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Economy



New Economic Trends and Realities, and Kinder Morgan

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DOWNLOAD ‘What’s Fuelling Our Economy: Is Kinder Morgan’s Proposed Pipeline Inconsistent with New Economic Trends and Realities?’

Which Industries Employ British Columbians?

BC is made up of thousands of small businesses, mainly in service-based sectors. We may think of BC as a resource-based province, but only 1.2% of British Columbians work in the oil and gas sector.

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What About the National Economy – Where Does Canada’s Wealth Come From?

Real estate is by far Canada’s largest sector overall, contributing a full 13% of national GDP. Manufacturing and retail and wholesale trade are also significant, each bringing in 11% of GDP. Although key industries vary across regions, some clear national trends are also evident.

Would the Kinder Morgan Oil Pipeline Create Jobs?

According to Kinder Morgan, building the pipeline would create 50 permanent jobs in BC and 40 permanent jobs in Alberta. It’s uncertain how many temporary jobs would be created, and if they would benefit otherwise unemployed workers.

Download our report to read more

Oil Spill and Leak History in BC

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It’s a fact that oil spills are a risk with any oil transport – we know from past incidents. Take a look at the overview of the more significant leaks and spills that happened in BC, most along the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline route.

Since we produced this infographic, there was yet another fuel spill in BC waters, near Bella Bella in 2016. The costs to the economy and environment must be weighed, as a decision on a new Kinder Morgan pipeline is considered.

 

How Will the Shift to a Low-Carbon Economy Affect Jobs in British Columbia?

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At this point in history, few would attempt to credibly argue that fossil fuel use is not driving climate change. G7 leaders have targeted the year 2100 for fossil fuel phase-out, 177 countries have signed the Paris Agreement, and the world economy is making strides towards low-carbon. This means existing models will change, including the nature of jobs here in our province.

What infrastructure should we be investing in? Which industries will generate the permanent, high-paid jobs of the future? British Columbia should be on the leading edge of the economic and cultural shift towards renewables and de-carbonization, and thus reap the benefits for society, workers and investors.

It is time to have a conversation about what the shift to a low-carbon economy will look like for BC workers.

We all know that it is far easier to stick with what you know. Progress and innovation require a little discomfort sometimes, and Canada’s economy and fossil fuel dependency is a reminder of this. While our economic wellbeing has undeniably relied on the oil and gas industry for decades, the evolution towards clean technology and a more diversified energy economy is underway. Change is brewing… and opportunity lies in the transition towards lower carbon.

Proponents of the fossil fuel industry have done well to convince Canadians that the movement away from investment and policy supports to oil and gas will cost jobs, send our national economy on a ruinous path, will take decades, and be expensive and highly complex.

Is this true? Will a commitment to energy transition have a negative impact on the BC economy and workers? CRED thinks that it is time to put that rhetoric to the test.

How Long Will It Take?

Many credible energy analysts are positing the concept of peak demand for oil within the next 15 years. This is being driven by nations weaning themselves off of oil, increased efficiency & diversification of fuel sources, and, of course, climate change.

Several recent studies examine the costs, benefits and timelines of pivoting away from a fossil fuels-based economy, and all come to the conclusion that the economy will not suffer through investments in renewable infrastructure. In fact, the commitment to a low carbon economy presents an opportunity to diversify and grow. Let’s explore the results of some of this research and what it means for BC.

A recent University of Sussex Study analyzed the speed of energy transitions over history.  The study cited that Brazil transitioned 90% of their passenger vehicles to sugar ethanol within only 6 years of implementing the program. Closer to home, the study reminded us that the province of Ontario completely divested itself from the use of coal in less than 11 years – even though coal once powered well over 25% of the province’s energy needs.

The study also notes that there are factors unique to this moment in time that could accelerate a transition towards renewable energy; these include the scarcity of resources, the threat of climate change and technological advances. Of course these factors alone aren’t enough for a swift transition. A common feature of energy transitions that are quick and effective, include strong government intervention matched by consumer interest and uptake.

