The Government of British Columbia could create 400 more permanent regional jobs and cut carbon pollution by a third—without undermining competitiveness—if it required liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers to primarily power their facilities with renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
That’s the bottom line of Lock in Jobs, Not Pollution: How British Columbia’s Proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Industry Can Create a Lasting Renewable Energy Legacy—and Why It Should, our new report.
We found that requiring LNG producers to maximize use of renewable energy—by building their plants with electric drive technology—would not price the plants out of the competitive global market.
The government has stated that LNG production is all about jobs and opportunities. It’s really exciting to now know that the province can create more permanent employment—without significantly affecting the competitiveness of this proposed new industry—by directing companies to maximize their use of renewable energy.
“LNG may be here today, but one day the boom will go bust,” says Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations. “By directing these plants to run on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, the province could provide opportunities for First Nations communities measured in decades, not years.”
“If the LNG companies and government choose to primarily power this sector with renewables, then B.C.’s clean power industry is ready to deliver with a cost-effective product,” said Paul Kariya, executive director of Clean Energy British Columbia. “We have the expertise, the companies, track record and relationships, especially with First Nations, to do it on the North Coast, and do it right.”
If the first three LNG plants come online by 2020—as the province proposes—and if all maximize their use of renewables, an additional 400 jobs will exist between the cities of Kitimat, Prince Rupert, and Terrace, the report finds. This represents a 45 percent increase in permanent employment in the region relative to a scenario in which facilities burn gas.
We hope and expect these findings will not only inform critical ongoing negotiations between government and industry, but also inspire debate amongst British Columbians who may be concerned about the pace and scale of the proposed LNG industry and the best, most responsible path forward for the province.