British Columbia will need to use wind energy to support commerce in the north and northeastern parts of the province if it is going to meet its targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to a report commissioned by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
The report, conducted by the Pembina Institute, looks at the amount of new electricity that will be required to power the literally hundreds of oil and gas, mining and other industrial projects proposed in northern British Columbia, and the reduction in GHGs that can be achieved if those projects are powered by wind energy rather than by fossil fuels.
The report finds that emissions could be cut significantly – by approximately 3.13 million tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) per year by 2017, and by 8.86 million tons of CO2e per year in 2025 – if those projects are powered by clean energy.
The report cites that new industrial developments will have to be connected to renewable, grid-based energy if the province is to meet its legislated targets to reduce its emissions to 45 million tons by 2020 and 13.5 million tons or greater reductions by 2050.
CanWEA finds that BC Hydro's latest load forecast report, released in December 2010, does not take into account the dozens of new mines, several liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and increased investment in natural gas production in the northeast that have been announced since then. That report found that additional demand for power will reach nearly 12,000 GWh of electricity in 2017 and nearly 24,000 GWh by 2025, compared to BC Hydro's forecasts of an additional electricity load of only 5,800 GWh by 2017 and 6,500 GWh by 2025.