Based on historical analysis, experts are predicting that the transition to an entirely clean-energy driven society could take less than a decade.

Yes.  You read that right.

Ten years is hardly the blink of an eye, of course. We do need to challenge the notion, however, that the transition to a de-carbonized society should somehow be postponed indefinitely because it is going to take too long.

In order to really begin this transition in earnest, we need policy leadership – federally, provincially and municipally. As an example, this will mean looking at how we make our provincial carbon tax more effective by regularly increasing the tax as was originally intended, and in doing so, incentivizing businesses and consumers to make the shift.

What Will It Cost?

It is argued that the movement away from fossil fuels entails exorbitant costs and risks. We need to remind ourselves of the costs of inaction. In western Canada, one of the principal and obvious impacts of climate change will be increasingly dry temperatures and higher-intensity wildfires earlier and later in the year than we have known historically. The struggles being faced across Northern BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan right now – in early May – are exemplary of what we may expect moving forward. The high financial costs to society are acutely being borne at the moment by the residents of Fort McMurray and the surrounding communities.  While all Canadians stand in support of these families in their struggle, we cannot overlook that what they are going through in fleeing ‘The Beast’ fire may become a new reality for the west, rather than a one-off disaster.

We also cannot ignore the costs of society doubling down on infrastructure to support a product such as bitumen, where we exert little control over global pricing. The past two years have shown Canadians the risks of being the highest cost producers of arguably the most carbon intensive fuel source available to society. The current budget deficit in Alberta highlights where the real economic risks lie: continuing to base the economic and social wellbeing of a province on royalties and tax revenue from an industry where demand and pricing is out of our hands.

So what will it cost to bring in policies to support the shift to a de-carbonized society? The Labor Network for Sustainability has recently laid out an accelerated policy framework to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions 80% in the U.S. by 2050. The 2015 study includes cuts in coal power and targets cost reductions for electricity, heating and transportation. The framework is then compared to the ‘base’ model of existing policies, in order to see the impact on jobs, and the costs of implementation.

The report concludes that this Clean Energy Future plan could result in overall job growth – more than 500,000 jobs added per year over business-as-usual projections – mainly due to the rise of energy efficiency programs. These new jobs will be developed in producing, maintaining and installing equipment through renewable energy programs, electric vehicle industry expansion, and massive growth in manufacturing and construction employment.

The truly staggering news?  The cumulative cost of this Clean Energy Future model is $78 billion less than the reference (base) case.

But Seriously… Won’t We Lose a Lot of Jobs?

The short answer is yes.  And no.

In 2014, Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) produced a report outlining multiple pathways to achieve 80% GHG below 1990 levels by 2050 in the United States. Building on that report, NextGen Climate America and ICF International used National Energy Modeling System (NEMS) data to determine how following a decarbonization plan would impact jobs and GDP.

The findings indicated that the transition to a low carbon economy would boost jobs in the U.S. including:

  • More than 1 million additional jobs created by 2030 and up to 2 million jobs in 2050, including 1.2 million additional jobs in the construction sector;
  • GDP increased by $145 billion (0.6%) in 2030 and by $290 billion (0.9%) in 2050 compared to business-as-usual;
  • Household disposable income increased by $350-$400 in 2030 and by as much as $650 in 2050;
  • Families will have saved $5.3 billion on energy bills by 2030 and $41 billion by 2050.

A truly chilling finding in the report was that inaction on climate change will reduce the United States’ GDP 36 percent by the end of the century.

The report also acknowledged that as jobs shift from coal to clean energy some workers and communities will be adversely affected. This is happening in Canada now, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and it is essential that we assist those affected and incorporate employment transition into planning and policy frameworks.

