July 10, 2021. British Columbia (BC) is the first province in Canada to release a comprehensive hydrogen strategy. Part of CleanBC, the BC 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). These include:
- Incentivizing the production of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen;
- Developing regional hydrogen hubs where production and demand are co-located;
- Financial supports for deploying fuel cell electric vehicles and infrastructure;
- Expanding the use of hydrogen across different industrial sectors and applications;
- Promoting the adoption of hydrogen in areas where it is most cost-effective in terms of emission reductions;
- Creating the BC Center for Innovation and Clean Energy to drive the commercialization of new hydrogen technology; and
- Establishing ambitious carbon-intensity targets and a regulatory framework for carbon capture and storage.
BC has the resources to produce both green and blue hydrogen with low carbon intensity. More than 98% of BC’s electricity is renewable, enabling the production of green hydrogen via electrolysis. BC also has low-cost natural gas reserves, significant geological storage capacity and expertise in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, enabling the production of blue hydrogen from natural gas with adequate and permanent CCS.
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.
BC has already implemented policies to encourage hydrogen use in the transportation sector. The carbon tax and low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) are reducing emissions while incentivizing the switch to renewable and low-carbon fuels. CleanBC committed to increasing the stringency of the LCFS by doubling the required reduction in carbon intensity of transportation fuels to 20% by 2030.
Introduced in 2019, the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act requires automakers to meet an escalating annual percentage of new light-duty zero-emission vehicle sales, including hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. Hydrogen is expected to play a larger role for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by supporting larger payloads and range.
The Province is supporting the BC 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.