Greenhouse Gases

Image of girl with lifejacket in canoe

A legacy of environmental stewardship

Our legacy of environmental stewardship continues

BC Hydro consistently has some of the lowest greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the North American electricity industry.

We've also developed a legacy of environmental stewardship by embedding environmental considerations and analysis into our decision-making and tracking our GHG emissions performance each year. 

B.C. turns to electricity for a low-carbon future

How we monitor and control greenhouse gas emissions

BC Hydro continues to monitor and control its GHG emissions and manage risks to our operations by:

  • Continuing to meet the 93% clean energy objective in the Clean Energy Act by managing energy purchased from independent power producers and advancing clean energy capacity resources.
  • Going forward, acquire 100% of supply for the integrated grid from clean or renewable sources, as outlined in the B.C. Climate Leadership Plan. Exceptions to this rule can be made for cost or reliability reasons and must be approved by government through an Integrated Resource Plan.
  • Continuing to meet regulatory requirements related to GHG emissions reporting and verification.
  • Contributing to B.C.’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality in the public sector by reducing GHG emissions from our buildings, vehicles and paper use and by purchasing offsets for our residual emissions.
  • Continuing to facilitate the electrification of transportation in B.C.

Learn more:

How we report on electricity production emissions

BC Hydro tracks the GHG emissions associated with electricity generated at our owned generating stations and by independent power producers in B.C., as well as SF6 emissions from our transmission and distribution system.  

We report our facility GHG emissions to the Government of Canada and the B.C. government. For information on our facility GHG emissions, please see:

The production GHG intensity — a measurement of how many tonnes of emissions are emitted for every gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity generated by BC Hydro and independent power projects in B.C. — has ranged from about 10 to 30 tonnes per GWh in recent years. That's significantly lower than the average electricity generation intensity of 160 to 200 tonnes per GWh for Canadian provinces and territories, many of which do not have a resource mix so favourable towards hydroelectricity.

We're carbon neutral in our corporate operations

BC Hydro became carbon neutral in our corporate operations in 2010, along with the entire B.C. public sector.

This means that we track the GHG emissions from our vehicle fleet, buildings (energy used for heating, cooling, lighting, and IT equipment) and paper use, in accordance with the Province’s guidelines for public sector organizations.

We also implement measures to reduce those emissions and report on our emmisions and reduction measures in our annual Carbon Neutral Action Report.

2016 Carbon Neutral Action Report

Past Carbon Neutral Action Report

Finally, we offset any remaining emissions from these sources through investments in offsets from the B.C. government.

We're assessing climate change impacts

The expected impacts of climate change include an increase in mean global annual temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, and a greater frequency of extreme events, such as floods, droughts, and severe storms.

All of these have implications for BC Hydro's business operations. Changes in temperature can influence customer demand while precipitation patterns could alter the timing and volume of spring run-off, with implications for hydroelectricity generation and the dispatch of resources.

Through a partnership with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, BC Hydro is working to understand the potential impacts of climate change to our operations and activities so that we can take steps to manage associated risks. Recent analysis we have done with PCIC has resulted in the Potential Impacts of Climate Change on BC Hydro-Managed Water Resources (2013) [PDF, 4.0 MB].

This work continues as we seek to evaluate how the projected hydrological changes may impact hydroelectric power generation in the province.