As an example, it is inspiring to see how in Edmonton – truly the epicenter of oilsands country – a group of current and former oilsands workers are pushing governments and industry to invest in retraining programs so that 1,000 oil and gas electricians can become solar technicians, as part of a broader initiative to move towards renewable energy.

These workers themselves state that investing in renewable energy will “open up a huge amount of opportunity for us if we can start diversifying our energy grid and it would ensure that we are less vulnerable to price fluctuations”. The Minister of the Environment of Alberta seems to agree, stating that “we know that as we transition from coal to cleaner sources of power there will be new job opportunities in a more diversified economy.”

What Does It All Mean for BC?

Closer to home, a study by Clean Energy Canada (CEC) looks at BC specifically, and concludes that a larger carbon tax and stronger sector specific regulation on buildings, transportation, and energy supply will result in a healthier provincial economy.

The report states that the economy will continue growing at an average rate of 2% over the coming decades. A quarter million new jobs will be added to the economy in the next ten years, with total jobs growing by 900,000 between 2015 and 2050.

Much like the US findings, CEC foresees most job growth within the service sector. Job losses in petroleum refining and natural gas distribution are offset by new jobs in biofuel and renewable electricity production. One thing to note is that this report includes the assumption of growth in the LNG industry, but with the recommendation of an end of life date in 2050.

Each report uses varying scenarios and methodologies, but the findings are similar:

Thoughtful implementation of carbon-reducing policies will not harm the economy or availability of high-paying jobs.

The reports consistently found that jobs would relocate from fossil fuel industries to construction and service sectors. A prominent universal finding is that solutions and actions to reduce carbon will buoy our economy for the long term.

Change has to start somewhere, and if we can identify the goal, let’s all discuss strategies for how to get there.

One of the challenges of understanding the potential impact of investing in renewable energy is that traditional industry employment data does not specifically capture it… until now.  As of 2015, there is a Clean Energy Jobs Map for British Columbia.

CRED feels it is time to move away from the unhelpful rhetoric surrounding the move to a de-carbonized society, and start talking about opportunities and how to forge the path forward.

The clock is ticking.  Let’s do this.

 

Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/jobless-oilsands-workers-look-to-alternative-energy-1.3500533

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/dylan-thompson/renewable-energy-jobs_b_8741606.html

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629615300827

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/we-can-phase-out-fossil-fuels-within-a-decade-study-says?utm_medium=email&utm_source=flipboard

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-end-of-oil-as-we-know-it-2016-4?utm_medium=email&utm_source=flipboard

 

 

CRED’s Take on Budget 2016

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The new federal government recently came down with its much-anticipated first budget.  Finance Minister Bill Morneau stated that the Liberal government is making “the investments needed to boost the economy over the long term.”

Pundits had speculated for weeks about the size of the projected deficit, how vital infrastructure investments will be made and which industries would be targeted for support in light of the professed movement toward a lower-carbon economy.

The headline budget item is $120 billion for infrastructure over the next decade.  As expected, many line items and themes relate to our discussions around responsible economic development here in British Columbia. Consensus thus far seems to suggest that BC was well considered in the drafting of this budget.  While the headlines pronounced that this budget is all about families and cities, many details remain opaque.

For policy wonks who love getting deep in to the details, you can find the complete summarized budget here.

Here are a few of the key points specific to the BC economy:

 Infrastructure

 Transit Funding

  • $3.4 billion over five years allocated across major Canadian cities
  • Federal government willing to extend up to 50% capital cost support to some projects

The commitment to public transit will be welcome news across all levels of government across the country. Better still, the federal government in some instances is willing to extend its support beyond the traditional “1/3 each” inter-government funding model, and provide up to 50% of capital costs for major projects.

What does this mean for BC?  

For municipal governments that have relatively little ability to meet the terms of a ‘third each’ funding model, this is a major boon. In the short term, BC’s 13.6% of national ridership means that BC major municipalities can expect nearly $460 million from the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund. It could allow Translink to target the Broadway Skytrain line as well as the light rail transit network in Surrey, with an initial investment of $370 million to start the planning process.

