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Province invests in hydrogen to help transition to cleaner energy

The Government of British Columbia has allocated $10 million to the construction and operation of 10 hydrogen fuelling stations in the province, as well as three years of support for Hydrogen BC.

Hyrodgen BC is a new entity of the Canadian Hydrogen Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA), with a focus on British Columbia.

“For British Columbia to reach its CleanBC targets, we must shift how we produce and consume energy,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Hydrogen will play a significant role in B.C.’s sustainable energy future, generating environmental and economic benefits across the province.”

The minister made the funding announcement on Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020, in Vancouver at f-cell+HFC 2020, an online conference where international specialists discuss solutions for clean energy focused on hydrogen and fuel cells.

Hydrogen BC is a new provincial partnership that will co-ordinate stakeholders in the sector to promote and accelerate the use of hydrogen technologies in B.C., including fuelling stations and vehicles. Hydrogen BC operates as part of the CHFCA. Its membership is expected to be made up of automakers, major energy and industrial gas companies, hydrogen fuelling infrastructure suppliers, universities, non-governmental organizations, governments and fleet users, such as ports, carshares and transit agencies.

British Columbia has the largest hydrogen fuelling network and the first public hydrogen fuelling station in Canada. There are currently three public hydrogen fuelling stations operating in the province (including one opened on June 25, 2020), with three more to open by the end of 2021. The three operating stations are in Vancouver, Burnaby and North Vancouver. The three stations under development are in Saanich, Kelowna and Burnaby.

The development of hydrogen fuelling stations in B.C. helps the province achieve its targets in the Zero Emission Vehicles Act and supports its leadership in Canada with the highest per-capita electric-vehicle adoption.

B.C. is home to world-leading hydrogen technology companies. The development of hydrogen fuelling stations leads to the development of good jobs. British Columbia’s zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) sector includes an estimated 250 companies that provide 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs (up by 2,150 from 2015) and contribute $600 million to the provincial gross domestic product (GDP) – almost double the 2015 GDP contribution of $373 million. Combined with indirect and induced economic impacts, the B.C. ZEV sector supports over 10,400 full-time equivalent jobs and contributes $1.1 billion to B.C.’s GDP. 

“Through our CleanBC climate and economic plan, we’re working with industry to support the transition to cleaner technologies like hydrogen to help meet our emissions reductions targets and support good jobs for people across the province,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Sustainably produced hydrogen holds enormous potential to change the way we fuel our vehicles and address the challenge of clean, low-emission heavy-duty truck transportation as we work together to build a cleaner, better B.C. following the impacts of COVID-19.”

The $10 million in funding comes before the fall 2020 release of a hydrogen strategy for British Columbia. The strategy will set out a vision for how B.C. will meet its clean energy goals by supporting the use of hydrogen to reduce pollution and will identify more job opportunities for British Columbians.

Hydrogen plays an important role in B.C.’s sustainable energy future and provides opportunity for sectors to deliver safe and cost-efficient emissions reductions. Fuel production and refining sectors will be able to create less carbon-intensive fuels for use in B.C.’s existing infrastructure. The natural gas sector can blend hydrogen into natural gas distribution systems to reduce pollution associated with generating heat and hot water. The transportation sector can use hydrogen in fuel-cell electric vehicles to help replace diesel used in medium- and heavy-duty transportation.

CleanBC is a pathway to a more prosperous, balanced and sustainable future. It was developed in collaboration with the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement to implement climate action to meet B.C.’s emission targets.

Quote:

Mark Kirby, president and CEO, CHFCA –

“The CHFCA is pleased to continue and expand its collaboration with the B.C. government’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen fuelling stations and zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in British Columbia. With ministry support, the CHFCA’s Hydrogen BC branch will engage the private sector and stakeholders, leveraging the additional $10 million funding for new hydrogen fuelling stations. This leads to at least 10 additional stations to complement the current seven stations in the province, and will ensure that B.C. stays at the forefront of the vital hydrogen energy and fuel cell sector, even as interest, activity and investment ramps up around the world.”

Quick Facts:

  • Shifting away from higher-emitting fossil fuels is essential if B.C. is to meet the CleanBC target to reduce emissions by 80% in 2050.
  • Hydrogen alone has the potential to reduce the province’s emissions by 31% of the 2050 CleanBC target in the best-case scenario.
  • Hydrogen fuelling takes three to five minutes for an average-sized tank.
  • The range of light-duty hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles is 600 kilometres.

Learn More:

CleanBC helps reduce pollution and powers the future with renewable energy: https://cleanbc.gov.bc.ca/ 

To view the British Columbia Hydrogen Study, completed in 2019, which will help inform B.C.’s upcoming hydrogen strategy, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/government/ministries-organizations/zen-bcbn-hydrogen-study-final-v6.pdf

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