OTTAWA, July 11, 2016 /CNW/ -
RE: OPEN LETTER TO THE CITY OF VANCOUVER
Gregor Robertson, Mayor
3rd Floor, City Hall
453 West 12th Ave
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4
Dear Mayor Robertson,
The Vancouver City Council is expected to vote on Tuesday, July 12th on the recommendations found in the Zero Emissions Building Plan report.
The effect of those recommendations will be to eliminate natural gas, the most cost-effective energy choice, from the list of energy options for Vancouver buildings. This would be extremely shortsighted.
First, it is shortsighted because it eliminates choice. Governments at the municipal level across Canada are focused on emission reductions, and Vancouver's City Council wants to lead the way. Fair enough. But if this extends beyond setting and facilitating the meeting of targets to dictating how those targets should be achieved the effect will be to micro - manage the conduct of business, and that is not a good message to business. As Canada's gateway to the enormous growth opportunity that is the Asia-Pacific region, it doesn't want to send that message.
The reference to the Asia-Pacific region is used advisedly, and points to a second reason why eliminating natural gas would be shortsighted. Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing region of the world, and needs energy. The preferred source of energy for countries in the region is natural gas. This is so much the case that China, host to this year's G20 meetings, recently held a full-day session on natural gas for the G20 Energy Ministers, exploring how to better incorporate the product into the world's energy system. Natural gas is recognized by countries across the Asia-Pacific region as the abundant, adaptable, affordable, environmentally sustainable fuel it is, and Canada is recognized as a world leader in its supply and use. If Canada's principal port facing the region signals that natural gas isn't part of the future what will this tell potential buyers across Asia?
As noted, Canada isn't just known for its supplies of natural gas, it is known for its innovative use of the product. BC's gas utilities are leading innovators in that use. Stopping such innovation would be a consequence of eliminating natural gas use, a third reason why this policy proposal is shortsighted. The introduction of renewable natural gas into gas infrastructure is one example of innovation: using a robust and cost-effective distribution system to introduce this product. If Vancouver says that system can't move natural gas any more it will take away the means to cost-effectively deliver that product. It will also take away the ability to deliver power to gas technology, one of the most innovative and effective ways to distribute renewable electricity. You will also take away the delivery system for natural gas for heavy-duty vehicles - perhaps the best way to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in the lower mainland. They are numerous other examples of innovation that the natural gas infrastructure in Vancouver enables - Vancouverites shouldn't be forced to lose those.
Underscoring all of these reasons is a key attribute of natural gas that Vancouver City Council needs to remember: natural gas is the most affordable energy option by far for Vancouver. Access to affordable energy is important to people who live in Vancouver. Affordable energy also reduces the operating costs of business, keeping companies competitive keeping high-paying corporate jobs on the ground in this, Canada's third largest city. This competitive advantage should not be thrown away outdoing one another with targets, they are built on real jobs and real opportunities for citizens.
Timothy M. Egan
President & CEO
Canadian Gas Association
Councillor Raymond Louie
Councillor Heather Deal
Councillor Kerry Jang
Councillor Andrea Reimer
Councillor Tim Stevenson
Councillor Geoff Meggs
Councillor Elizabeth Ball
Councillor George Affleck
Councillor Melissa De Genova
Councillor Adriane Carr
The Canadian Gas Association (CGA) is the voice of Canada's natural gas distribution industry and its members are distribution companies, transmission companies, equipment manufacturers and other service providers. Natural gas has a central place in Canada's energy mix meeting over 30 per cent of the country's energy needs. Today over 6.7 million customers representing well over 20 million Canadians rely on natural gas for heat and power in homes, apartments, buildings, businesses, hospitals and schools.
Industry at a Glance
SOURCE Canadian Gas Association
For further information: Paula Dunlop, Director, Public and Government Affairs, Canadian Gas Association, 613-748-0057 x341, 613-614-3280