British Columbia

B.C. government creates hydrogen office to woo energy investors

The province has 40 hydrogen projects proposed or under construction. Premier John Horgan says the B.C. Hydrogen Office will work with federal and municipal governments to attract more business and cut red tape.

Province has 40 hydrogen projects proposed or under construction

Premier John Horgan and Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Ravi Kahlon during a press conference in 2021. On Thursday, the pair announced a new office to streamline decisions on hydrogen projects. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

The government of British Columbia has launched a new office to oversee the expansion of certain energy projects in the province.

Premier John Horgan announced the creation of the B.C. Hydrogen Office during a Thursday press conference. He said it will act as a "one-stop shopping" spot for hydrogen project investors looking to do business in the province. The plan is also for office staff to help streamline decisions on hydrogen projects and proposals.

There are currently 40 hydrogen projects proposed or under construction in B.C right now. According to the province, they represent $4.8 billion in proposed investment.

"Our government recognizes the importance hydrogen projects will have for our climate and British Columbia's economy," said Horgan in a statement. "That's why we are taking steps to streamline the process to get these projects up and running as quickly as possible."

First in the country

In 2021, B.C. became the first province in Canada to release a comprehensive hydrogen strategy.

The strategy's immediate priorities, according to the province, include scaling up production of renewable hydrogen, establishing regional hydrogen hubs and deploying medium and heavy-duty fuel-cell vehicles.

Ravi Kahlon, minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, said the new office is a key pillar of the StrongerBC Economic Plan, which was designed to reduce carbon emissions while still growing the economy.

"In short, hydrogen development is the answer," said Kahlon.

In 2019, the province conducted a hydrogen study and said that by 2050, it could contribute $2.5 billion to B.C's annual gross domestic product and almost 4,000 new jobs.

The government also estimates the global hydrogen market will hit $305 billion by that date and wants to capitalize on the province's proximity to export markets.

More than half of Canada's hydrogen and fuel-cell companies are in B.C. and the province says hydrogen has the potential to slash B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions by 7.2 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050.