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Media release
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
March 8, 2010

Green energy
could pay off B.C.’s debt

B.C. could be North America’s pre-eminent
renewable green energy powerhouse

“Why would we not pursue the export opportunities
available to us, and why would the people of B.C. not
support doing so given the amazing triple legacy that B.C.’s
green energy resources could provide to future generations?”

— Bruce Sanderson, co-spokesperson
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy

Vancouver, B.C. — B.C. Citizens for Green Energy (BCCGE) has just released a new research report exploring B.C.’s immense potential for generating renewable green energy and the substantial revenue that could be generated for the people of B.C. through an effective export policy.

BCCGE’s research report, entitled “A Triple Legacy for Future Generations: British Columbia’s Potential as a Renewable Green Energy Powerhouse,” shows that revenues in the range of $4.3 Billion per year could potentially be realized by the people of British Columbia by unlocking the province’s green energy resources—potentially enough revenue to wipe out the province’s debt and then eventually replace the revenue now raised through the provincial sales tax (PST).

BCCGE co-spokesperson Bruce Sanderson says Quebec and Manitoba are already generating considerable revenue for the people of their provinces by exporting renewable energy to neighbouring provinces and states—and helping reduce dependence on coal-fired and gas-fired electricity in these jurisdictions.

“If British Columbia’s incredible green energy potential was unlocked and put to work helping B.C.’s neighbouring provinces and states, it would generate equally substantial revenues for the people of this province, if not more,” Sanderson said.

“Renewable green energy is something our American neighbours need to help them meet their renewable energy and climate change goals, and that puts British Columbia in the driver’s seat for a change and lets us turn the tables in our trading relationship with the Americans.”

Sanderson points out that BC Hydro already trades a considerable amount of clean energy with neighbouring jurisdictions through its profitable Powerex division.  This benefits BC Hydro ratepayers by keeping BC Hydro’s electricity rates low for British Columbians.  

However, over the past decade, BC Hydro has gone from being a net exporter of clean, renewable electricity to being a net importer of non-renewable, typically coal-fired electricity from places like Alberta.

As a net importer of electricity, Sanderson says, B.C. is essentially exporting jobs, adding to greenhouse gas emissions, and losing significant revenues that could be coming to B.C. through development of B.C.’s green energy potential and an effective export policy.

“Last week’s provincial budget and the recent Throne Speech show that the province is moving in the right direction on green energy, but I’m disappointed that clearer direction wasn’t given to every arm of the government—including BC Hydro—that the province is ready to act decisively, today, to develop B.C.’s green energy potential,” Sanderson said. 

Sanderson says BCCGE encourages the province to go further and faster than they have so far in unlocking B.C.’s renewable green energy potential so the people of B.C. can enjoy the financial, economic and environmental benefits—including the potential to pay down and even eliminate the province’s debt.

“B.C.’s green energy resources give us with an amazing opportunity to leave a triple legacy for future generations through a secure supply of renewable electricity, a substantial reduction in the impacts of global climate change, and the elimination of B.C.’s provincial debt and eventually even the PST,” Sanderson said.

“Why would we not pursue the export opportunities available to us, and why would the people of B.C. not support doing so given the amazing triple legacy that B.C.’s green energy resources could provide to future generations?”

Sanderson says if B.C. was debt-free like Alberta, the $2.2 billion we currently spend every year servicing our provincial debt could be spent instead on vital services like health care and education—$2.2 billion is enough to build six 300 bed hospitals like the new Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre.

Sanderson is also quick to point out that BCCGE is not advocating the development of every megawatt of potential renewable energy in B.C.  Rather, BCCGE believes that B.C.’s natural abundance of green energy potential means we can and should be doing more in support of continent-wide greenhouse gas reduction efforts and reaping the environmental and economic benefits that would come from that for the people of B.C. 

Sanderson says BCCGE hope their research report will help bring B.C.’s green energy potential into focus and foster a vigorous, constructive discussion of the renewable green energy export question, adding that he is looking forward to the discussion the report will hopefully generate.

Copies of the BCCGE research report are available on the B.C. Citizens for Green Energy website at www.greenenergybc.ca or by clicking here.

According to last Tuesday’s provincial budget, the provincial debt is forecast to rise to nearly $48 billion in 2010/11 with the taxpayer-supported portion of the provinces’ debt estimated to increase to nearly $34 billion.  By 2012/13, the province’s total debt is expected to rise to nearly $56 billion.



For more information contact Bruce Sanderson
Co-spokesperson, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
e-mail us at info@greenenergybc.ca

B.C. Citizens for Green Energy is an advocacy group representing a cross-section of British Columbians who encourage a legacy of clean, renewable electricity for future generations.