Support for renewable energy is surging in British Columbia as public support for liquified natural gas (LNG) drops, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The findings come about a month after the provincial government unveiled BC Hydro’s $36-billion investment plan to expand the power grid over the coming decades to help meet decarbonization targets. When the province’s energy plans were unveiled, David Suzuki Foundation senior climate policy adviser Tom Green told Canada’s National Observer it was encouraging to see the province recognize the value of clean electricity as fossil fuels are replaced.

However, he warned that as the LNG industry expands, the province risks squandering precious electrons needed to decarbonize the rest of the economy by using its clean power advantage to electrify LNG production. A booming LNG export industry could need up to 8.4 Site C’s worth of power, he said. (Site C is a 1,100-megawatt generating hydro dam with a price tag of approximately $16 billion.)

Electrifying LNG “would undermine the province’s ability to meet the need for electricity to power heat pumps, EVs and industry as we swap out polluting fossil fuels across the economy,” Green said. “This LNG expansion would be working against critical climate objectives, both domestically and globally.

“LNG locks in emissions, locks up investment and locks out renewables."

The polling published Wednesday suggests the public’s support for electrifying LNG is on increasingly thin ice.

Among high-level findings identified by polling firm Stratcom for the Simon Fraser University-based think tank Clean Energy Canada is that the public overwhelmingly supports clean energy expansion plans. Of those surveyed, 40 per cent believe the government is acting at the right time and a further 33 per cent think the expansion is overdue.

When asked about the provincial government’s energy priorities, support for renewables has grown to 69 per cent, up from 61 per cent recorded in November 2020.

At the same time, support for LNG has dropped from 22 per cent in November 2020 to 15 per cent now.

“Given a choice between investing more in clean energy versus LNG — because in many ways, it is a choice — the preference is overwhelmingly in favour of the former. And that preference seems to be growing.”

The amount of people who said they don’t know has remained unchanged at 17 per cent over the years.

“Whether LNG grows or shrinks in popularity among British Columbians depends — to an underappreciated extent — on whether it’s seen as a free lunch or a decision with many tradeoffs. Not just tradeoffs for our climate, but also for our limited resources,” Clean Energy Canada communications director Trevor Melanson told Canada’s National Observer.

“What do we want our taxpayer dollars funding? Where do we want our limited electricity going?” he added. “B.C. can’t do it all, and when understood from this perspective, we start to see the floor fall out from under LNG.

“Given a choice between investing more in clean energy versus LNG — because in many ways, it is a choice — the preference is overwhelmingly in favour of the former. And that preference seems to be growing.”

The province’s spending plan will see $36 billion deployed over the next decade to build transmission lines and substations and upgrade existing dams and other power generation infrastructure. The 10-year electricity blueprint represents a 50 per cent spending increase from the province’s previous capital spending plans, the government said.

“We must expand our electrical system like never before, to power industrial development, to power our homes and businesses, to power our future,” said B.C. Premier David Eby in a statement at the time. “Clean, affordable energy will help us meet that opportunity, while reducing pollution, securing good-paying jobs and creating new opportunities for our growing economy.”

Increasing the amount of clean electricity is a vital step in the race against climate change. That’s because the benefits of electric vehicles, high-efficiency heat pumps and other consumer goods cannot be realized if the electricity needed comes from polluting sources. Industries also need clean electricity to power their operations and cut emissions. As jurisdictions like the United States and the European Union design carbon tariffs on goods, a clean power grid becomes important for business competitiveness.

The poll also found that LNG development ranks last among the public’s preferred economic opportunities. Developing renewable energy, manufacturing clean technologies, clean hydrogen production, sustainably procured metals and minerals, engineered wood products and natural gas production all rank higher than exporting LNG.

Of those polled, 65 per cent believe LNG companies should cover the cost of additional electricity they need, compared to 15 per cent who believe the province should shoulder the cost.

Keep reading

It's a no brainer. It remains to be seen if the British Columbia electorate are smart enough to resist disinformation from the Fossil Fuel industry........and give the B.C. NDP another term to begin this energy transition. We've wasted about as much time as we can on boondoggles like Fossil clean transitional fuel can come from a substance that is mostly methane, and leaks it at every stage in the extraction and refining process.

A clean electrical grid, affordable heat pumps, reliable EVs.........and more roof top solar are all part of the infamous 'low hanging fruit' now. For the love of the grandkids...........LET'S GIT ER DONE.

A decade ago the gas industry saw that local BC prices were about $2 and the world price was about $10. By exporting they could theoretically increase their profits by 5 times.

Once BC is on the commodities export market one of the big benefits will be that we will be competing on the world market, so household methane will also likely increase by 5 times.

Note the industry benefits both from a bigger market overseas and by scalping the locals.

So make sure you support our freedom to install methane furnaces, hot water and stoves; that will lock-in a lot of profit for the methane industry. Sure, you might not be able to afford to heat your house, but it will lead to increased GDP, trade and all the other benefits government and industry like to talk about.

Yes....we can all see from that perspective, that it makes a lot of sense!!! Not to mention the side benefit of taking emissions into the stratosphere and signing the death warrant to any future remotely ressembling what we've grown used to. Change is good, no??
Sometimes, NO is all we need to understand.

I just do not understand why the BC NDP is backing this crap. And I don't just mean I oppose it, I mean I don't get why they would do something that goes against what I would expect them to want to do ideologically, is unpopular, and as far as I can tell there's little money involved for the province once you factor in tax breaks and shit. What is their motivation?

Motivation? Why do lunatics howl at the moon? You haven't been following BC politics or you would know the answer, its the Golden Fleece or in modern times golden parachute, a job with the industry they have served while in office. Believe me the list is endless from Horgan to Diane Nicholls

"Since 2017, a steady stream of high level NDP insiders have left the party to become corporate lobbyists, many of them for oil and gas. They’re using their connections to old friends and colleagues to access and influence the highest ranking decision-makers we have in this province. The fracking industry has an especially tight grip on the BC NDP.
It’s no wonder David Eby’s campaign worked behind the scenes to eliminate the one person who would force him into a real climate debate." - Dogwood