Green Economy is everywhere in B.C.

Green Economy is everywhere in B.C.

The green economy is everywhere in B.C. and not only represents our unique economic advantage but also reflects who we are.

B.C.’s green economy is defined by any activity that grows our economy, creates jobs and preserves or enhances our environment. The green economy is not separate from our economy at large — it is part of a growing trend of activities in all sectors.

B.C.’s unique advantages include provincial policies, such as carbon neutral government, that has made us leaders on climate action while driving innovation and adoption of clean technologies and green solutions in the public sector and in foundational industries around the province.

B.C. is a world leader in economic and environmental sustainability with a number of companies that provide green jobs and innovate while protecting the planet. By supporting our foundational and clean technology sectors, we can help businesses in B.C. and around the globe save money and the environment.

Clean Technology

The B.C. government offers three programs to help small businesses gain access to capital.

  • The Venture Capital Program provides a 30 per cent refundable B.C. income tax credit.
  • The Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund supports the development of clean power and energy-efficient technologies in the electricity, alternative energy, transportation, and oil and gas sectors.
  • The B.C. Renaissance Capital Fund Ltd. (BCRCF) pursues investments in four technology sectors, including clean tech, and has committed over $2.5 billion in capital for investment. Companies that have accessed this fund include Delta Q Technologies (power chargers), Ostara Environmental (water) and Nexterra Energy (bio-energy). All are recognized as global leaders in the green economy.

Forestry

B.C.’s forestry industry employs 107,000 British Columbians. Its softwood lumber exports to China have recently surpassed the $1-billion mark and have risen by almost 1,500 per cent, representing nearly five per cent of the province’s GDP.

The B.C. government’s steps taken to create jobs and support sustainability include continuing the five per cent biofuel requirement and a low-carbon fuel standard to help drive the market for biofuels in B.C.

Natural Gas

An integral part of the B.C. economy and contributing 2.2 per cent to the province’s GDP, this growing sector provides 11,500 direct jobs and has sold $4.75 billion in natural gas and secondary products in 2010.

Government steps include:

  • Ensuring the availability of sufficient clean and renewable electricity to make possible the development and operation of an LNG industry — the first two LNG plants of their kind in the world.
  • Establishing a B.C. Energy Efficiency Network to promote improved productivity of B.C.’s industrial sector through the efficient use of natural gas.
  • Developing a revised Energy Efficient Buildings Strategy in 2013, with an emphasis on natural gas efficiency.

Transportation

B.C.’s seaports and airports, railways, roadways and transportation industries employ 115,700 British Columbians and represented $30 billion in exports in 2010. B.C. ports handle 85 per cent of marine exports from the Western provinces, with transportation representing six per cent of the province’s GDP.

B.C. government initiatives include:

  • Building on the Clean Transportation Initiative and Clean Energy Vehicle Program that encourages people and businesses to use clean energy vehicles. The Clean Energy Vehicle Program offers incentives that include up to $5,000 in point-of-sale rebates for new, qualifying clean energy vehicles and up to $1,000 for home charging stations. The Carbon Offset Action Cooperative received $2 million in funding to support their first-of-its-kind program that pays heavy equipment operators and trucking companies to lower their carbon emissions.
  • Port electrification will reduce the amount of marine greenhouse gases emitted during loading and unloading. Investing in Green Fleets BC, a partnership with industry has reduced vehicle greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The B.C. Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirements regulation drives down carbon intensity of transportation fuel.

Mining

Mining is an important part of B.C.’s economy, representing over $29,000 direct and indirect jobs. This sector has seen capital expenditure increase by 120 per cent from $568 million in 2009 to $1.3 billion in 2010. This is expected to increase an additional $30 billion in proposed investments by 2020. With over 47,703 direct, indirect and induced jobs, the B.C. mining sector is also a significant part of the green economy. As with other growing industries in B.C., mining companies are finding innovative ways to incorporate sustainability into their practices and are driving innovation in the province.

  • Most mines in B.C. use electricity provided by BC Hydro. The Northwest Transmission Line will provide a reliable supply of clean power to potential future mining projects that otherwise would have to generate their own electricity.

Education and Skills Training

Jobs in education employ over 161,600 British Columbians. This sector contributed $1.8 billion to the provincial economy in 2010.

These public-sector institutions have been integral in helping B.C. achieve carbon neutrality, which requires all public-sector organizations to measure, reduce and offset their emissions from buildings, fleets and paper use. Along with implementing cost- and energy-saving measures in their buildings, education and skills training facilities have worked with the government to implement training programs to teach the next generation of skilled workers to use and develop clean tech innovations.

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James Chung

Founder & Editor in Chief of Hello Vancity magazine. Email james@hellovancity.com

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