Clean economy

Last updated on April 26, 2024

Around the world, investors are recognizing the need for a faster transition away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy solutions. Through CleanBC, government is supporting the innovation and technology needed to meet global demand and establish B.C as a leading exporter of low carbon products and solutions.

Together with industry and partners we’re working to make low-carbon solutions affordable and widely available across all sectors to meet our climate goals and build new low-carbon economic opportunities.

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Economy in 2030

B.C. has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 2007 levels by 2030. The CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 (PDF, 9.2MB) maps out the most promising routes to reach this target and set the course to fulfill our net-zero commitment by 2050.  

Here are some ways our economy could look different based on the actions in the Roadmap to 2030:

  • Through the development of a Circular Economy Strategy, more resources are reused, repaired, recycled and reintroduced as new products instead of being thrown away
  • Increased use of clean power sources like electricity and hydrogen instead of gas and diesel
  • B.C. cleantech companies are creating innovative technologies that capture and store greenhouse gas emissions 

Carbon pricing

B.C.’s carbon tax puts a price on pollution to encourage people, businesses and industry to reduce emissions and switch to cleaner, more sustainable economic activity and investments in low-carbon innovation. The carbon tax is an important part of the Province’s CleanBC plan.

The current carbon tax rate is $65 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) and is applied to the purchase and use of most fossil fuels in the province. The rate increased to $65 per tonne on April 1, 2023. 

As part of the Roadmap to 2030, B.C.’s carbon tax will meet or exceed federal carbon price requirements starting in 2023, with continued measures to protect affordability and a strong economy.

Revenues generated from carbon tax increases will be used for the Climate Action Tax Credit to help offset its effects for low- and moderate-income families. Revenues also help maintain industry competitiveness and encourage new clean initiatives through the CleanBC Program for Industry. These targeted programs are helping industry compete in a global economy that increasingly considers environmental performance when making investment decisions.

Budget 2023 announced the 2024 implementation of a new made-in-B.C. output-based pricing system (B.C. OBPS) which will continue to support significant emission reductions within the industrial sector while keeping businesses competitive.

Supporting cleaner growth

Through CleanBC and other measures, the Province is supporting advances in technology that can help meet our emissions goals while growing a cleaner economy that is ready for the significant global transition ahead.

Technological innovation

  • B.C. Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy supports BC innovators in scaling clean energy solutions for global impact
  • Innovate BC supports technology startups and entrepreneurs through programs, sponsorship and competitions
  • The Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund supports research, development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies
  • B.C. is developing a provincial approach to support carbon capture and storage research, development and deployment as part of the Roadmap to 2030
  • The Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy launched in fall 2021 to accelerate and scale-up B.C. based energy technologies including carbon capture, utilization and storage, low carbon hydrogen, bio and synthetic fuels, renewable natural gas and battery systems. The Centre is funded through federal, provincial and private investment
  • Budget 2021 included $500 million in financing for the InBC Strategic Investment Fund. Investment decisions are made independent of government but are guided by government priorities of supporting specific economic, social and environmental policies, such as moving toward a cleaner economy and advancing reconciliation  
  • Under the Roadmap to 2030, B.C. is developing a strategy for a circular economy, where waste is greatly reduced and resources are reused, repaired, recycled and reintroduced as new products
  • B.C. is investing in the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund, to support innovative projects that reduce the use of virgin plastic and increase the use of recycled plastic by increasing local capacity for recycling and manufacturing. The Fund also supports reuse businesses and services, as well as Indigenous-led projects to prevent plastic waste and grow B.C.’s circular economy
  • The CleanBC Organics Infrastructure and Collection Program (OICP) keeps organic waste out of landfills and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. OICP funding supports the total investment of $38.85 million towards building new, and expanding existing, organic waste-processing facilities and residential household collection programs
  • The Emerging Economic Task Force (PDF, 3.4MB) and B.C.’s Innovation Commissioner (PDF, 1MB) released reports in 2020 that include recommendations to leverage B.C.’s green economy through CleanBC 

