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Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia on the electrification of the natural gas sector

WHEREAS:

  • In 2016, the governments of Canada and British Columbia (hereinafter “the participants”) released the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which outlined potential areas of collaboration between the Government of Canada and the provinces, including bringing British Columbia’s clean energy to the natural gas sector;
  • The governments of Canada and British Columbia have mutual interests in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and growing the economy;
  • The Government of British Columbia, in December 2018, released CleanBC, its new provincial economic development, energy, and climate strategy, which prioritized electrification, including electrification of the natural gas sector as a means of meeting its climate change commitments;
  • Electrification of upstream gas and liquefied natural gas were jointly studied by the governments of British Columbia and Canada in the Regional Electricity Cooperation and Strategic Infrastructure Initiative and were found to be among the most cost-effective electricity infrastructure projects identified in western Canada;
  • British Columbia has already been making investments in its grid to enable electrification of the natural gas industry, and as part of this, in April 2019, the Government Canada announced that it is providing up to $83.6 million towards the Peace Region Electricity Supply project through the Investing in Canada Plan, with BC Hydro providing the remaining $205.4 million;  
  • The governments of British Columbia and Canada have a shared interest in electrifying natural gas production and liquefied natural gas production to build Canada’s clean energy brand as a supplier of the world’s cleanest natural gas; and
  • The governments of British Columbia and Canada recognize that reliable and affordable access to electricity for natural gas proponents is a key factor in achieving climate change goals.

THEREFORE, the participants have mutually decided the following:

Purpose

  1. The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to demonstrate the commitment of the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada to support the electrification of the natural gas sector in British Columbia.

Joint actions

  1. The participants agree on the importance of supporting the electrification of the natural gas sector in British Columbia.
  2. A Canada-British Columbia Clean Power Planning Committee, with senior representation from both jurisdictions, including BC Hydro will:
    1. Advance natural gas and liquefied natural gas electrification, including:
      1. CleanBC Facilities Electrification Fund;
      2. Bear Mountain to Dawson Creek Voltage Conversion project;
      3. North Montney Power Supply project; and
      4. Other natural gas electrification opportunities identified by the participants
    2. Explore other electrification and transmission expansion opportunities, as determined by the Committee;
    3. Improve cross-government coordination to connect existing and new funding sources to priorities, especially with respect to federal infrastructure funding; and
    4. Develop and consider new and/or alternative financing models that can advance priority transmission projects, which may include Indigenous or other private sector ownership and participation by the Canada Infrastructure Bank.
  3. The participants will jointly decide on overall resource levels to be devoted to the initiatives set out in this Memorandum. The participants are currently examining $680 million in near-term electrification projects for joint funding, subject to necessary financial approvals by each participant.
  4. The participants will each work to support the projects identified in this Memorandum within five years and any other projects jointly approved.

Engagement and collaboration with Indigenous peoples

  1. The participants will engage with Indigenous groups to help ensure that Indigenous views are appropriately reflected in the initiative undertaken through this Memorandum.

Modification and discontinuance

  1. This Memorandum may be modified by mutual decision of the participants in writing at any time.  
  2. Either participant may discontinue their participation in this Memorandum by giving the other participant notice in writing.

Coordination and implementation

  1. The Government of Canada’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and the Government of British Columbia’s Deputy Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, with the support, as required, of the Government of Canada’s Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Youth and the Government of British Columbia’s Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, Office of the Premier, will be responsible for leading the coordination and implementation of the commitments of the participants set out in this Memorandum.
  2. The participants will resolve any dispute or difference between them arising from this Memorandum through consultation.
  3. This Memorandum does not create any enforceable legal or equitable rights, or obligations, but acknowledges the intent of the participants to pursue mutually beneficial initiatives and activities.
  4. This MOU takes effect upon signature by the parties. This MOU shall be in effect for a period of five years.
  5. This MOU may be amended by mutual written agreement by the parties.

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