VANCOUVER — FortisBC has announced it will be establishing a Clean Growth Innovation Fund to help accelerate work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The company stated the move is part of its strategy to bolster efforts to transition to a lower carbon economy. FortisBC recently received approval from its regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission, to implement this fund as part of its 2020-24 Multi-Year Rate Plan.
Starting next month, FortisBC will set aside $4.9 million dollars per year until 2024 to the fund, which will assist the group’s efforts with government and industry to advance projects that are expected to help decarbonize its natural gas supply and accelerate climate action. The fund will be filled through an additional $0.40 monthly charge to all FortisBC natural gas customers, which amounts to less than $5 per year. Through the fund, FortisBC expects to co-fund numerous clean growth initiatives with government, academic and industry partners.
“As the single largest provider of energy in British Columbia, FortisBC has an important role to play in helping the province reduce emissions to help advance a lower carbon energy future,” said Douglas Stout, vice-president of market development and external relations with FortisBC, in a statement. “Technological innovation is crucial for climate action and the Clean Growth Innovation Fund will accelerate our already substantial efforts in driving climate solutions.”
FortisBC said it intends to use the money to explore renewable gases, carbon and methane capture, fuel cell and remote power technologies and other promising areas that could reduce emissions.
“This is an exciting and progressive initiative from FortisBC. The pace of technology development, commercialization and industry adoption for clean energy must accelerate if we are to meet CleanBC targets,” said Jeanette Jackson, CEO of Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre. “The fund’s collaborative and co-funding model is exactly what is needed to scale the entire sector and become a global leader in clean energy innovation.”
Selection criteria for projects include the amount of co-funding secured from the applicants, estimated emissions reduced in British Columbia, estimated cost reductions for FortisBC customers and the relevant experience of the project team. Senior FortisBC management and an external advisory council will oversee these projects, and FortisBC will report all updates through an annual review process.