CleanBC initiatives set to receive increased funding include electric vehicle purchase incentives, EV charging infrastructure, energy efficiency plans for new buildings
Among the most notable announcements in the B.C. provincial government’s new annual budget was its pledge to renew its substantial investment in CleanBC, the province’s dedicated climate action plan. The $419 million pledged will contribute to the funding of electric vehicle purchase incentives, energy efficiency plans, and other emission-reducing initiatives.
Details of the budget were announced Tuesday in Victoria by Carole James, British Columbia Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier.
Last year’s budget included $900 million of funding for CleanBC over three years; the $419 million to be invested in the 2020 budget brings the province’s total CleanBC investment to over $1.3 billion.
Included in that sum is $20 million to be spent on the “Go Electric” EV purchase incentive program, which provides consumers with a $3,000 rebate for the purchase of an electric vehicle with an MSRP of less than $55,000.
“The $20 million renewal of the Go ElectricBC program will continue BC’s lead in having the highest EV market share in Canada: EV sales incentives are a key part of levelling the playing field for zero-emissions vehicles, and complement the vehicle supply requirements in the Zero-Emission Vehicles Act that are coming into effect,” Ian Neville, senior sustainability specialist at the City of Vancouver, told Electric Autonomy.
Infrastructure, efficiency incentives
B.C. residents are also currently eligible for an incentive of up to $700 for the installation of EV chargers in their home, as well as of up to $2,000 for workplace chargers. The 2020 budget allocates $5 million of continued funding for those two programs.
“The $5 million in funding for home and workplace charging stations will allow more people to access charging where it’s most convenient,” said Neville.
“It is especially important that these funds support renters and low- and middle-income residents: having reliable access to home or workplace charging is a great enabler for EV adoption.”
A sum of $5 million will be dedicated to purchasing incentives for zero-emission buses and heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks, marine vessels and airport ground equipment. Funding for new public fast-charging and hydrogen stations for zero-emission vehicles will also be supplied to the tune of $2 million.
CleanBC’s other initiatives include the Carbon Neutral Capital Program, which will provide $106 million over the next three years to improve energy efficiency in public facilities such as schools, universities and hospitals, a $1 million pilot program to electrify diesel ferries in inland rural B.C., and $2 million towards the purchases of public zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure.
CleanBC is also responsible for the CleanBC Program for Industry, which directs a portion of the province’s carbon tax proceeds to emission reduction incentives for large industrial operations.
B.C.’s continued investments in green infrastructure and industry come as no surprise. The introduction of the CleanBC plan by Premier John Horgan in 2018 included an ambitious timeline for a province-wide reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Most notably, B.C. has mandated that zero-emission vehicles account for 100 per cent of provincial vehicle sales by 2040, with benchmark targets of 10 per cent adoption by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. As EVs reached 10 per cent of B.C.’s new vehicle sales already in the third quarter of 2019, the province clearly has a substantive commitment to attaining these targets with efficiency.
The province also pledged to ensure that every new building constructed in B.C. is “net-zero energy ready” by 2032, a commitment bolstered by this budget’s $106 million renewal of the Carbon Neutral Capital Program.
Other CleanBC goals for the next decade include assisting industry in reducing overall emissions and pollution and ensuring reduction of residential and industrial organic waste.