The British Columbia government has released its hydrogen strategy – a blueprint for how renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will support its climate goals and create new jobs in B.C.’s growing cleantech sector.

“With our clean electricity, abundant natural resources and innovative companies, B.C. can be a world leader in the growing hydrogen economy – creating new clean-tech jobs and opportunities for people across the province,” said Bruce Ralston, B.C.’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “This strategy lays out the actions we will take together to realize this vision on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050.”

B.C. is the first province in Canada to release a comprehensive hydrogen strategy. Part of CleanBC, the B.C. Hydrogen Strategy includes 63 actions for government, industry and innovators to undertake during the short term (2020-25), medium term (2025-30) and long term (2030 and beyond). The strategy’s immediate priorities include scaling up production of renewable hydrogen, establishing regional hydrogen hubs and deploying medium- and heavy-duty fuel-cell vehicles.

“Hydrogen represents an enormous opportunity to build a cleaner economy for people and businesses in British Columbia,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The B.C. Hydrogen Strategy outlines the pathway ahead to increase clean innovation and investment, reduce emissions and meet our CleanBC targets as we move toward the net-zero emissions future that governments and businesses worldwide agree we need.”

The province is supporting the B.C. Hydrogen Strategy with further investments announced as part of Budget 2021, including $10 million over three years to develop policy on reducing the carbon intensity of fuel and advancing the hydrogen economy. As well, BC Hydro recently introduced a discounted electricity rate for renewable hydrogen production to attract new investment in clean industry.

“With over 25 years of experience in hydrogen technology, Powertech’s testing services and fuelling infrastructure products are recognized and trusted by automotive original equipment manufacturers and suppliers, energy companies, government and research organizations around the world,” said Raymond Lings, president and CEO, Powertech Labs. “We’re proud to be a part of B.C.’s excellence in hydrogen expertise and technology, and support CleanBC by delivering the technology behind most of the hydrogen stations in British Columbia.”

The province is growing the hydrogen economy with programs such as the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act and Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). With support from LCFS credits having a market value of $1.7 million, Surrey-based Powertech Labs, a subsidiary of BC Hydro, will construct and operate a light-duty hydrogen-fuelling station that will also produce hydrogen onsite through electrolysis. The station will support a BC Hydro hydrogen fuel-cell pilot and will be available for public use.

When burned or used in a fuel cell, hydrogen produces no carbon emissions. Hydrogen is one of the only solutions for decarbonizing sectors of the economy where direct electrification is not practical, such as heavy-duty transportation or industrial heating. When injected into the natural-gas grid, renewable hydrogen can displace fossil fuels for heating homes and businesses. Hydrogen can also be used for producing low-carbon synthetic fuels to reduce emissions in transportation and industry.

“The momentum we’re seeing in this province is the direct result of our sector’s commitment to collaboration, and Hydrogen BC is a great example of this in action,” said Colin Armstrong, president and CEO, Hydrogen Technology and Energy Corporation, and chair, Hydrogen BC. “This public-private partnership has a very diverse membership – and yet, we are all united in our efforts to accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies. From expanding B.C.’s fuelling network to helping heavy industry decarbonize, working together we are building the low-carbon future we want to live in and leave behind for future generations.”

Hydrogen BC was established with provincial support in 2020 as the regional branch of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association. B.C. is a global leader in hydrogen and fuel-cell research and development. More than 50 per cent of Canada’s hydrogen and fuel-cell companies are in B.C., and the province accounts for about 60 per cent of research investment in hydrogen and fuel-cell development.

To read the B.C. Hydrogen Strategy, click here.

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