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Province of British Columbia
NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2016PREM0019-000317
March 2, 2016
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Energy and Mines
Government invests in innovative clean-energy programs

VANCOUVER – Today at the 2016 Globe Conference on Sustainability and Innovation Premier Christy Clark announced funding of $11.9 million from the Province’s Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund for three programs aimed at promoting clean-energy vehicles, clean air and clean water.

In response to strong demand for clean-energy vehicles the Province is injecting an additional $6.89 million into the Clean Energy Vehicle Program to ensure purchase incentives continue to be available for British Columbians who choose a qualifying electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, and to make further investments in charging infrastructure.

“Encouraging environmentally friendly transportation is part of our broader plan to ensure British Columbia remains a climate action leader,” said Premier Clark. “Last December in Paris, B.C. became the 14th member of the Zero Emission Vehicle Alliance, joining leading jurisdictions such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and west coast partners California and Oregon in a commitment to accelerate the global transition to zero-emission vehicles. This is another step towards making that happen.”

Under the Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) Program, point-of-sale incentives of up to $5,000 are available for the purchase or lease of a new battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, and up to $6,000 for a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. When combined with SCRAP-IT program incentives, total savings could be up to $8,250 for an electric vehicle.

“Uptake on clean-energy vehicle incentives has exceeded our expectations, and that’s great news,” said Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett. “Transportation represents over a third of B.C.’s total provincial greenhouse gas emissions and nearly half of the emissions by the average B.C. family, so stimulating the purchase of clean-energy vehicles is one of the most effective ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

To ensure the funds available for incentives go further and are available for more British Columbians purchasing lower-cost CEVs, the Province has established a vehicle price cap. Effective immediately, any CEV with a manufacturer suggested retail price above $77,000 will not be eligible for a purchase incentive from the CEV program.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines will continue to administer the CEV incentive program through a partnership with the New Car Dealers Association of British Columbia.

In addition to $6 million for purchase incentives, the CEV Program will receive $890,000 for further investments in programs under development to expand public and residential charging infrastructure and encourage fleet purchases of CEVs.

Premier Clark also announced that effective immediately, eligible electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles displaying an official decal are allowed in high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes throughout the province regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle.

British Columbia is a leader in clean-energy vehicles with the largest public charging infrastructure network in Canada and the highest per capita adoption of electric vehicles in Canada.

In addition to funding for the CEV Program, Premier Clark announced funding for two other projects from the ICE fund today to support government’s energy and environmental priorities and the development of new technology:

  • $3.75 million to Carbon Engineering Ltd. to support the design and construction of a synthetic fuels demonstration plant in Squamish that will use carbon dioxide captured from thin air to synthesize diesel or gasoline fuel. The project will deliver the world’s first “air-to-fuels” plant and demonstrate that it is technically and economically viable to produce low-carbon fuel using carbon captured directly from the atmosphere. Such synthetic fuels – diesel or gasoline – would be manufactured from carbon dioxide captured from the air, water, and renewable electricity, so that once burned in a vehicle they would simply return the carbon to the air – meaning the fuels can be nearly carbon-neutral.
  • $1.25 million will support Saltworks Technologies of Vancouver in designing, building and implementing  two demonstration pilots using their patented wastewater treatment technologies to remove nitrates in a test environment and selenium at Teck Resources’ Fording River mine site. Selenium is released from the weathering of mining waste rock, which contaminates rain water flowing through the waste rock piles. If successful, the projects may result in the construction of full-scale mine-water-treatment plants around the world using Saltworks’ made-in-B.C. technology.

The ICE Fund is designed to support government’s energy and environmental priorities and advance British Columbia’s clean energy sector. The ICE Fund receives funding through a 0.4% levy on the final sale of specified energy products such as natural gas, fuel oil and grid-delivered propane.

British Columbia is recognized as a world leader in the fight against climate change, while growing a strong economy:

  • First jurisdiction in North America to introduce a broad-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax, with a price on carbon of $30/tonne.
  • Clean electricity supply through hydro-electric power and renewables. B.C.’s electricity supply was 97.9% clean for the year ending March 31, 2015.

Quotes:

Blair Qualey, president and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of B.C. –

“I want to thank Premier Clark and Ministers Bennett and Stone for their ongoing support for this effective program that provides financial incentives to car buyers interested in getting into a clean-energy vehicle and reducing their carbon footprint. Thanks to the renewed financial support of this program and changes that allow CEVs to travel in HOV lanes, more British Columbians than ever will be encouraged to get into a clean energy vehicle and take advantage of the exciting new technology revolutionizing the automotive sector. Many of those qualifying vehicles will be on display March 23 to 27 at the Vancouver International Auto Show and I would encourage anyone who wants to save money by taking advantage of this program to come to B.C.'s Auto Show and visit the Electric Vehicle Experience Test Drive to try out an electric or alternative fuel vehicle.”

Adrian Corless, CEO, Carbon Engineering –

“Carbon Engineering has received an amazing level of encouragement from the local community, Squamish First Nation, and the provincial government over the year we’ve been operating in Squamish. This new funding from the BC Innovative Clean Energy Fund is greatly accelerating the synthetic fuels project we’re working on now. We think that synthetic fuels are a key strategic offering that can help B.C. dramatically cut emissions from the transport sector. And we’re hoping that this project, and follow on work will make B.C. a global leader in carbon neutral fuels.”

Benjamin Sparrow, CEO, Saltworks –

“With support of the B.C. ICE fund, a British Columbian miner and clean-tech company have come together to pilot a breakthrough low-energy water technology for mine-water treatment in B.C. Saltworks is building globally leading technologies fit for massive export growth. The new innovation and ICE’s investment has magnifying impacts: it will create more B.C. jobs linked to export, treat more water globally, all while first being demonstrated protecting B.C. rivers.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Province introduced the CEV Program in 2011 and has since committed more than $31 million to make CEVs more affordable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In addition to offering purchase incentives, the program invests in charging infrastructure, hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, outreach, and research and training.
  • Since 2011 the CEV Program’s point-of-sale purchase incentives – along with investments in infrastructure, outreach, research and training – have helped put over 2,400 EVs on the road in B.C.
  • Including vehicles that were brought into the province from other jurisdictions or purchased outside the CEV Program, B.C. now has over 3,300 battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles registered in the province.
  • Each electric vehicle on the road in B.C. displaces four tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The current 3,300 electric vehicles on the road in B.C. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 198,000 tonnes over 15 years.
  • The CEV price cap will result in an additional 450 CEVs on the road over the course of the next phase of the program versus a program without a price cap.
  • The CEV Program investments in infrastructure have supported the development of over 1,000 residential and public charging stations around the province.

Learn More:

To learn about British Columbia’s CEV Program, visit: http://www.cevforbc.ca/

For information on electric vehicles, charging systems and infrastructure, visit Plug-In BC: http://pluginbc.ca/

To find out about the SCRAP-IT Program for electric vehicles, visit: https://scrapit.ca/

For more information on HOV lanes and electric vehicles and to apply for a permit, click here:  http://www.gov.bc.ca/HOVPermit

To learn about Carbon Engineering and carbon capture from ambient air, visit: http://carbonengineering.com/

To learn about Saltworks’ water treatment technologies, visit: http://www.saltworkstech.com/

 
Media Contacts:
 
Stephen Smart
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
778 389-6202
 
Suntanu Dalal
Media Relations
Ministry of Energy and Mines
250 952-0628
 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect