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The facts about where B.C.’s energy comes from

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by Scott Neufeld
August 22, 2018

Natural gas, Electricity

Did you know that hydroelectricity delivers less than one-fifth of B.C.’s total energy needs?Or that hydro delivers only about half of the energy that natural gas does, (which isn’t even our single biggest source of energy)?

Energy is all around us; it powers our lights, heats water for our showers and fuels our cars. But how well do you know where the energy that powers B.C. today comes from?

Today’s big four

Most of us know about B.C.’s famous hydro dams and the electricity they generate to power our homes and businesses.

Yet hydroelectricity is only one part of an energy equation that consists of four main sources: hydroelectricity, natural gas, refined petroleum (like gasoline), and biofuel.

With more than 1 million customers across the province, FortisBC is well known as a leading natural gas supplier. However, gas is just part of what we do.

We supply hydro electricity to the southern Interior and operate liquefied natural gas facilities that support exporting gas and gas-powered transportation like ferries and trucks.

In fact, FortisBC is the single largest energy provider in the province and supplies up to half of the province’s energy on the coldest days of the year.


B.C.’s energy future

Our province is growing and this means its appetite for energy is growing. How we meet our energy needs in the future may look very different from how we meet them today.

There’s a growing trend toward more renewable sources of energy like wind, solar and geothermal. In less than a decade wind generation has grown to contribute about two per cent of B.C.’s electricity needs.

Meanwhile energy sources like petroleum and wood waste (also known as biomass) face pressures that could limit the role they play in the future, including supply issues and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Advances in technology are also creating new opportunities for cleaner energy sources, such as the growth in electric cars and natural gas-powered vehicles.

So much is changing that the provincial government now wants to talk to British Columbians about the future of energy.

We all have a role to play

FortisBC is also looking to the future of energy. We are investing in making our gas system more sustainable through carbon-neutral Renewable Natural Gas. We are pursuing new solar power opportunities, and maintaining and upgrading hydro dams to continue to provide affordable, clean power for generations to come.

We are working with B.C. municipalities and companies to replace petroleum-powered vehicles with cleaner, more affordable natural gas-powered vehicles.

Our affiliate Fortis Alternative Energy Services is supplying new developments with renewable geothermal energy to heat buildings, helping B.C. move towards a cleaner energy future.

To learn more about B.C. energy, what FortisBC is doing and how you can have your say, visit talkingenergy.ca.