The City of Vancouver’s plan for green buildings, which includes phasing out the use of non-renewable natural gas, has one major Metro Vancouver industry fearing it will be decimated.
Metro Vancouver is a major hub for space heating with 20 per cent of North America’s natural gas fireplaces built in the region.
“The talent is here and the ability to keep improving those products is here, it’s all homegrown,” Mike Powell of Miles Industries in North Vancouver said.
The City of Vancouver wants to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions – including fossil-fuel-based natural gas products – from all new homes and buildings by 2030. The city hopes no one will be using natural gas by 2050 as old buildings must be retrofitted to use renewable energy.
“The source of that natural gas may change from fossil fuels to renewable natural gas, which is already part of our energy mix,” Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer said.
Fortis has already warned council that renewable natural gas is barely worth a mention.
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“They can only supply renewable natural gas to less than a quarter of a per cent of their customers right now and that’s B.C.-wide,” Vancouver councillor Melissa De Genova said.
That leaves Powell wondering what will fuel his industry.
“There’s a huge investment on the part of the manufacturers here, with people whose livelihoods depend on this,” he said. “It’s going to have a ripple effect.”
Without a guaranteed source of natural gas, workers say Vancouver is turning its back on local labour.
“Not being able to put the products that are being made here, and shipped around the city, into the homes, that’s just a little crazy to me,” Miles Industries employee Johnny-Ray Houston said.
– With files from John Hua and Jill Slattery