VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. Government announced today that it has started several initiatives to support investments by natural gas utilities to help increase the use of LNG and renewable natural gas, especially in marine transportation.
“We’re working with utilities to stimulate the use of LNG as a marine fuel in large, ocean-going ships, and to increase the supply and use of renewable natural gas,” said Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. “Building the market for B.C.’s abundant supplies of natural gas offers the opportunity to achieve significant GHG emissions reductions and supports jobs and economic opportunities in British Columbia’s natural gas sector.”
The government says that amendments to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Regulation under the Clean Energy Act will enable utilities to increase incentives provided to shipping companies for the conversion of vessels to run on LNG, invest in LNG marine fuelling infrastructure, and increase the supply and use of renewable natural gas.
To date, incentive programs under the Regulation have resulted in commitments for more than 600 natural gas vehicles and vessels that have displaced 67.5 million litres of diesel fuel and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 74,000 tonnes.
“We are creating market opportunities for British Columbia’s natural gas sector, offering utilities flexibility to create new incentive programs so we can continue to build a strong economy and a cleaner future,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman.
The current level of marine-generated greenhouse gas emissions from vessels sailing into B.C. ports is estimated at 70 million tonnes per year, which is higher than the entire province’s greenhouse gas footprint in 2013. The government says that converting just one ocean-going tanker, cruise ship, or container ship to run on LNG instead of heavy fuel oil will reduce GHG emissions by about 93,500 tonnes per year, or the equivalent to taking over 19,800 vehicles off the road.
On Monday, the second of BC Ferries’ newest vessels, the Salish Eagle, arrived in Victoria after a 10,000 nautical mile journey from the Polish shipyard where it was built. The new class of ferries is the first in BC Ferries’ fleet that can run on either natural gas or fuel oil. BC Ferries has indicated that it intends to run the three ferries with natural gas to both reduce costs and emissions.