10.1 British Columbia


Figure 10.1 – British Columbia’s energy profile #

GHG emissions across scenarios
Emission reductions by sector in NZ50 
Electricity generation by source
Biomass production by source

Key developments for British Columbia:

  • The gas production sector puts significant pressure on GHG emissions. With the measures in place, emissions are projected to grow faster than the Canadian average: by 24% by 2030 and 63% by 2050, led by increases in gas production and transport. 
  • CP30 still means a continuous growth in emissions until 2050 (+43 %), but at a slightly slower rate than REF.  
  • Even net-zero scenarios decarbonize more slowly than the Canadian average on the short run: with reductions of 0% for NZ60, 22% for NZ50 and 32% for NZ45 by 2030. However, the rate picks up afterwards, as gas production drops and biomass-produced electricity with carbon capture and sequestration (BECCS) combine to produce a negative-emissions society by 2050
    (-19 MtCO2e) for NZ50.
  • In net-zero scenarios, industrial combustion is the first sector to decarbonize throughout the 2020s (80% reduction in NZ50), followed by energy production and fugitive emissions after 2030.
  • Residential and commercial buildings have mainly eliminated emissions by 2040; transport, however, takes longer and is limited to a reduction of a little over 50% by 2050.
  • By 2050 or 2060, all net-zero scenarios result in more negative emissions than necessary to compensate for the province’s remaining emissions: at that point, BC is therefore net negative in terms of GHG emissions.
  • Electricity expands significantly more than the Canadian average for NZ scenarios. By 2030, it is expected to have grown by 16% to 37% for NZ60 to NZ45, and to be multiplied by 3 for all NZ scenarios by 2060. 
  • Electricity expands first through biomass, which allows the province to generate negative emissions through BECCS electricity production as early as the 2020s; BECCS hydrogen production starts from 2040; and a smaller share of BECCS is observed in industry after 2040 as well; a large quantity of DAC is also used from 2050 in net-zero scenarios, almost doubling BECCS negative emissions in NZ50 and NZ45.
  • Wind energy appears later than in other provinces, amounting only to about half of new generation at or after the net-zero point; while there is some solar, most of the other half of new generation comes from geothermal (shown on the chart in the “other renewables” category.
  • Electricity deliveries to Alberta increase five-fold in net-zero scenarios, while remaining much less than 10% of total generation for British Columbia
  • Over time, biomass production comes overwhelmingly from forest residues (which doubles by 2030). Organic waste adds to this production later on (primarily from the 2040s), helping to generate a considerable amount of BECCS electricity, some BECCS hydrogen, very little biofuels, and biogas from the 2040s.