Okanagan Climate Hub Statement on FortisBC Energy Transition Plan

Okanagan Climate Hub responded to FortisBC’s Energy Transition Plan. See our letter to Kelowna Council below.

Dear Mayor and Council,

Okanagan Climate Hub is very concerned with the recommendations and information in agenda item 3.1 Energy Transition Plan – FortisBC.  With more than 100 million people in North America being affected by dangerous levels of air pollutants due to wildfires in Canada, the impacts of climate change are front and centre, raising grave concerns about our future. 

This early spring wildfire season is 13 times greater than anything seen in history, and this is not the new normal.  This will only get worse if cities and countries don’t immediately curb our greenhouse gas emissions.

The June 9th, 2023 C40 North America mayors’ response to wildfires and air quality crisis in the region includes:

“Our mission is clear: Without drastically reducing fossil fuel use in order to at least halve our emissions by 2030 we will likely be condemning ourselves to a future filled with weeks like these in cities across the world.  Achieving this goal will take all hands on deck. We stand ready to address this climate and health emergency and call on all governments, companies, and residents to act with us.”

Meanwhile, on P11 of the presentation, FortisBC is recommending the exact opposite:

Recognize renewable gas as a low-carbon energy system in the same fashion as electricity and ensure policy frameworks continue to provide a role for gas in buildings

Please read our attached detailed, but not exhaustive, response to the FortisBC energy transition plan, and the attached well-researched RNG Facts and Common Misconceptions 4-page document produced by First Things First Okanagan Climate Action.  

Essentially, our recommendation is that instead of continuing to expand our gas network and increasing the risks associated with burning and leaking methane gas, we should:

  1. Immediately cap any expansion of our gas pipeline network;
  2. Knowing RNG is not expected to meet even existing needs, incentivize the transition to the much cleaner electrical grid like other cities in BC and across North America are doing.
  3. Implement a Climate Action Task Force to provide thorough assessments of items coming before council such as this. 

Okanagan Climate Hub