The Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiative (CFN) say one of the redeeming features of liquefied natural gas exports is that in China it will be used largely to replace coal, “the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet.”
So CFN’s attitude on LNG is, “it’s a responsible thing to do so long as it’s done responsibly.”
However, while supportive of the KM LNG project in Kitimat, executive director Art Sterritt says there is one concern given the number of plants proposed to date – where is the power going to come from to run them?
“KM LNG is basically going to gobble up all the excess power in the province,” he explained, adding the demand for power in BC over and above what will be needed for LNG will also continue to grow in the future.
Sterritt said the reaction of Shell – one of the LNG proponents – had been power was no problem, it would simply generate its own with a gas-fired power plant.
However, CFN’s response to that was, “you’re not going to come into the region and start pumping out greenhouse gases all over the place.”
Noting the region had gone through that in the past with pulp mills, he said neither first nations nor the environmental community think that is acceptable.
But CFN does have a solution, a renewable energy plan that would produce about 1,000 megawatts, enough to power a couple of LNG plants.
Sterritt said the plan, which will be made public in the near future, had been put together after discussions with the province, BC Hydro and independent power producers in the region.
“The renewable energy plan we have is real, it’s not some fiction,” he said, adding, “Parts of the plan are shovel-ready, Naikoon (wind farm) for example.”
He also noted the energy plan involved all the coastal first nations from Rivers Inlet to Haida Gwaii to Kitamaat.
“We see what we are doing as trying to stimulate the whole economy in the Northwest – and does it ever need it.”
Sterritt also warned the window of opportunity for LNG here is not a big one. “They have to decide to do that now…because there are other sources of LNG coming on around the world.”
Therefore there was also a need to solve any power supply problem quickly.