The Province will establish a Green Energy Advisory Task Force, as committed in the August 2009 throne speech, and a new Cabinet Committee on Climate Action and Clean Energy, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today at the Independent Power Producers of B.C. annual conference.

“Clean energy will be a cornerstone of B.C.’s climate action plan that will create jobs, support families and generate new economic activity throughout British Columbia,” said Premier Campbell. “This task force and the new committee will ensure B.C. remains a leader in clean and renewable energy by developing our resources, maximizing our opportunities and establishing our potential as the supplier of choice for clean power.”

The Green Energy Advisory Task Force will be comprised of four advisory task force groups, to report directly to the new Cabinet Committee, include:

·         Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Procurement and Regulatory Reform
This task force will recommend improvements to BC Hydro’s procurement and regulatory regimes to enhance clarity, certainty and competitiveness in promoting clean and cost-effective power generation; and identify possible improvements to future clean power calls and procurement processes.

·         Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Carbon Pricing, Trading and Export Market Development
This task force will develop recommendations to advance British Columbia’s interests in any future national or international cap and trade system, and to maximize the value of B.C.’s green-energy attributes in all power generated and distributed within and beyond B.C. borders. The task force will also develop recommendations on carbon-pricing policies and how to integrate these policies with any cap and trade system developed for B.C.

·         Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Community Engagement and First Nations Partnerships
This task force will develop recommendations to ensure that First Nations and communities see clear benefits from the development of clean and renewable electricity and have a clear opportunity for input in project development in their areas. It will work in partnership with First Nations, not only to respect their constitutional right, but to open up new opportunities for job creation and reflect the best practices in environmental protection.
Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Resource Development
This task force will identify impediments to and best practices for planning and permitting new clean, renewable-electricity generation to ensure that development happens in an environmentally sustainable way. The task force will also consider allocation of forest fibre to support energy development and invite input from solar, tidal, wave and other clean energy sectors to develop strategies to enhance their competitiveness.

The task force groups will consist of clean-energy experts, energy consultants, renowned climate experts, leading academics, First Nation representatives and environmentalists. The members of those committees and terms of reference will be announced in the coming days. All task force groups will also undertake a comparative review of existing policies in other jurisdictions.

The new cabine
t committee will include the Premier, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Blair Lekstrom and other cabinet ministers whose portfolios are important to the development of clean energy, and existing members of the climate action committee. Additionally, the committee will include the chairs of BC Hydro and the BC Transmission Corporation.

“These task force groups and this new committee will help the Province work with BC Hydro, BCTC and the BCUC in developing future long-term acquisition plans that produce more opportunities and jobs for British Columbians, especially in rural and remote communities,” said Lekstrom.  “It will help us make the most of our energy potential, while retaining competitive rates for all British Columbians.”

“The task force groups and the new cabinet committee will help us advance our climate action goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a greener economy that generates well-paying jobs while maintaining high environmental standards for both the permitting process and the operational phase of any project that gets built,” said Environment Minister Barry Penner.

As part of the Province’s commitment to end reliance on Burrard Thermal, government has clarified its intention to the BCUC to replace the firm energy supply from Burrard Thermal with clean, renewable and cost-effective energy. BC Hydro estimates that ending their reliance on Burrard Thermal Generating Facility for energy needs will also save tens of millions of dollars over the next seven to 10 years in maintenance and capital costs.