Government invests in innovative clean-energy programs

Today at the 2016 Globe Conference on Sustainability and Innovation Premier Christy Clark announced funding of $11.9 million from the Province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund for three programs aimed at promoting clean-energy vehicles, clean air and clean water.

In response to strong demand for clean-energy vehicles the Province is injecting an additional $6.89 million into the Clean Energy Vehicle Program to ensure purchase incentives continue to be available for British Columbians who choose a qualifying electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and to make further investments in charging infrastructure.

“Encouraging environmentally friendly transportation is part of our broader plan to ensure British Columbia remains a climate action leader,” said Premier Clark. “Last December in Paris, B.C. became the 14th member of the Zero Emission Vehicle Alliance, joining leading jurisdictions such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and west coast partners California and Oregon in a commitment to accelerate the global transition to zero-emission vehicles. This is another step towards making that happen.”

Under the Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) Program, point-of-sale incentives of up to $5,000 are available for the purchase or lease of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and up to $6,000 for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. When combined with SCRAP-IT program incentives, total savings could be up to $8,250 for an electric vehicle.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark

“Uptake on clean-energy vehicle incentives has exceeded our expectations, and that’s great news,” said Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett. “Transportation represents over a third of B.C.’s total provincial greenhouse gas emissions and nearly half of the emissions by the average B.C. family, so stimulating the purchase of clean-energy vehicles is one of the most effective ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

To ensure the funds available for incentives go further and are available for more British Columbians purchasing lower-cost CEVs, the Province has established a vehicle price cap. Effective immediately, any CEV with a manufacturer suggested retail price above $77,000 will not be eligible for a purchase incentive from the CEV program.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines will continue to administer the CEV incentive program through a partnership with the New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia.

In addition to $6 million for purchase incentives, the CEV Program will receive $890,000 for further investments in programs under development to expand public and residential charging infrastructure and encourage fleet purchases of CEVs.

Premier Clark also announced that effective immediately, eligible electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles displaying an official decal are allowed in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes throughout the province regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle.

British Columbia is a leader in clean-energy vehicles with the largest public charging infrastructure network in Canada and the highest per capita adoption of electric vehicles in Canada.

In addition to funding for the CEV Program, Premier Clark announced funding for two other projects from the ICE fund today to support government’s energy and environmental priorities and the development of new technology:

  • $3.75 million to Carbon Engineering Ltd. to support the design and construction of a synthetic fuels demonstration plant in Squamish that will use carbon dioxide captured from thin air to synthesize diesel or gasoline fuel. The project will deliver the world’s first “air-to-fuels” plant and demonstrate that it is technically and economically viable to produce low-carbon fuel using carbon captured directly from the atmosphere. Such synthetic fuels – diesel or gasoline – would be manufactured from carbon dioxide captured from the air, water, and renewable electricity, so that once burned in a vehicle they would simply return the carbon to the air – meaning the fuels can be nearly carbon-neutral.
  • $1.25 million will support Saltworks Technologies of Vancouver in designing, building and implementing  two demonstration pilots using their patented wastewater treatment technologies to remove nitrates in a test environment and selenium at Teck Resources’ Fording River mine site. Selenium is released from the weathering of mining waste rock, which contaminates rain water flowing through the waste rock piles. If successful, the projects may result in the construction of full-scale mine-water-treatment plants around the world using Saltworks’ made-in-B.C. technology.

The ICE Fund is designed to support government’s energy and environmental priorities and advance British Columbia’s clean energy sector. The ICE Fund receives funding through a 0.4% levy on the final sale of specified energy products such as natural gas, fuel oil and grid-delivered propane.

British Columbia is recognized as a world leader in the fight against climate change, while growing a strong economy:

  • First jurisdiction in North America to introduce a broad-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax, with a price on carbon of $30/tonne.
  • Clean electricity supply through hydro-electric power and renewables. B.C.’s electricity supply was 97.9% clean for the year ending March 31, 2015.