Two separate court challenges of the federal and provincial environmental assessment approvals for the Site C hydropower project in British Columbia have recently been dismissed by the federal and BC appellate courts. The two appellate courts separately upheld earlier decisions of the BC Supreme Court and the Federal Court which had dismissed applications for judicial review by the Prophet River First Nation and the West Moberly First Nation (the First Nations) of the provincial and federal environmental assessment decisions approving Site C. The First Nations argued that the approvals infringed their treaty rights under Treaty 8 and that there was … Continue Reading
On October 21, 2015, the government of British Columbia announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (the “MOU”) with BC Hydro and the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia (“CEBC”). A copy of the MOU is available here. CEBC has served as the main industry representative for BC’s independent power producers for the past 25 years.
The MOU is intended to provide a framework to facilitate collaboration between the three parties to promote the goals of fostering a robust independent clean energy sector in BC, promoting partnerships with First Nations and local communities, and ensuring the delivery … Continue Reading
Following a stakeholder consultation this summer, the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines is planning to exercise its authority under the Utilities Commission Act (British Columbia) (the “UCA”) to exempt two transmission projects, the North Montney Power Supply (“NMPS”) project (proposed by Alberta-based ATCO) and the Peace Region Electricity Supply (“PRES”) project (proposed by BC Hydro), from review by the BC Utilities Commission (the “BCUC”) under Part 3 of the UCA. Among other things, this exemption would relieve BC Hydro and ATCO from the requirement under section 45 of the UCA to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity … Continue Reading
On February 4, 2015, the B.C. government released the final report of an independent review of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), the independent governmental regulatory agency that regulates British Columbia’s natural gas and electricity utilities, intra-provincial pipelines and universal compulsory automobile insurance.… Continue Reading
On December 4, 2014, the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board (the “Board”) issued reasons in a preliminary hearing relating to an appeal against Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.’s (“Rio Tinto”) amended multi-media permit (the “Permit”) for its Kitimat Modernization Project.
The Permit authorizes Rio Tinto to discharge effluent, emissions, and waste from its aluminum smelter located in Kitimat, British Columbia. In April 2012, the Director, under authority of the Environmental Management Act (the “Act”), approved certain amendments to the Permit, which were sought by Rio Tinto in support of a project … Continue Reading
On October 21, 2014, British Columbia Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced Bill 6 – 2014, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act (the “Act”), which proposes an income tax, effective for taxation years beginning on or after January 1, 2017, payable on net income from liquefaction activities at or in respect of a liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) facility in B.C.
Shortly following the announcement of the Act, McCarthy Tétrault’s LNG Team provided preliminary comments on its key highlights – see British Columbia Government Tables LNG Tax Legislation. In this article, we provide a … Continue Reading
On October 21, 2014, the British Columbia Government tabled Bill 6, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act. The Bill will be considered at the Legislature’s next sitting.… Continue Reading
British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett addressed the province’s independent power producers at the opening of Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver on October 16, 2014. Speaking in the wake of the announcement earlier in the week that the Site C clean energy project (Site C) has received environmental approvals from the B.C. and federal governments, Minister Bennett confirmed that the B.C. government has not yet made a final investment decision with respect to Site C and is in the final stages of a “due diligence” process that includes comparisons to other potential alternatives, including a … Continue Reading
On July 21, 2014, the BC Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) enacted the Liquefied Natural Gas Facility Regulation (LNG Regulation) under the authority of the Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA). On the heels of BC’s increasing emphasis on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, the LNG Regulation expands and updates the sparse LNG-related provisions which were previously in the Pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas Facility Regulation, which consequently has now been amended by removing the LNG provisions and been renamed the Pipeline Regulation. In addition, the Consultation and Notification Regulation under the OGAA was … Continue Reading
British Columbia’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector remained active throughout the second half of 2013. Governments and proponents negotiated agreements and projects advanced through various regulatory processes. Given continued interest in BC’s new industry, we prepared the following end-of-year update that summarizes notable LNG sector activity.… Continue Reading
On November 26, 2013, the BC government confirmed its approval of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP provides a 20-year outlook of how BC Hydro expects to reliably and cost-effectively meet the anticipated future electricity needs of the province through conservation and acquisition of sufficient generation and transmission resources.… Continue Reading
The BC government has announced a 10 Year Plan for BC Hydro in which the province aims to minimize rate increases while allowing BC Hydro to reinvest in its aging assets and infrastructure. As we noted in a prior blog post, Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review, previously indicated that BC Hydro rate increases were imminent in view of the ongoing refurbishment of BC Hydro’s heritage generation facilities.… Continue Reading
The BC government recently indicated that it will delay the announcement of the tax regime for the province’s emerging liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector. Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman had previously indicated that the province was close to finalizing applicable tax rules and expected to provide details by the end of November. The Minister now indicates that more time is needed to complete related consultations with the various LNG proponents.
A new federal-provincial study has concluded that naturas gas reserves contained in the Montney Formation that straddes British Columbia and Alberta are more than double than previously estimated, equivalent to 145 years of supply at Canada’s current consumption levels.
Prepared jointly by Canada’s National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator, B.C.’s newly-created Ministry of Natural Gas Development and the B.C. Oil & Gas Commission, the study assesses for the first time the unconventional petroleum resource potential of the Montney Formation. The study’s findings include the following:
- the ultimate potential for unconventional petroleum in the Montney Formation is estimated at 12,719
On October 16, 2013, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) released its white paper on energy policy in BC (White Paper). The White Paper provides an overview of BC’s energy development history and highlights the implications of three key shifts which drive the requirement for further policy reform:
- the shale gas revolution, which has altered continental natural gas pricing and created a new export opportunity to feed Asian demand.
- climate change, which requires coordinated approaches to energy development.
- electricity marketplace change, which requires a new understanding of how future electricity needs will be met when upgrades of existing assets
On Tuesday, November 5, 2013, British Columbia and Alberta announced that the provinces have entered a framework agreement on moving energy resources to new markets and confirmed certain principles that will apply to the development of heavy oil pipelines from Alberta’s oil sands to the BC coast. The Premiers have reportedly been at odds with respect to pipeline issues since the British Columbia outlined its five requirements for supporting oil pipeline development.… Continue Reading
British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett addressed the province’s independent power producers at the opening of Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver on October 28, 2013. While confirming that there are currently no plans for a power call in the province, Minister Bennett acknowledged that his ministerial mandate specifically contemplates working with the clean energy sector to ensure that there remain significant opportunities for renewable energy companies to provide power to British Columbia, and made a number of observations, including:
- policymaking continues to occur in a fluid and dynamic economic environment;
- electricity rates will need to
Today, Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister responsible for Core Review, directed BC Hydro to release its draft Integrated Resource Plan (the IRP) to the public and carry out another round of public consultation with the public, stakeholders and First Nations.… Continue Reading
In its recent throne speech, the BC government predicted that the LNG industry could add $1 trillion to the provincial GDP over the next 30 years. The Province intends to launch a new “Prosperity Fund” that would accumulate over $100 billion in LNG royalties during this timeframe. Such funds would be used to pay down the $56 billion in provincial debt, and perhaps eliminate the provincial sales tax and invest in education, social services and infrastructure.
The BC government formally announced on June 22, 2012 that it was not planning to proceed with the implementation of the BC Feed-in Tariff (FIT) Regulation, citing efforts to limit electricity rate increases. Currently, the Clean Energy Act allows, but does not require, BC Hydro to introduce FIT programs.