Squamish officials are preparing to fight for a cleaner airshed if the proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant slated for Howe Sound gets the green light.
The District of Squamish is sending a letter to Premier Christy Clark and the Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett requesting the province cut red tape to allow Woodfibre Natural Gas to hook into B.C. Hydro's power grid. LNG plants that cool gas to a liquid state using electricity rather than burning natural gas produce a third less carbon pollution, reports a recent study by Clean Energy Canada.
“In attendance at the open houses and in correspondence with citizens, I have heard that there's a lot of concern about the airshed,” Coun. Ron Sander, who put forward the motion for the letter, told The Chief. “That doesn't mean that LNG-generated power on that site can't be mitigated, but it seems to me there are big hydro lines running there.”
The district requested the province allow the project to access those lines and negotiate a competitive hydro rate. Woodfibre is one of two LNG plants in B.C. that's considering operating on electricity, the other being one in Smithers. While proposed LNG plants in Kitimat and Prince Rupert may be too big to run on electricity, Woodfibre's facility is one-tenth the size, Sander noted.
The Province and B.C. Hydro are working with Woodfibre's proponents on a number of items, including the power supply, B.C. Energy Minister Bill Bennett's spokesperson Matt Gordon wrote in an email to The Chief.
Part of the province's LNG strategy is to make B.C. a competitive place for LNG investment, while keeping rates affordable for families, communities and industry, Gordon stated. The province won't force LNG plants to use electricity in their operations, Bennett told media last month.
“We have designed an LNG power rate that is competitive with other LNG compression technologies that is available to all LNG developers in B.C.,” the email stated.
If B.C.'s LNG plants were all powered by electricity, it would create 400 additional permanent jobs, said Merran Smith, the director of Clean Energy Canada. The organization's report on clean LNG plant operations stated the price of LNG gas processed using electricity would only increase two per cent.
“It is really a win, win,” Smith said.