BC announces Canada’s first provincial hydrogen strategy

The Government of British Columbia has released a hydrogen strategy outlining how the province will reach its climate goals of net-zero emissions by 2050 through the use of renewable hydrogen, while creating jobs in the clean-tech sector.

The hydrogen strategy is part of the province’s CleanBC plan, and includes 63 actions that must be taken by government, industry and innovators to reach short-, medium- and long-term goals in transitioning to clean energy sources. Immediate initiatives will include “scaling up production of renewable hydrogen, establishing regional hydrogen hubs and deploying medium- and heavy-duty fuel-cell vehicles.”

Renewable hydrogen doesn’t produce carbon emissions when burned or used in a fuel cell, and when injected into the natural-gas grid it can replace fossil fuels for heating. Hydrogen can also be used for producing low-carbon synthetic fuels to reduce emissions in transportation and industry.

Overall, hydrogen has the potential to reduce BC’s emissions by 7.2 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent per year by 2050. Not all hydrogen production is low-carbon, however, so BC will establish carbon-intensity thresholds to support only low-carbon hydrogen pathways.

The province has budgeted $10 million over three years to develop policy on reducing the carbon intensity of fuel while advancing the hydrogen economy. To support that effort, BC Hydro recently launched a discounted electricity rate for renewable hydrogen production, while its subsidiary, Powertech Labs, will build a light-duty hydrogen-fuelling station to produce hydrogen onsite through electrolysis to support a BC Hydro hydrogen fuel-cell pilot.

CleanBC

For more information on hydrogen, see Jonathon Harp’s article Is hydrogen entering the NG mix?” from the March/April 2021 issue of Mechanical Business.

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