BC amends regulation to increase renewable gas production, use

British Columbia (BC) has amended the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Clean Energy) Regulation to increase the production and use of renewable gas, as well as green and waste hydrogen in the province.

With this change, BC hopes to generate jobs and economic opportunities while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the province.

BC is the first province in Canada to make these changes allowing for the increased production of renewable gas, including hydrogen. The amendments support the province’s upcoming hydrogen strategy, which will include ‘ambitious’ goals to increase the production and use of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen to help achieve climate targets.

“A key part of our CleanBC strategy is increasing the use of hydrogen and other renewable gases in place of fossil fuels in vehicles, buildings, and industry,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation.

“The changes we’ve made to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) will provide natural gas utilities with more flexibility, stimulate investments in renewable energy, and accelerate the growth of hydrogen and renewable gas supply in their systems while keeping rates affordable for their customers.”

The GGR allows utilities like FortisBC and Pacific Northern Gas to make time-limited investments, within spending and volumetric caps, to stimulate the domestic market for renewable gases and reduce GHG emissions.

Roger Dall’Antonia, president and CEO of FortisBC, said: “Changes to the GGRR are important to accelerate the growth of BC’s renewable gas supply.

“By increasing the renewable gas cap and expanding the regulation to include other renewable gases, such as hydrogen, we’re entering an exciting new phase of renewable energy development that will accelerate the transformation of our natural gas infrastructure into a delivery system for carbon-neutral energy.”

The amendment will enable utilities to increase the amount of RNG, green and waste hydrogen, and other renewable energy they can acquire and make available to customers by:

  • Increasing the amount of renewable gas utilities can acquire and supply from 5% to 15% of their total annual supply of natural gas;

  • Broadening the methods by which utilities can obtain hydrogen, RNG, and other renewable gases to include producing it or upgrading it themselves for injection into the pipeline, or paying a third party to do so, or purchasing hydrogen, synthesis gas, or lignin to displace the use of natural gas at customers’ facilities;

  • Allowing the current price cap of $30 (€40) per gigajoule that utilities can pay to acquire any of these fuels to increase with inflation;

  • Enabling utilities to acquire and supply green and waste hydrogen, synthesis gas, and lignin.

The changes to the GGRR will help to achieve CleanBC objectives, which commit to a 15% renewable gas content in the natural gas system by 2030.

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