In June 2020, the NDP government proposed Bill 17 to amend the Clean Energy Act (2010). The clean energy industry, First Nations and several municipalities were particularly alarmed at the proposed amendment to remove the self-sufficiency requirement, which restricted the amount of power BC Hydro can purchase on the Mid-C spot market. This change would allow British Columbia to become more heavily reliant on imported electricity rather than developing power along with the local economic development – jobs, business, and tax benefits – here in BC. Another issue is the proposed ability to vary the definition of ‘clean’ imported power, rather than being guided by a clear legislated standard. This could open BC to importing brown power from fossil-based sources like coal.

Removing self-sufficiency would be detrimental to local power producers which includes many First Nations that have invested significantly in renewable energy projects – either as sole owners or in partnership with clean energy companies. Bill 17 was presented in the BC Legislature during the summer session, the first reading can be viewed here. On July 28th 2020, the Green Party released this statement that they would not support Bill 17 without First Nations consultation and a stronger definition of clean electricity and clean resources.

Clean Energy BC quickly launched a community, First Nations and media awareness campaign to inform the public of the likely consequences of Bill 17. We plan to continue to inform the public and policymakers of the advantages of the clean energy industry as the best option for sourcing electricity for British Columbia.

A chronological overview of public debate on Bill 17 can be found here as news articles, radio and television interviews, press releases issued by First Nations, and op-eds: