Natural gas has a role to play in electricity generation in B.C. However, there are some considerations that are important to take into account.
B.C. Government Policy: The Clean Energy Act requires BC Hydro to maintain a portfolio that is 93 per cent clean or renewable (except for resources needed to supply exporting LNG facilities). The remaining 7 per cent of BC Hydro’s portfolio can be used for non-renewable options, such as natural gas. However, the amount of new natural gas that could be developed in the same time frame as Site C is currently limited because natural gas and diesel generation would represent approximately 6 per cent of BC Hydro’s system in that timeframe.
Cost Profile and Price Volatility: While a natural gas-fired facility would have lower upfront capital costs compared to Site C, its operating costs would be relatively higher and subject to market fluctuation of fuel costs. This leads to a higher level of uncertainty in the cost of energy for natural gas-fired facilities over the long-term.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Site C would produce among the lowest GHG emissions compared to other forms of electricity generation in B.C. per unit of energy produced. Fossil fuel sources, such as a natural gas-fired facility, would have significantly higher levels of GHG emissions.