Energy in the Throne Speech
On Monday, BC's Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point, read the Liberal Government's 2009 pre-election Throne Speech. It comes just a day before the provincial budget, and the two documents together are both a plan to run the province in the next fiscal year, and a platform to get the Liberals elected again in May.
Economic collapse, Olympic size budget overruns, growing public unrest about energy privatization, fish farms, oil tankers on the coast, coalbed methane, Pacific Gateway, Northern Gateway, and always the threat or hope that truth will out on Basi-Virk and how deeply that story penetrates into the vital organs of the Liberal beast.
Here is the full text of the 2009 Speech from the Throne:
These are the energy highlights as presented by the government in its news release:
- Government will work to help commercialize biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol production that turns wood waste into clean fuel. "help commercialize"? What is that? The Liberal government is so fixated on finding some, any, positive spin to wrap around the beetle-kill devastation across the province that it has lost sight of the fact that the feed stock for these energy schemes is here today in a wood-fibre tsunami, and will be gone tomorrow. Then what? Give us strategy, not electoral tactics.
- B.C. will pursue reciprocal arrangements and equivalency agreements to allow one thorough, comprehensive and scientific environmental assessment for one project. Industry hates regulatory and permitting processes. When the federal and provincial governments run parallel processes, as they are doing for Plutonic's huge 17 stream Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project, it costs companies money and time. The Liberals are playing to its corporate supporters with this one.
- The Province will set an integrated, expanded transmission plan that encourages small-scale power projects, economic opportunity and jobs throughout B.C. by year end. Is this a case of the right hand doesn't know what its other right hand is up to? The Province has given the BC Utilities Commission the task of inquiring into tranmission issues in BC, with a duty to report by the middle of 2010. What sense does it make, then, to set out a transmission plan in advance of the BCUC findings and recommendations? Duh.
- New investments will be made in carbon-sequestration technology. Oh, great. It's somewhat like the Hydrogen Highway - a massive capital investment in high tech la la land combined with the only possible panacea that allows business as usual in a climate change world for some pretty big corporate interests in BC.
- Government will pursue a major expansion in electrical transmission capacity that will create thousands of new construction jobs and reduce energy loss through transmission. Refer back to the earlier item about transmission, the BCUC inquiry, etc.
- Government will work to expand transmission capacity along Highway 37 to open mining and energy opportunities while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Let's see. The government claims that BC is a net importer of electricity. If that's the case, where will all this power come from to power up the proposed mines? Bute Inlet? And if mining companies will be the primary beneficiaries of the transmission line, who then should pay for it?
- The goal of a Northeast Transmission Line will be pursued to fuel energy development and reduce greenhouse gases.
- British Columbia will build on its competitive advantage as a global leader in clean engine technologies through a new commercial vehicle program that will help to create cleaner air, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs, create jobs in research, development and manufacturing. I can hear them over at Ballard jumping with joy.
The complete speech
Here's most of the energy stuff, verbatim, from the speech. There is a certain amoung of padding, shall we say, and stuff from last year trundled out again.
Energy is another core competitive advantage for British Columbia.
B.C. is a low-carbon energy powerhouse.
New technologies and the global hunger for clean, low-carbon energy and new sources of traditional energy are putting B.C. in the driver's seat.
Even with our commitment to meet 50 per cent of B.C.'s future electricity needs through conservation, more power will be needed to ensure we are electricity self-sufficient by 2016.
Electric plug-in vehicles and other technologies aimed at reducing fossil fuel dependency will place new demands on our electricity system.
We can meet those demands and create jobs and opportunities for our citizens.
Our government will build on its Clean Energy Plan with new direction to BC Hydro and to the British Columbia Utilities Commission.
We will lead North America in creating green power that retains our low cost "heritage power" advantage for B.C. ratepayers.
We will build on our plan to ensure that at least 90 per cent of all new power produced in B.C. comes from clean sources.
