Editors pick

Shipping B.C. renewable power to Asia, sort of

Electrified LNG could allow Asian customers to use Canadian natural gas with fewer emissions than competitors, while benefiting B.C.’s independent power producers.

With its hydro power resources and a growing renewables sector, B.C. has clean electricity. What if excess levels could be exported as clean power to markets in need—like Asia? 

While a direct B.C. to Asia power transmission line is practically unfeasible, there is another way. It was pointed out in a recent JWNEnergy.com article: Packing B.C. electrons into LNG that Canadian natural gas, liquefied using B.C.’s low-emission electricity would result in LNG with a lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions profile than other LNG suppliers around the world. In effect, we’d be shipping B.C. renewable energy in another form (LNG) to markets in Asia.

LNG is already touted as a solution to lowering global GHG emissions by displacing coal power generation currently prevalent in places like China and India (natural gas produces about 40 percent fewer GHG emissions than coal when combusted for electricity). B.C. LNG could take that even further. 

For example, the JWNEnergy article reports that Woodfibre LNG, which intends to use electricity to power its liquefaction process, estimates that it will have a GHG emissions intensity that is 80 percent less intense than LNG produced in the Gulf of Mexico. (In addition to electrification, Canadian LNG produced on the B.C. West Coast would benefit from a more temperate climate and shorter shipping distances).

An added benefit is that electrified LNG would present opportunities for independent power producers who face competitive challenges with the sanctioning of the Site C dam.