraged through long-term power contracts that give them a competitive edge in our province.
  • “We will open up that power potential with new vigour, new prescribed clean power calls and new investments in transmission.”
  • A new Green Energy Advisory Task Force will shortly be appointed to complement the work of the BCUC's long-term transmission requirement review. That task force will be asked to recommend a blueprint for maximizing British Columbia's clean power potential, including a principled, economically-viable and environmentally-sustainable export development policy.”
  • “It will review the policies, incentives and impediments currently affecting B.C.'s green power potential, and it will identify best practices employed in other leading jurisdictions.”
  • Low-carbon gas development is the key to maximizing B.C.'s energy potential where it can occur with minimal environmental impact.

Although the government does not specifically mention carbon-neutral Blue Fuel/DME in this speech from the throne, it does support its production by:

1) Vigorously promoting expansion of renewable electricity generation above and beyond large-scale hydro, which is currently the basis for Blue Fuel/DME production in the province;
2) Recognizing that gas is a key to maximizing the province’s energy potential, but that this gas must be low-carbon (for example, natural gas in which the CO2 is “actively sequestered” or recycled, as it would be to produce Blue Fuel/DME.

We at Blue Fuel Energy look forward to learning more about the “specific direction” that the BC Government will shortly be providing BCUC.

1 comment:

  1. Question: would it not be more effective to convert syngas into diesel as opposed to BF?

    Also, is there hydrogen needed if the source for the syngas is biomass?