Vancouver – The government will introduce legislation this spring requiring 50 per cent of all new incremental power needs to be offset through conservation by 2020 and will begin the process to seriously consider Site C, Premier Gordon Campbell announced today at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention. “Hydro has just put out a ‘clean’ power call that will be followed by a bio-energy power call early next year,” said Campbell. “But the fact remains we still need some new large-scale power production, and our options for clean, large-scale power are very limited. We are going to begin the process to seriously consider Site C.” The process will include extensive consultations with First Nations, the Province of Alberta and the public. Campbell said that if Site C does move forward it will be a public asset and a new heritage asset of BC Hydro. Campbell also announced that BC Hydro will be required to implement new technology and develop a process where both commercial and residential customers can sell back surplus power. The first step towards such a system will be for Hydro to help customers install “smart meters” and then develop a “smart electricity grid” that can precisely track and manage power demand. The 1.7 million residential and commercial meters, currently read manually, will be replaced with meters that can be read automatically. That new technology will allow for “net metering” whereby industrial power producers and residential customers can sell back surplus power. A “green power pricing” process will be established to reward customers for reducing and shifting power consumption to off-peak periods. Smart meters will be mandatory under the BC Building Code in all new buildings and every residential unit. The new green building code will implement the highest energy efficiency standards in Canada, which will result in homes in B.C. costing less to heat and reduce impacts on the environment. “California and Washington states have had these codes in place for 25 years,” said Campbell. “If we had a green building code in 1986, we would be able to power 250,000 additional homes today.” The Province will also introduce legislation to support the new energy plan such as requiring all new electricity produced to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions and all existing power generation will be required to have net zero GHG emissions by 2016. In addition, no coal-fired electricity projects will be permitted without 100 per cent carbon sequestration. The Province will also work with the UBCM to establish a sensible but rigorous regime for the recovery, sale and use of methane gas from landfills. In addition, the Vancouver Water District will be granted new authority to produce and sell clean hydro power to third parties.