Media release - for immediate release
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
September 17, 2010
BCCGE offers budget input
to Select Standing Committee
..........“Public revenue generated by green energy exports
........could play major role in wiping out the province’s debt
...and perhaps eventually even replace the revenue being raised
.....through the province’s share of the Harmonized Sales Tax.”
.— David Field, co-spokesperson, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy —
Vancouver, B.C. — The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services is currently travelling around the province seeking input on the upcoming 2011/12 provincial budget; and last night in Surrey, David Field from B.C. Citizens for Green Energy (BCCGE) appeared before the committee to urge the committee to consider the revenue generating and debt reduction potential of B.C.’s unparalleled and largely untapped renewable green energy resources.
As Field stated in his presentation: “it is [BCCGE’s] sincere belief that public revenue generated by green energy exports could play major role in wiping out the province’s debt and perhaps eventually even replace the revenue being raised through the province’s share of the Harmonized Sales Tax.”
Field went on to point out that servicing the provincial debt costs B.C. taxpayers more than $2.2 billion per year, adding that if B.C. was debt-free like Alberta, the $2.2 billion B.C. taxpayers currently spend servicing the province’s debt could be spent instead on vital services like health care and education.
Field referred the committee members to a research report released by BCCGE last March entitled, “A Triple Legacy for Future Generations,” which explored B.C.’s immense untapped potential for generating renewable green energy and the substantial revenue that could potentially be generated for the people of B.C.
“We were really quite amazed by what our research revealed about the public revenue generating potential of B.C.’s untapped renewable energy resources,” Field said while adding that the figures arrived at by the group were based on credible estimates of the province’s potential for generating green energy and reasonable assumptions about the revenue generating potential these estimates represent.
Field explained how BCCGE took into consideration a number publicly available estimates of B.C.’s potential for generating renewable green electricity, and based on these estimates found that B.C.’s green energy generating potential could easily be equal to the current clean, renewable generating capacity available from BC Hydro’s heritage hydroelectric dams, and potentially two to three times this amount if not more.
As Field told the committee, BCCGE’s Triple Legacy report found that—when the potential public revenue from all of the various licenses, taxes and fees that independent green energy producers pay to the province, along with the net revenue from BC Hydro and Powerex as the shaping and exporting entity for B.C.’s renewable green energy, as well as the carbon credits, offsets and other green attributes inherent in renewable energy sources are brought together—it is conceivable that revenues in the range of $4.3 Billion per year could potentially be realized by the people of B.C.
“Given the enormous green energy potential we have in this province, the goal of eliminating the province’s debt by tapping into these renewable green energy resources is not at all far-fetched,” Field said. “Alberta accomplished exactly this goal using its non-renewable energy resources and showed very powerfully that eliminating provincial debt and dispensing with a provincial sales tax is achievable.”
Field also noted that, a decade before Alberta became a debt-free province on March 31, 2005, Alberta’s debt stood at $22.7 billion while also noting that the fiscal reserves Alberta was able to set aside in subsequent years left the province in a strong position when the global economic downturn occurred.
“We really have to ask ourselves whether debt is the legacy we want to leave to future generations or whether we want to take steps to reduce or even eliminate the debt burden being carried by the province and taxpayers,” Field said. “Being debt free has allowed the Alberta government to save around $1.5 billion annually in debt servicing costs; dollars that Alberta has been able to redirect to important priorities like healthcare, education, tax cuts, savings and infrastructure and we should be looking at doing the same in this province.”
According to budget estimates presented on March 2, 2010 the provincial debt for 2010/11 is forecast to rise to nearly $48 billion, with the taxpayer-supported portion estimated to increase to nearly $34 billion. By 2012/13, the taxpayer-supported portion of B.C.’s total debt is forecast to increase to over $38 billion.
Copies of BCCGE’s submission to the Select Standing Committee are available on the BCCGE website at www.greenenergybc.ca as are copies of BCCGE’s Triple Legacy report.
Additional information about green energy issues in B.C. is also available on the B.C. Citizens for Green Energy website at www.greenenergybc.ca and on the BCCGE Livewire Blog.
For more information contact David Field
Co-spokesperson, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.