Blog: BC Hydro’s hypocrisy on LNG

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BC Hydro made a holier-than-thou post on Twitter on May 4: “‘Natural’ doesn’t mean clean. #FarewellFossilFuels.”

It carried the following illustration:

Other tweets from Hydro around that time promoted the merits of electric vehicles and home heat pumps.

All well and good (the greener the better, of course) but the snide slap at natural gas and LNG ignored a key reality: Natural gas and LNG are here to stay, and grow, for decades.

Hydro must have missed (or dismissed) this from Coastal GasLink: “Did you know that natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel, and exports facilitated by Coastal GasLink could reduce annual global CO2 emissions by 60 to 90 million tonnes? That’s equivalent to removing roughly 12 to 18 million cars off the road. We’re proud of our role in supporting emissions reductions and leaving a lasting legacy in our local communities and around the world.”

And this from LNG Canada: “Through a combination of energy efficient natural gas turbines and renewable electricity from BC Hydro, our project will emit less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of the average LNG facility currently in operation.”

And a fully developed LNG Canada project t would reduce global emissions by 82 million tonnes a year — equivalent to taking 18 million cars off the roads, each year.

Among other realities ignored by Hydro were these points from Alberta’s Canadian Energy Centre:

  • BC Hydro itself has said: “The Site C project would be required with or without an LNG sector. However, new LNG facilities are expected to accelerate the need for new electricity-generation resources in B.C., such as Site C.”
  • Hydro operates two power plants fired by natural gas: one in Fort Nelson, and another in Prince Rupert. (And Hydro also operates 17 diesel-fired power plants in the province.)

There are more realities for Hydro’s Twitterbugs to take in:

Shell, the world’s LNG giant, says global LNG demand is expected to double in the next two decades, reaching at least 700 million tonnes in 2040 as economies, particularly in Asia, look to grow without leaning on high emitting coal-fired power.

A new estimate from the Gas Exporting Countries Forum is that world LNG demand will hit 800 million tonnes by 2050.

And as the US ships more and more LNG to Europe (to replace Russian gas) BC’s responsible LNG will become even more important to Asian countries.

Some more points from the Canadian Energy Centre:

  • On average, switching from coal to natural gas for electricity generation reduces emissions by 50 per cent, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • Natural gas from Canada can deliver an even bigger decrease, reducing emissions by up to 62 per cent, according to a study published in the Journal for Cleaner Production.
  • The LNG Canada project is expected to have emissions of 0.15 per cent CO2 per tonne of LNG, less than half the global average of 0.35 per cent, according to the Oxford Energy Institute.
  • Proposed BC LNG projects that would use hydroelectricity from the province’s power grid – from places like Site C – are expected to have even lower emissions intensity: 0.08 per cent for Indigenous-led Cedar LNG, and 0.032 per cent for Woodfibre LNG.

Indeed, Woodfibre LNG promises the cleanest LNG in the world and its production (if  modest in volume) could displace around 3.5 million tonnes of global greenhouse gases.

Also from the Canadian Energy Centre:

  • Natural gas production in B.C. has grown significantly in recent years, reaching 5.7 billion cubic feet per day in 2021 compared to 2.9 billion cubic feet per day in 2010, according to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER).
  • By 2028, B.C. is expected to become Canada’s largest natural gas producer, driven by a growing LNG export industry, the CER says.

Why, then, is BC Hydro, a BC government Crown corporation, indirectly slapping the BC government, which has approved and supported LNG development and exports of our natural gas?

To close, we’ll quote one more line from the Canadian Energy Centre’s response to Hydro:

  • “BC Hydro needs to work with the natural gas industry as a solution to lower emissions and benefit B.C. communities, not spread misinformation and hypocrisy.”

And we offer this infographic from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers:

(Posted here 18 May 2022) 

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