A continent won’t keep British Columbia from partnering with Newfoundland and Labrador when it comes to developing a hydrogen economy.
That was the message Premier David Eby and his counterpart Andrew Furey of Newfoundland and Labrador were trying to send when they signed a statement of co-operation Tuesday afternoon local time in St. John’s.
“We are coastal provinces, we have significant energy resources and potential, we have a shared interest in the growing hydrogen sector in particular and low-carbon energy future, generally,” Eby said, adding that B.C. is home to about 50 per cent of Canada’s hydrogen businesses, a legacy of Burnaby-based Ballard Power System.
Furey’s province, meanwhile, has been positioning itself as an exporter of green hydrogen — hydrogen produced by renewable electricity — with global ramifications. In the late summer of 2022, Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed an agreement to establish “transatlantic Canada-Germany supply corridor” in Stephenville, where World Energy GH2 plans to build a massive windpark.
Several other companies are also pursuing various green-hydrogen projects based around windparks with Furey as a vocal cheerleader. But this agenda has not been without controversy with locals in concerned about the environmental impacts of those parks.
Eby said the statement shows the provinces’ commitment toward working together on clean energy generally and green hydrogen specifically.
“It’s helpful when provinces work together, to find efficiencies, to share and collaborate on best practices as we develop this new sector and the clean energy sector generally,” Eby said. “(With) the leadership of Newfoundland on this important file and some of the technologies that B.C. can bring to bear and our aspirations around hydrogen, we are a great pair to do that work with the federal government.”
Furey said the agreement is a great opportunity for provinces on opposite coasts to lead Canada in transitioning toward a green economy.
“There are indeed significant similarities and synergies that exist between both (provinces),” Furey said. “We have had distinct markets. Obviously, we will be focused on Europe and the northeastern seaboard of the United States. Asia would be the obvious export market for B.C. So this is in no way a competition. This is indeed sharing our experiences, sharing our governance structures, sharing our processes…”
Eby echoed those comments, noting that B.C.’s partnership with Newfoundland gives Canada the chance to target markets across the Atlantic and the Pacific.
“There’s lot for us to learn from Newfoundland about the specific use of Crown land, how you put those proposals forward,” Eby said, adding B.C.’s role in developing hydrogen-using fuel cells.
While B.C. has focused on building its relationship with Newfoundland because of its use of wind energy, Eby encouraged others to develop their green hydrogen economies.
“We think that there is a very significant international market for hydrogen developing and that it will take all comers, who are able to generate that green hydrogen, that we need.”