B.C. forestry and energy projects – from robotics for mass timber production in Castlegar to tidal energy projects on Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii – will receive $13.5 million in grants from the federal government.

 

The grants were announced today by federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson at the BC Natural Resources Forum in Prince George.

“Today, I am pleased to announce further federal investment of $13 million in two forestry transformation initiatives and six clean energy projects across the province,” Wilkinson said during a fireside chat, where he spoke about the federal government’s five pillars for addressing climate change and sustainable resource development.

The Xeni Gwet’in – an off-the-grid Tsilhqot’in First Nation community – will received $4.4 million for two renewable energy projects: $1.9 million for a microgrid demonstration project (solar power and battery storage) aimed at reducing use of diesel generator power, and $2.5 million for a small hydro power project.

Kalesnikoff Mass Timber in Castlegar will receive $4.5 million for a new a new robotic processing line.

The Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nation will receive $1.1 million for a front-end engineering and design study of a proposed small wave energy project on Vancouver Island.

Another tidal wave power project receiving funding is the Kamdis project in Haida Gwaii. Yourbrook Energy Systems will get $1.3 million for its wave power and pumped hydro storage project.

Other projects receiving grants are:

$1.5 million for FPInnovations’ Combined Heat and Power Academy Project, which provides training in operation and maintenance of biomass combined heat and power, and biomass supply chains;
$500,000 for Daizen Joinery Ltd. Wood Fibre Stabilization Project in Kamloops that is developing a “wood stabilization process” for underutilized species of timber that are typically difficult to dry and process; and
$166,700 to the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition to build “community capacity for long-term clean energy solutions and alternatives to fossil fuels for heat and electricity within the Upper Skeena region in British Columbia.

In a fireside chat, Wilkinson defended his government’s policies on climate change and decarbonization, some of which have been generating pushback from the federal Conservatives and the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments, which view the federal government’s climate policies as a threat to oil and gas sector jobs and energy security.

Like it or not, a global energy transition is underway, Wilkinson said.

“The global energy transition that is already well underway is both an environmental imperative to protect our planet for future generations, but it is also an economic opportunity on the scale of the Industrial Revolution,” he said.

“The majority of Canadians are indeed worried about climate change, but they are also worried about their own economic situation and they want to know that they and their children will have jobs and economic opportunities in the future,” Wilkinson said.

“I am here to tell you that, for Canada to seize the extraordinary economic opportunities enabled by the transition to a net-zero economy, we must accept the scientific reality of climate change and ensure that that informs our economic strategy going forward.”

He said his government’s “green economic plan” has five main pillars.

“The first is to identify and aggressively pursue key sectors that will be areas of significant growth in the context of a transition to a low carbon future. Areas like critical minerals and associated supply chains — not just extraction — but processing, battery manufacturing and product manufacturing, hydrogen and hydrogen production technologies, carbon capture renewable electricity, biofuels and biomass, high value forest products — including very much mass timber — and nuclear technology and associated supply chains.”

Wilkinson added that, although the use of oil and natural gas for things like transportation fuels, home heating and generating power will decline as Canada and other countries attempt to achieve net zero emissions targets, there will still be a demand for oil and gas for things like industrial processes for many years to come.

“Post 2050, in a net-zero world, we will not use significant amounts of oil in combustion applications like cars and buses, but we will continue to use it in areas like non combustion applications like petrochemicals and lubricants and solvents,” Wilkinson said. “Similarly, for natural gas, uses will exist beyond 2050 in non combustion applications such as the production of ultra low carbon hydrogen.”

“During the coming 30 year period of transition and beyond 2050, when we have largely eliminated fossil fuel combustion, countries that focus on producing hydrocarbons with ultra low production emissions will have the opportunity to grow their share in what will be a declining market.”

nbennett@biv.com

twitter.com/nbennett_biv

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