Increased carbon reduction target bodes well for carbon credit pricing in BC

Accelerating action on climate change is increasing the market value of carbon credits. Fortunately, coal is not burned in BC’s hydro dominated electrical grid.

Since 2008, British Columbia has had carbon credit trading legislation that enables transportation fuel providers to purchase carbon credit generators to make up shortfalls of legislated carbon intensity reductions. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard was originally set to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 20% between 2010 and 2030. On December 20, 2022, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation announced a change in the Regulations that accelerates annual carbon intensity reduction targets effective January 1, 2023.

The 20% carbon intensity reduction target has now been set to 30%

As each annual reduction of intensity takes effect on January 1st, fossil fuel providers must ensure they have achieved enough reduction in carbon intensity, or purchase additional credits to meet the regulation. As a result the value of these credits has risen steadily as transportation fuel producers continue to sell gasoline or diesel. Now, the annual reduction of carbon intensity will become a steeper, linear drop over the next 7 years bolstering demand for credits.

What will be the effect on pricing? There are a number of factors. As stated above, it is getting harder to reduce carbon intensities from the existing fuel production processes. That’s driving up prices. Expansion of the LCFS to other transportation fuels, such as aviation and rail would also drive up the demand for credits. This is currently under consideration by the government.

On the other hand, MURB EV charging will grow the supply of credits to this market over time. Currently the amount generated is insignificant to the existing transfer activity. But demand for credits from the oil & gas industry may also drop by current changes they are making to reduce carbon intensities.

Renewable diesel is the buzz word right now in the industry. Agricultural crops will be used to produce a diesel fuel that is identical to petroleum diesel in use and performance. New plant capacity being built in Alberta is underway specifically to serve the British Columbia market and avoid having to purchase credits. Whether the supply will come on fast enough, or, in fact will be cheaper for the industry is yet to be seen.

In the short term, it seems the trend will be for increased demand for credits and increased credit transfer prices. That may not last – if it does, the silver lining is that we are in fact achieving our GHG reduction targets, and the world will be a better place.

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard is working, as designed, to reduce carbon emissions in transportation fuels in BC.

BC LCFS carbon credits have risen in value and volumes in the past two years. Now with a 30% reduction in carbon intensity, demand for credits, and prices should remain buoyant. Data from BC Government/EMLI

Electric Advantage offers carbon credit administration services bundled with annual reviews of EV charging operations to ensure your organization has optimal policies to obtain maximum value from your investment in EV charging infrastructure.


British Columbia Incentives Line Up!

BC leads the country in progressive EV policy. Why do I know? I was an advocate behind them.

Charging your electric car from home is the reason to buy one. Never again do you have to alter your destination course simply to refuel your vehicle. The ‘refueling’ paradigm completely changes. As automobiles are typically parked 95% of the time it makes sense to charge while parked — and you are doing other productive things!

Installing EV charging in single family homes are relatively easy. For MURBs (Multi Unit Residential Buildings) infrastructure is harder to retrofit, overcoming electrical wiring decisions made long ago, and by finding agreement with your neighbours. Most buildings built before 2020 were never designed to support charging infrastructure, and those are in the majority.

Across Canada, 30% of people live in MURBs. 40% in BC, and in the City of Vancouver closer to 60%. That’s a significant part of the EV purchasing public.

The BC Provincial government followed recommendations from organizations like the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, and others, who realized best practices for upgrading infrastructure is to build it all at once to a coherent plan. EV Ready and EV Infrastructure grants are based on ensuring that all suites of a MURB have at least one outlet from which to attach an EV charge station. This creates equity for all, and it is the most cost efficient method to retrofit in the long run.

The Federal government, through Natural Resources Canada has grants from time to time on infrastructure, and the summer of 2022 was one such time. Combining BC and Federal grants can cover up to 75% of project costs.

The third layer of incentives for MURB EV Charging, is carbon credits. A change in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulations in 2021 enabled MURBs to generate carbon credits for all electricity charging EVs. Effective January 1st, 2022 this regulation took effect, and with the current transfer pricing of carbon credits, this is a substantial cash flow for those who invest in EV charging for their buildings. Also starting in 2022 was the federal Clean Fuel Regulations, adding yet another layer of carbon credit value on to EV charging.

If you have MURB buildings at this time EV charging projects will provide the best return on investment over anything else. Electric Advantage can provide advisory services to help you achieve optimal, successful outcomes.

Contact us now to prepare your building for an EV future.