Low-carbon products and services

  • In 2021, B.C.’s zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sector encompassed:
    • Over 250 companies and organizations
    • Over $660 million in direct contribution to the provincial GDP 
    • Over $2 billion in total economic output 
    • About 6,700 full-time jobs
  • The CleanBC Go Electric Commercial Vehicle Pilots Program supports commercial ZEV adoption for B.C.-based businesses, non-profits and Indigenous and local governments
  • The CleanBC Go Electric Fleet Charging Program supports B.C.-registered companies, Indigenous and local governments and public sector organizations transitioning their light-duty fleets to ZEVs
  • The CleanBC Go Electric Advanced Research and Commercialization (ARC) Program provides funding to support companies operating in the ZEV sector in B.C. to invest in product development and commercialization activities, create jobs, increase exports and attract international investment
  • The province will implement a new made-in-B.C. output-based pricing system that improves industrial carbon pricing and helps support clean innovation
  • B.C. carbon offset projects are a way for industry and public sector organizations to invest in emission reduction work carried out by businesses and local governments. Purchasers apply reductions from the projects to their own emissions targets
  • The CleanBC Building Innovation Fund supports the development and demonstration of new construction methods and building materials to increase their accessibility and affordability
  • B.C. is working with industry and others to develop and improve low carbon building materials, like mass timber, a climate-friendly material that can replace more carbon-intensive steel and concrete and help reduce construction waste

Learning and skill

  • The Province supports ZEV technician training programs like the Electric Vehicle Maintenance Training program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus, College of New Caledonia’s Prince George campus and Camosun College’s Interurban campus in Victoria
  • The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training program through the Electrical Joint Training Committee (EJTC) is also helping meet the need for more electric vehicle-related services
  • The Energy Step Code Council supports training on the B.C. Energy Step Code to help increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions in the housing and construction industry
  • BCIT created the Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB) Learning Centre to support the construction industry’s transition to the BC Energy Step Code and City of Vancouver Zero Emissions Building bylaws
  • The Adaptation Learning Network offers training that focuses on preparing for climate impacts
  • The Clean BC Heavy-Duty Vehicle Efficiency Program provides fuel management and fleet efficiency training for businesses and incentives for the installation of qualifying fuel-saving equipment

Expanding our options for clean energy

Affordable clean energy is critical for a low-carbon economy. Companies operating in B.C. today have significant market advantage thanks in part to our abundant clean energy systems. Through CleanBC, the Province is advancing the next phase of innovative clean energy options.

Clean electricity

Lower carbon fuels

  • Under the Roadmap to 2030, B.C. will strengthen the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, requiring fuel suppliers to make continuous reductions in their products’ carbon intensity
  • B.C. will double its commitment to develop production capacity for made-in-B.C. renewable fuels to 1.3 billion litres per year by 2030
  • FortisBC’s Clean Growth Innovation Fund supports advances in clean technologies like renewable natural gas, carbon and methane capture with $4.9 million per year in funding for four years. Fortis has pledged to reduce its customers' emissions 30% by 2030
  • The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation (GGRR) enables utilities to promote adoption of lower carbon fuels like electricity and renewable natural gas in the transportation, built environment and industrial sectors

Hydrogen economy

  • Hydrogen fuel is carbon free at point of use and can be created with raw materials that are readily available in B.C., including clean electricity. As hydrogen supply continues to grow, it can be:
    • Used in fuel cells to power electric vehicles, stationary power systems, and off-road industrial vehicles
    • Used to replace diesel in remote and rural communities
    • Blended with natural gas to create a cleaner burning fuel and increase the renewable content in natural gas
  • B.C. has the largest public hydrogen fueling network in Canada including four public hydrogen fueling stations currently operating in the province 
  • The 2021 B.C. Hydrogen Strategy (PDF, 1.4MB) calls for the creation of regional hydrogen hubs, scaled up production of renewable hydrogen and other actions to support innovation in the sector
  • As part of the StrongerBC Economic Plan, the Province has established the BC Hydrogen office. This unit will work with local and federal governments to help streamline projects from proposal to construction. There are already 40 hydrogen projects proposed or under construction in the province, including some of the largest proposed green hydrogen-production projects in the world

Preparing for climate change

Extreme wildfires, flooding and other effects of a changing climate are already impacting the economy. Preparing for these changes will help preserve our water, air and natural resources, reduce the costs associated with climate impacts, and ensure B.C.’s economy continues to thrive.

Climate-resiliency and adaptation

  • B.C.’s Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy invests over $500 million in actions to strengthen our capacity to anticipate and respond to the impacts of climate change. This includes initiatives that:
    • Address foundational needs for data, training and capacity
    • Support Indigenous Nations, local governments, business and industry with targeted actions
    • Ensure the knowledge and priorities of Indigenous Peoples are brought into climate adaptation planning
    • Enhance our approach to floodplain mapping, wildfire prevention and extreme heat preparedness
    • Protect and restore watersheds and address complex ecosystem changes
    • Support key industries including forestry, agriculture and tourism
    • Strengthen our transportation and building infrastructure
  • StrongerBC Economic Recovery Plan commits $90 million to actions that will help the province prepare and adapt to climate change

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