Serious questions remain, though, about the provincial government-mandated plebiscite requirement for any transit funding through new municipal taxes – a requirement which many observers feel dooms Translink and the municipalities’ abilities to move forward on major capital projects.  So far, the BC provincial government is saying all the right things about continuing to be “all-in” for their own 1/3 capital commitment.  The impact of the failed 2015 transit plebiscite looms large over transit planning, however, and Premier Clark has not yet ruled out another one should mayors choose to attempt to raise their share of project costs through a new tax structure. The Premier needs to act to ensure mayors and Translink have the tools they require to effectively move forward and take advantage of this flood of transit infrastructure money.

Shovel-Ready Infrastructure

  • $1.8 billion in immediate funding over next 2 years for ‘shovel-ready’ green infrastructure

While most announced infrastructure funding will accrue 3-10 years out, the ‘shovel-ready’ commitment is part of a broader $4 billion line item for ‘miscellaneous’ infrastructure. This will provide immediate benefit here in BC, and is on top of Ottawa confirming their willingness to expedite deployment of ~$9 billion remaining from previous infrastructure fund.

A welcome example of the immediate benefit to BC is the announcement of $106 million to rebuild the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Massey Bridge

  • Proposed $3.5-billion replacement bridge for the George Massey tunnel was nowhere to be found in the federal budget

CRED supports fact-based discussions around investments that reflect the new economy, and how certain generational infrastructure projects (such as pipelines and massive toll bridges) may not necessarily reflect a growth model for the region that is desired, nor supported by dubious economic modeling.

Lower mainland municipalities and the provincial government are grappling with early-stage lessons learned – at a cost of $100 million+ loss per year – of the recent Port Mann bridge reconstruction.  What could this mean for the proposed demolition of the Massey Tunnel, which will open up the south Fraser river for the movement of goods, and open up land south of the Fraser for residential, commercial and industrial development?  A recent public meeting in Richmond demonstrated just how fervently many local residents and political leaders feel in opposition to the proposed bridge.

Clearly there is a space for more public dialogue into infrastructure. The lack of financial support in this budget does not necessarily mean that the federal government opposes the bridge, but it does allow residents and municipal governments to contemplate what the potential implications for bridge development could be before making another massive investment.

Federal Government Support to Fossil Fuels Industry

LNG Subsidies

In spite of international commitments made before the G20, and bold targets made before the Paris COP21 conference on climate change, the federal government has decided to maintain fossil fuel subsidies for the nascent Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry in Canada.

In an era of advanced discussions on how to de-carbonize the Canadian economy, this will come as welcome news to oilsands and pipeline proponents as well as LNG project developers. It will vex those Canadians who feel it is time to make bold policy to appropriately price and/or put a cap on carbon, while focusing on infrastructure and industry supports which will drive the new economy, as opposed to what are widely seen as ‘sunset’ industries.

This decision projects subsidies to LNG until the end of 2024, as a continuation of the capital cost allowance, and was very welcome news to the BC government that has staked its jobs plan over the past few years on natural gas export. With historical low prices and flat global demand for LNG, most industry watchers suggest that BC may have missed its window to enter into forward contracts for our methane, which would in turn spur final investment decisions by the three remaining major LNG project proponents (Shell, Petronas and Woodfibre).

The decision to subsidize the industry is seen as a life ring thrown to industry and the BC government by the feds, so as not to send project proponents mixed messages at a critical time in their decision making processes.

Investments in Oilsands Innovation

CRED and others consistently raise the question: what is the role of bitumen and natural gas in a low-carbon economy?

The oilsands industry needs to explain clearly to Canadians how their high-carbon footprint, high-cost of production product fits in to a model of sustainability and lower carbon.  This is particularly important during this era of low oil and gas prices and weak, stagnant, over-supplied markets. Given the substantial opportunity cost of massive pipeline investments which are meant to last generations, CRED suggests that short-term market access thinking should never trump long-term opportunities.

