VICTORIA – B.C. is looking to fast track hydrogen projects by establishing a new office dedicated to the sector.
Officials said the BC Hydrogen Office will work to expand hydrogen deployment and to streamline projects from proposal to construction.
The office will work with federal and local governments to help entice investments and simplify the multi-jurisdictional review and permitting processes.
“Our government recognizes the importance hydrogen projects will have for our climate and British Columbia’s economy,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement. “That’s why we are taking steps to streamline the process to get these projects up and running as quickly as possible.”
There are already 40 hydrogen projects proposed or under construction in B.C. and officials expect more to come. These projects represent $4.8 billion in proposed investment in the province. Many are small or medium-sized projects to provide local hydrogen supply or solutions, but some are larger investments, including some of the largest proposed green hydrogen-production projects in the world.
“With our clean electricity, abundant natural resources and innovative companies, B.C. is a world leader in the growing hydrogen economy,” said Bruce Ralston, minister of energy, mines and low carbon Innovation. “We’re already seeing innovative B.C. companies engaged in businesses that show how hydrogen is helping us meet our CleanBC goals and that create new, high-paying clean-tech jobs throughout the province.”
In a press release, the province stated hydrogen projects are complex and require engagement and co-ordination across multiple levels of government, agencies, regulators, First Nations and stakeholders. Hydrogen projects also do not fit into existing federal or provincial regulatory frameworks. The province added developing a domestic market and retail delivery infrastructure could encourage hydrogen deployment in B.C.
The province cited a 2019 hydrogen study it conducted that showed by 2050, B.C. could expect hydrogen to provide a positive, $2.5-billion impact to the province’s annual gross domestic product, including economic activity from the domestic use and export of hydrogen and 3,750 new jobs in the province.
“Our ambition is to build the province we want for our future generations and create a low-carbon economy that works for everyone,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of Jobs, economic recovery and innovation. “The actions we are taking to welcome new investments in hydrogen technologies speak directly to our commitment to establish B.C. as a world leader in environmental and social responsibility.”