More work will be done this year to advance the dialogue on Site C to decide its merit.
Independent power production will continue to create new jobs in rural communities.
Your government will not turn its back on those rural jobs.
Nor will it close its eyes to the dire fact of climate change or the significant contributions we can make in reducing greenhouse gases.
We will open up new opportunities for private investment to create jobs and meet our needs.
That will not only be good for our economy, it will be good for our planet.
Our government will pursue a major expansion in transmission capacity that will create thousands of new construction jobs and reduce energy loss through transmission.
The goal of a Northeast Transmission Line will be pursued.
An integrated, expanded transmission plan that encourages small scale power projects, economic opportunity and jobs throughout B.C. will be set by year end.
We can become global leaders in wind, run-of-river, tidal, geothermal, wave, solar and other forms of clean, renewable power and leading-edge transmission technologies.
Energy opportunities will transform the future of forestry in British Columbia with clean, carbon-neutral bioenergy, fueled by biomass from beetle-killed forests.
It will mean new jobs, new revenue streams and new electricity.
It will create new uses for waste wood left on the forest floor and reduce forest fire hazards.
It will encourage replanting in areas that would not otherwise be reforested and generate new value in the green economy as standing "carbon sinks."
These are the green fields of opportunity created by independent power producers.
We cannot turn our backs on them and still say that we care about climate change, rural job creation, clean power, or the future of our forest industry.
It is time to grow that potential.
Natural gas is one of the cleanest-burning fossil fuels. It too is an important source of rural jobs and investment in our province.
Our government will open up that industry while still ensuring the province meets its legal greenhouse gas reduction targets.
New policies are in place to require the elimination of routine gas flaring by 2016.
New investments will be made in carbon sequestration technology.
With that policy framework in mind, B.C. will make the most of its remarkable wealth of natural gas.
The Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program will continue to spur road and pipeline infrastructure in new and undeveloped areas of B.C.
The new Net Profit Royalty Program will generate jobs and investment in fields that are remote or technically challenging.
The Horn River and Montney Basins alone have as much as 69 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.
That could yield over $37 billion in provincial royalty revenue, enough to fund the Ministry of Environment for over 130 years.
And that is only two basins. And one type of revenue.
In 2008, we saw record oil and gas land rights sales of $2.66 billion.
Beyond that, the industry pays corporate tax, personal income tax, sales tax, property tax — and more.
Those dollars go to support priorities like health care and education in our communities.
Far from government subsidizing energy, energy is subsidizing government.
That is why the Province has just enhanced the Deep Well Royalty Program.
The Bowser Basin, Nechako Basin and offshore reserves all offer significant long-term potential.
The new North will build on that abundance.
This government will work with First Nations, northern communities and the private sector to open up a new Northern Energy Corridor.
We can build on our potential to ship clean, liquid natural gas to Asia that will reduce its growing dependency on coal power and dramatically cut greenhouse gases.
British Columbia can build on its competitive advantage as a global leader in clean engine technologies that use natural gas and renewable bio-gas as fuel for trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles.
A new commercial vehicle program will help to build on that potential, to create cleaner air, lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower costs and create more jobs in research, development and manufacturing.
British Columbia can build on its position as a global leader in fuel cell, compressed natural gas and hydrogen technologies.
All of those technologies are being driven and supported by our Climate Action Plan.
Those policies stimulate innovation, research, investment and job creation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They convert landfill gas into clean energy.
They use bio-waste to produce clean energy.
Our government will work to help commercialize biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol production that turns waste wood into clean fuel.
Energy is as much of the new forest industry's future as lumber, trade and pulp and paper.
Tough as things are for forest workers and companies today, the forest industry remains vital to our future.
The new forest industry must be nimble, productive and innovative. It can be.
Over 90 per cent of the wood pellets we produce in B.C. are exported to Europe and Japan for clean thermal power production.
The new green economy and the world's thirst for green power is driving that market.