Perhaps as a nod towards how the new federal government intends to support the oil & gas industry to define this very role, the budget proposes $50 million in investment over the next two years, starting immediately, to support technologies that will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the oil and gas sector.  This initiative will run through Natural Resources Canada.

As we publish this blog, CRED is hearing that oilsands operations, refineries and upgraders are to be amongst the businesses exempt from the recently-announced Alberta carbon tax. There is no better time to have discussions around how we intend-to de-carbonize our economy.

Oil Price Estimates

CRED finds it curious that the government just established an extremely conservative oil price estimate for the coming year.  At a US$40 per barrel estimate, the government is effectively confirming that weakness in oil prices will endure at a level which few industry watchers or economists feel the Canadian oilsands industry could survive at, long term. While some argue that the government did this to allow ‘wiggle room’ for future deficit reduction and down-the-line ‘good news’ budget results, questions remain about the role of bitumen in a future economy where our own government estimates the product’s market value at less than our industry is able to produce it and get it to market.

What does this say about the business case for building more bitumen pipelines to tidewater?

Clean Technology

  • $2 billion Low Carbon Economy Fund
  • $100 million per year clean technology fund through regional development hubs
  • Recapitalization of Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Perhaps the clear winner in this budget was clean technology, and hopefully as a result, our environment as we move towards a lower-carbon economy.

Coming out of commitments made by Canada in Paris at the COP21, and the recent first ministers meeting in Vancouver, the federal government is working up a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.  The budget outlines strategic early stage funding for projects to position Canada as a leader in the clean technology space, while enhancing environmental performance. This is welcome news to CRED, as it was a key part of our recommendations in our research on the Future of BC’s Tech Sector.

As part of the framework, Minister Morneau rolled out a $2-billion Low Carbon Economy Fund, which was teased earlier this month with Canada’s premiers at their meeting to discuss Canada’s climate change strategy. The Fund will subsidize those provinces and territories that participate in a national climate agreement, underwriting activities that will tangibly reduce GHG emissions. Finance Canada clarified that “resources will be allocated to those projects that yield the greatest absolute greenhouse gas reductions for the lowest cost.”

While no national carbon pricing strategy is yet in place, perhaps due to resistance from the premier of Saskatchewan, it is expected that these incentives might help draw the provinces together to support an as yet-undefined national strategy.

As one of the regional development agencies, Western Economic Diversification will get part of a $100 million per year clean technology fund.  This will go to support economic and community development by leveraging local networks and capabilities, and will represent a doubling of the previous clean energy disbursement within the WED portfolio.

The budget includes a re-capitalization of Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), which serves as a venture capital provider for green and alternate technologies, addressing gaps in current project financing structures. Natural Resources Canada (NRC) will also see significant resources targeted at boosting research and commercialization of clean technology, as well as the advancement of electric, natural gas and hydrogen-powered vehicle technology deployment.

Kitsilano Coast Guard Station

  • $24 million has been committed to re-open the coast guard station.

This is of particular interest to CRED, given our deep concerns around maritime safety and oil spill response. The budget allocation includes expanded environmental response capability.  In 2015, CRED produced research on the economic impacts of the Burrard Inlet oil spill, and how the loss of the Kitsilano coast guard station may have impacted response times.

While the re-opening of the station is fantastic for recreational boaters, commercial traffic and visitors to our beaches alike, CRED wonders whether this announcement were a prelude to the federal government approving the Kinder Morgan bitumen pipeline expansion later this year.

Corporate Taxation

Finally, no major changes were announced to corporate tax rates in Budget 2016.

This will be a disappointment to BC small businesses, many of who were expecting a continuation of the previous government’s promise to drop rates from 11% to 9% on the first $500,000 of qualifying income.  Instead, the rate will drop to 10.5% with future cuts deferred.

