VICTORIA — The provincial government is preparing to make sweeping changes to how it manages energy and will bring hydrogen under its regulatory umbrella.
“We aspire to be a global hydrogen leader and we are serious about supporting our hydrogen sector,” said Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Bruce Ralston in a news release.
“These legislative changes enable further development of our growing hydrogen industry and help our province transition away from fossil fuels to a cleaner, low-carbon energy system.”
B.C. contains 51 per cent of Canada’s hydrogen producing companies. The province said it currently does not have a consistent set of regulations for the growing industry and aims to change that with the new legislation.
The establishment of the British Columbia energy regulator, which will replace B.C. Oil and Gas, will enable uniform regulation of the hydrogen sector, the release reads.
Hydrogen fuel is seen as an important step in revolutionizing the way humanity consumes energy in the fight against climate change.
This is because hydrogen does not produce carbon dioxide when burned and therefore does not contribute to climate change, writes MIT research scientist Emre Gençer.
But many hydrogen producing techniques do require the burning of fossil fuels. Gençer recommends a shift towards using renewable energy sources in hydrogen production or combining production with carbon capture technologies, something acknowledged in the government’s CleanBC Roadmap to 2030.
The province will clarify its rights to use underground space to store specific substances, specifically carbon dioxide, even under private property, the release states.
Also proposed are expanded powers to hold oil and gas companies responsible for cleanup and restoration.
There are currently 49 proposed hydrogen projects in the province worth $5 billion, the report reads.