First Regional Energy Collaboration Framework for Accelerating Low-Carbon Economy Released

Source: 6/28/2023, Location: North America

The Government of Canada, the Government of British Columbia (B.C.), and the First Nations Leadership Council are working together to build a net-zero economy and create good, middle-class jobs across British Columbia.

The Canada–British Columbia Regional Energy and Resource Tables (B.C. Regional Table) is the primary forum for this collaboration. The Regional Energy and Resource Tables are partnerships between the federal government and individual provinces and territories, in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, to align efforts and seize key economic opportunities enabled by the global shift to net zero. These Tables seek robust input from partners including industry and labour.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources; the Honourable Josie Osborne, B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation; Robert Phillips, Political Executive, First Nations Summit; and Chief Don Tom, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, announced a groundbreaking Collaboration Framework outlining key areas of collaboration and a range of action items to be pursued. Minister Wilkinson also announced over $100 million in federal and provincial investments to advance British Columbia’s low-carbon economy.

The British Columbia Regional Energy and Resource Table: Framework for Collaboration on the Path to Net Zero (Collaboration Framework) identifies six strategic areas of opportunity that have the potential to contribute significantly to building a prosperous economy in an increasingly low-carbon world: clean fuels/hydrogen, electrification, critical minerals, forest sector, carbon management technology and systems, and regulatory efficiency.

The Collaboration Framework is the first of its kind to emerge from the nine Regional Tables launched to date. It lays out a long-term vision for building an inclusive and prosperous net-zero future in British Columbia.

Central to the B.C. Regional Table is an acknowledgment that the integration of First Nation perspectives is critical to realizing a low-carbon economy that is grounded in respect, recognition and reconciliation, and that First Nations are full participants and beneficiaries. This approach will also align with Canada and British Columbia’s adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Canada and B.C. have agreed to:
• work with First Nations, and with the participation of industry, on an approach to accelerate the regulatory and permitting processes for clean growth projects in a manner consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act;
• advance intra-provincial clean electricity infrastructure with a particular focus on the North Coast; and
• advance the Equal by 30 campaign, which B.C. has committed to join.

As part of the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia’s commitment to build a competitive and clean economy, the Collaboration Framework is complemented by initial federal and provincial investments of over $100 million that include:
• Up to $48.7 million to support production projects and feasibility studies related to hydrogen and other clean fuels from Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) Clean Fuels Fund. This includes $14.4 million for Andion and Semiahmoo First Nation’s Renewable Natural Gas Facility and $10.5 million for EverGen Infrastructure Corp.’s Pacific Coast Renewables RNG Expansion Project.
• A $15 million contribution from the Strategic Innovation Fund for AVL Fuel Cell Canada Inc. to support a portfolio of innovative hydrogen fuel cell technologies and world-class engineering solutions for customers in the global transportation sector.
• Up to $10.8 million from NRCan’s Clean Energy for Rural and Remote Communities program to support capacity building, demonstration projects and feasibility studies in rural, remote and Indigenous communities to reduce their reliance on diesel through renewable energy projects, enhanced energy efficiency, and local skills and capacity building.
• More than $12.3 million for projects, research and development, and promotional activities to strengthen the provincial forest sector’s competitiveness and sustainability while encouraging greater use of wood in non-traditional construction.
• Over $6.7 million for projects from the Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways program to support clean energy projects and critical regional priorities, including capacity building, and feasibility studies to support Indigenous communities.

On May 2, 2023, the First Nations Energy and Mining Council and First Nations Forestry Council hosted a First Nations workshop that provided early perspectives on the opportunity areas and action items. As work progresses, partners will continue to seek the expertise and insights of First Nations. Broad engagement with industry, labour groups and key stakeholders will also continue to be an integral part of the process.

Through these collaborative efforts, we can position British Columbia to be a global energy and technology supplier of choice in a net-zero world, creating good jobs and lasting prosperity here at home.

“The Regional Energy and Resource Tables initiative represents an important opportunity to foster and grow First Nations’ participation in clean energy projects. This provides First Nations the opportunity to take a leading role in achieving a net-zero economy in the coming years, which is a critical step in addressing the climate crisis.” – Robert Phillips, First Nations Summit Political Executive

“First Nations are disproportionately bearing the impact of the climate crisis and embrace clean energy initiatives that do not involve further extraction, transportation or production of fossil fuels. UBCIC is hopeful that the RERT will provide the opportunity to reshape the current energy landscape and drastically reduce GHG emissions.” – Chief Don Tom, Vice-President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

“The Regional Energy and Resource Tables are a novel initiative that allow us to seize the enormous economic opportunities associated with building a net-zero economy. I am pleased to launch the first Collaboration Framework under this initiative with the Government of British Columbia and look forward to deepening collaboration with First Nations partners.” – The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources

“Our government knows that achieving our climate goals requires joint efforts. That's why we're looking forward to working with the British Columbia government, Aboriginal partners and industry on clean tech projects that will enable us to continue leading the way in tomorrow's green economy. The investment in AVL Fuel Cell Canada Inc.’s project in Burnaby will strengthen our economy by creating good jobs for Canadians while helping us achieve our reduction emissions goal.” – The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“The way we develop our economy today will shape opportunities for future generations. By supporting projects that promote Indigenous economic growth and the development of sustainable natural resources and clean energy, we are building a prosperous future for British Columbians.” – The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan)

“British Columbians are on the frontlines of climate change and seeing its impacts on land, water, communities and people. Now is the time for all of us to work together as partners, government-to-government with First Nations and with the support of industry, labour and others to build a low-carbon economy that is powered by our province’s clean energy and creates good, sustainable jobs for people.” – the The Honourable Josie Osborne British Columbia Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

“It is through collaboration with all levels of government, Indigenous organizations and stakeholders that we are able to understand and act on the opportunities in our resource and clean energy sectors. This new framework aligns with B.C.’s StrongerBC Economic Plan, which is designed to meet the challenges of our time by achieving two big goals — clean and inclusive growth — to create a more prosperous and sustainable British Columbia today and for generations to come. It addresses today’s challenges by closing the skills gap for people and businesses, building resilient communities and helping businesses and people transition to clean-energy solutions.” – The Honourable Brenda Bailey, British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation

“Today’s agreement demonstrates how important it is, and what we can get done for people, when all of us collaborate to address the climate crisis. By working together, we are ensuring British Columbia continues to be a leader in North America and creating clean and healthy community economies for people now while protecting our environment for our children and grandchildren.” – The Honourable George Heyman, British Columbia Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

“British Columbians care deeply about our forests and the many benefits they provide. A strong value-added sector, including a thriving bio-economy industry, means getting more sustainable, family-supporting jobs for every tree while reducing carbon emissions from wood sources and promoting the healthy forests so vital in the fight against climate change. We are committed to fostering innovation and collaborating with First Nations, workers, industry and all levels of government to create a stronger, more sustainable forest economy, prioritizing ecosystem health and community resiliency.” – The Honourable Bruce Ralston, British Columbia Minister of Forests

“The operating and performance requirements of a hydrogen fuel cell in light-duty vehicles, like those we drive every day, is very different from what’s needed for aviation, marine and trucking applications. At AVL FCC, we custom design, engineer and test fuel cell stacks and systems across applications for customers developing and commercializing products. We are proud to be part of Canada’s thriving hydrogen sector and are grateful for this investment that supports our efforts to reimagine motion for a greener, safer, better world of mobility.” – Jose Rubio, Managing Director, AVL Fuel Cell Canada

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