Many details remain to be finalized around the 2016 budget. Stay tuned as CRED will continue to explore the budget and how it will impact British Columbia’s business community and those who hope to continue moving us toward a dynamic low-carbon economy.

 

BC Announces Tech Strategy

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The BC Tech Summit wrapped up recently in Vancouver, and the biggest news to come out of the two-day event was Premiere Clark’s unveiling of BC’s tech strategy. It is no secret that the tech industry in BC is flourishing. The sector is one of the highest GDP generators of all industries in BC, contributing $15.5 billion to our provincial economy in 2014. Tech employs 84,000 people in our province, providing high-paying jobs, and accounting for double the total jobs in forestry, oil, gas and mining.

It seems that the BC government has now recognized the potential of this industry and has announced significant support to help it grow. It’s not clear if this interest in tech is a way to divert attention from the long-promised and as-yet unrealized LNG boom.  CRED_tech2rev2Nonetheless, the tech sector needs supportive policies in order to catch up with other provinces and countries, like our neighbours to the south.  CRED’s tech report recognized that BC falls behind other jurisdictions in terms of output , but the potential is great. If BC’s tech sector were to catch up to the average US state, we would see 65,000-74,000 more jobs and an additional $9.1 billion in GDP.

In her announcement, Clark said that the BC government heard our concerns and has recognized three main issues: developing the talent pool, access to capital, and access to new markets. This makes us smile, as our report recognized a need for strategic government support, increased access to venture capital, investment in talent development and reduced barriers to recruitment. Right on! The only missing piece we identified is the support for regional tech hubs, but hopefully that can come soon too.

Amongst the new initiatives introduced are:

 1. $100 million BC Tech Fund to address an early stage (A-Round) funding gap.

The fund is targeted at new and emerging tech companies that need resources to get off the ground. The province is seeking a private sector fund manager to administer it.

2. Introduction of IT skills & concepts, and adding coding to the K-12 public school curriculum beginning this September.

Further details on implementation or teacher education have not been announced, and no new funding has been allocated.

3. Streamlining public sector access to software innovation through developer exchange 

The detailed breakdown of BC’s tech strategy can be found online http://bctechstrategy.gov.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2016/01/BCTech_Strategy.pdf

It’s fitting that this announcement comes just days after BC announced its opposition to the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline project. While more details are still to be revealed, we feel it is a good start and a much-needed bolster to the tech industry. It’s also a good indication of where BC’s economy should be headed – away from higher-risk, shrinking asset industries and towards the future in knowledge-based, value-added economic activity.

Canada’s Best Year for Clean Energy

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Clean Energy Canada has recently released their comprehensive paper evaluating how the clean energy sectors are performing in Canada, and they’re calling it a revolution, ‘Tracking the Energy Revolution – Global 2015’ to be precise. There’s no question that change is in full swing worldwide: investments, innovation and growth are all pointing towards the clean energy sector and away from fossil fuel sources.

Canada’s clean energy sector is on the rise in a big way, as investment in new clean-power generation rose 88% from 2013 (totalling appx. $10.7 billion). The report shows that the greatest investments were in wind, totalling $16.89 billion in 2014. Solar follows with investments of $6.14 billion. But don’t be mistaken, our country has a long way to go in terms of policy and support for this growing sector. While policies around clean energy have been strengthened and adapted at provincial and municipal levels, federally, there has been minimal action and support.

According to the report ranking by province, British Columbia lands at number 3 for clean energy leadership because of its commitment to clean energy and investment. BC scores lower on the policy front because of “an exemption in its clean electricity requirement that allows liquefied natural gas plants to produce electricity from fossil fuels”. The one noted policy out of BC was the legislation “intended to limit the amount of carbon pollution that the gas industry’s proposed LNG terminals may release”.provinceCleanPowerInvestment

Overall, the missing piece to keeping Canada’s growth in clean energy strong and globally competitive is federal support. Incentives and framework will pave the way for increased clean energy initiatives, and are a huge component of getting innovation to market.

