British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy and Mines has instituted a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction regulation that will help to diversify and increase the market for natural gas in British Columbia’s transportation sector as well as deliver on its Natural Gas Strategy.
Announced by the Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman, this regulation allows utility companies to deliver natural gas transportation programs, including the opportunities to:
- Offer incentives to transportation fleets that would use natural gas, such as buses, trucks or ferries.
- Build, own and operate compressed natural gas fuelling stations or liquefied natural gas fuelling stations.
- Provide training and upgrades to maintenance facilities to safely maintain natural gas-powered vehicles.
“It makes sense to develop a market for natural gas transportation here in B.C. by using our abundant natural gas reserves. This regulation will help us build on our global leadership in clean transportation, bringing new jobs and more economic opportunities to the province,” said Minister Coleman.
These programs will increase options and opportunities for the transportation industry to use natural gas, a cheaper and cleaner option than traditional fuels like gasoline and diesel. By encouraging the use of natural gas, the Province is making use of one of B.C.’s natural resources. The use of natural gas in transportation supports economic development and new jobs at B.C.-based natural gas technology and services companies.
In developing this regulation, the Province consulted with about 20 organizations including utilities, fleet companies, communities, fuel suppliers and the natural gas vehicle industry.
Alicia Milner, president of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance (CNGVA), commented: “British Columbia took a bold step forward today with the announcement of a transformational program linking the Province’s economic interests in the supply chain for natural gas, natural gas vehicles, and stations with its GHG reduction goals. This remarkable program is a first for Canada. It leverages work that is already underway through the Canadian Roadmap initiative to remove barriers and educate fleet owners. It also gives British Columbia a huge head-start in the race to more sustainable, lower carbon transportation.”
Likewise, natural gas engine manufacturer Westport Innovations believes this important program will benefit British Columbia’s economy, environment and transportation options for industry.
“This is a positive step that will promote the use of domestic BC natural gas as a transportation fuel, and generate both environmental and economic benefits for our province and residents,” said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. “British Columbia is home to world-class companies that both generate and use natural gas transportation technology, and this program will allow the accelerated adoption of natural gas heavy-duty vehicles.”
Promoting natural gas as a transportation fuel is a key action in British Columbia’s Natural Gas Strategy. The CNGVA says the total Canadian natural gas resource (not including methane hydrates) is now estimated at approximately 100 years of supply at current demand levels.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines lists the following ‘quick facts’:
- The regulation permits a utility to spend up to $62 million on vehicle and ferry incentives, up to $12 million on compressed natural gas fuelling stations and up to $30.5 million on liquefied natural gas stations, for a total of $104.5 million.
- The Province will require annual reporting on the programs being offered to review success and determine if any changes are required.
- Natural gas is 25 per cent to 40 per cent cheaper than gasoline and diesel.
- A natural gas-powered vehicle produces 20 per cent to 30 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to a gasoline or diesel vehicle.
- British Columbia is home to world-leading natural gas vehicle industries, including engine and refuelling technology.
- The Province is offering incentives to provide up to $2,500 off the sticker price for qualifying compressed natural gas vehicles. This is being offered through the $14.3 million Clean Energy Vehicle Program, announced in November 2011.
(This article primarily compiled using information from a Ministry of Energy and Mines press release)