Our view: What if LNG is a bust?

The Liberal government’s plan to develop a liquified natural gas industry was not a bad one.

When they first set out to sell LNG to overseas markets, China was booming and demanding more and more energy, and there was hope that other Asian countries would also need the relatively clean power of LNG in the near future. Now prospects are bleaker.

China is indeed reducing its reliance on dirty coal-burning power plants.

But it is taking advantage of wind and solar power, planning to add more than 20 gigawatts of the former and 15 of the latter this year, not to mention new hydroelectric projects.

A decade ago investing that much in solar and wind would have seemed foolish, but the cost of solar power is dropping rapidly, as better designs and ramped up manufacturing have slashed prices.

Solar is getting more efficient all the same time, meaning that for many countries, in just a few years, switching to large scale solar will be cheaper than LNG, by some estimates, sometime in the next five to 10 years.

The question isn’t whether we get some LNG terminals up and running, or even whether LNG can still find a niche in the world’s energy supply.

It’s what comes next.

What is Plan B?

The Liberals are still touting LNG, and show little to no sign of finding a new plan for B.C.’s long term economic growth.

Where do we go from here?

Should B.C. be a technology hub, a high-tech manufacturing powerhouse?

A tourism and lifestyle retreat? An old-school resource extraction province? It would be nice to know soon. – M.C.

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