You can download Clean Energy Canada’s full report from their website

Kinder Morgan benefits overblown: independent study

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Earlier this week, an independent study released by the SFU Centre for Public Policy Research, in collaboration with California-based consultancy the Goodman Group, found that Kinder Morgan has substantively over-stated the benefits of its proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion in its submission to the National Energy Board.

The report echoes past research from CRED which has found that BC’s provincial and municipal coffers will only get a tiny benefit from the Trans Mountain expansion. Instead, oil sands producers, Alberta and, of course, Kinder Morgan will be the main beneficiaries.

Municipal benefits from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansionCRED_km tax revenue Municipalities rev1-01

According to our research, Kinder Morgan’s stated tax benefits (which, as this report highlights, maybe also be overblown) would only fund a small fraction of provincial and municipal services – 0.3% of the costs of running the province’s schools, for example, or just 1% of the Coquitlam police department. Even the biggest municipal beneficiary, the City of Burnaby, could fund less than 9% of its Parks, Recreation and Cultural budget with tax revenues from the Trans Mountain Expansion. And this is a best case scenario, assuming no increased costs for servicing the pipeline right-of-way or any incidents to respond to.

BC provincial benefits from the Trans Mountain expansionCRED_km tax revenue BC rev1-01

The SFU report also found that Kinder Morgan has significantly over-estimated the number of jobs the pipeline would create, and downplayed the cost of a major oil spill because the company failed to take into account the high population density of the Lower Mainland, underestimating the costs of a catastrophic oil spill by potentially billions of dollars.

Download the full report here, and read CRED’s reaction here.

 

BC clean tech profile

Clean tech

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Sometimes it *is* just about wind turbines and home retrofits.

In 2007, Glenn Johnson, a Surrey resident, founded Endurance Wind Power. Less than 10 years later, his wind turbine manufacturing and energy generation business employs 155 educated professionals – and the majority live in Surrey, where the company is based.

This company is just one component of the clean tech hub that the City of Surrey is hoping to establish in the next five years as a way to diversity the local economy and create local job opportunities for the half-million people living in Canada’s fastest-growing municipality. Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus has partnered with the City and is investing heavily in clean tech research, bolstering this opportunity.

A burgeoning industry

Endurance Wind Power, along with other emerging Surrey clean tech businesses, is part of a larger trend. High tech jobs, and specifically those in clean technology, have been in the news a lot lately – and for good reason. They’re fast becoming one of BC’s core economic pillars.

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How big is BC’s energy sector?

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CREDBC_bceconomy_infographic(click on image to expand)

How important is the energy sector to BC?

And is it more or less important than other sectors?  We’ve compiled this report to find out where the jobs, GDP and growth are coming from in order to determine BC’s main economic drivers.

DOWNLOAD “What’s fuelling BC’s economy?”

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The changing face of jobs in Northern BC

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How important are resource jobs to BC’s north?

After posting a report highlighting that only 1 in 100 BC jobs are in the mining, oil and gas sectors & that more people in our province work in the tech sector than in oil, gas, mining, forestry and utilities combined, we started having conversations about the tensions between different parts of our province – is information like this more relevant to Vancouver and the surrounding south coast than to the interior and north?

Outside of the urban and populous south coast, it’s often assumed that vastly different market forces are at play. We decided to examine the data and see if these assumptions matched up with reality.

In particular, we were interested to learn what regional job markets in the north of the province look like, which industries are growing & which are shrinking, and where future demand is expected to come from. What would the same jobs breakdown look like in Kitimat or Prince George – both places where primary resource industries have traditionally played a significant economic role?  Is there a much higher reliance on extractive industries (oil, mining and gas) than in the south? The following summarizes our initial research:

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