FortisBC helps customers avoid close to 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2022
Surrey, B.C.—May 25, 2023: Following its Clean Growth Pathway strategy announced in 2018 to cut its customers’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, recent analysis has shown that FortisBC Energy Inc. and FortisBC Inc. (collectively FortisBC) helped its customers avoid approximately 776,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2022—the annual emissions equivalent of almost 238,000 gasoline powered automobiles being removed from local roads. This sets a new high point for avoided emissions since the company began to track its Clean Growth Pathway progress in 2020 and represents a 34 per cent improvement from 2021.
The company is driving emissions reduction and avoidance through four main areas of activity: increasing the supply of renewable and low-carbon gases1, investing in low- and zero-emission transportation, increasing investment in energy efficiency and helping the marine shipping industry displace higher emitting fuels with liquified natural gas (LNG). Annual review on these measures shows FortisBC continues to make good progress on reducing customer emissions as it works towards the province’s goal of reducing GHG emissions by 40 per cent from 2007 levels by 2030.
“Climate objectives continue to evolve and we’re committed to being a leader in the province’s energy transformation to a lower-carbon future. We are taking actions today that are making a difference in GHG emission reductions and providing British Columbians with new choices to decarbonize their homes and businesses,” said Monic Pratch, vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary and sustainability, FortisBC.
Over half of the emissions avoided by FortisBC customers in 2022 were through enabling customers to switch from high carbon heating fuels like heating oil to gas and energy efficiency measures installed through FortisBC’s rebate, incentive and pilot programs, covering everything from high-efficiency furnaces to deep energy retrofits. The company spent a record $118 million through its energy efficiency programs in 2022 to help British Columbians reduce energy consumption and save money on their monthly bills. Moving forward, increased emphasis will be placed on exploring a new generation of energy saving technologies like deep energy retrofits and gas-electric hybrid heating systems that allow customers to enjoy the dual benefits of both forms of energy working together.
Increasing the supply of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG)2 allowed FortisBC to help customers avoid approximately 208,000 tonnes of CO2e in 2022. Thirteen suppliers are currently providing FortisBC with RNG; another 20 suppliers have signed supply contracts and are expected to come online throughout 2023 and 2024. Renewable Natural Gas is a purified biogas collected from decomposing organic matter at facilities like landfills, farms and wastewater facilities. RNG is one of the lowest carbon energies3 in the province.
“The growth of our renewable and low-carbon gas supply has been remarkable. We have RNG contracts in place for around ten per cent of our current annual gas supply and we continue to negotiate new contracts with new suppliers,” said Pratch, “FortisBC is a North American leader for utility-led RNG activity. We’re growing year over year and are continuing to ramp up our supply as we work to unlock other renewable and low-carbon gases, like hydrogen, that can replace conventional natural gas in our system.”
Greenhouse gas reductions associated with helping customers switch to lower carbon transportation fuels from higher-carbon options like gasoline or diesel contributed about 10 per cent of emissions avoided in 2022. Last year, FortisBC added two new electric vehicle charging stations for a total of 42 Direct Current Fast Chargers throughout its electric service territory in the interior of the province. More than 1,000 commercial vehicles in the province are now operating on compressed natural gas (CNG), reducing both fuel costs and GHG emissions. In marine transportation, using LNG for local marine transportation enabled the company to help customers reduce GHG emissions in 2022. Six vessels from BC Ferries and four from Seaspan use LNG supplied by FortisBC in place of heavier carbon marine fuels, like diesel or fuel oil, cutting GHG emissions by 27 per cent and virtually eliminating other airborne contaminants like sulphur oxides and particulate matter.
FortisBC continues to transform B.C.’s energy future by supporting provincial CleanBC goals as recently announced in the Energy Action Plan. To learn more about how FortisBC is working to reduce emissions and better ensure sustainability, visit fortisbc.com/sustainability.
1FortisBC uses the term renewable and low-carbon gas to refer collectively to the low-carbon and carbon neutral gases or fuels that the utility can acquire under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Clean Energy) Regulation, which are: Renewable Natural Gas (RNG or biomethane), hydrogen, synthesis gas (from wood waste) and lignin. Depending on their source, all of these gases have differing levels of lifecycle carbon intensity. All gases would meet the proposed B.C. carbon intensity threshold for low-carbon gases of 36.4 g CO2e per megajoule set out in the 2021 B.C. Hydrogen Strategy.
2Renewable Natural Gas is produced in a different manner than conventional natural gas. It is derived from biogas, which is produced from decomposing organic waste from landfills, agricultural waste and wastewater from treatment facilities. The biogas is captured and cleaned to create Renewable Natural Gas (also called biomethane).
3 The burner tip carbon intensity of FortisBC’s current RNG portfolio is 0.29 gCO2e/MJ. FortisBC’s current RNG portfolio lifecycle emissions are -22 gCO2e/MJ. This is below B.C.’s low carbon threshold for lifecycle carbon intensity of 36.4 gCO2e/MJ as set out in the 2021 B.C. Hydrogen Strategy
Advisor, Corporate Communications
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