Message from the Minister and
As this government begins our new mandate, I am committed to seeing this Ministry contribute to a golden decade of prosperity for the people of British Columbia and the realization of all five of our Great Goals. British Columbia is rich with natural resources. The environmentally and socially responsible development of the energy, mining and petroleum resource sectors will provide the building blocks for our communities and the economy — including the aggregate we use to build our roads, the minerals we use in our daily lives, and the natural gas we use to heat our homes. These vibrant sectors now contribute over $3 billion annually to government revenue, providing funding for our goals related to education, healthy living and health care, as well as support for those most in need.
One of our government’s goals is to lead the world in sustainable environmental management. As a province we are well on our way to achieving this goal through the efforts of our Energy Efficiency in Buildings Strategy and our public ownership of BC Hydro. Currently, almost 90 per cent of our electricity comes from clean hydro projects. As our power needs grow over the coming years, we will focus on a broad range of energy supply sources including independent power production (IPP) and alternative energy production. Our IPP projects will employ both conventional and alternative BC Clean electricity technologies such as run-of-river hydro, solar, biomass, tidal and wind. To date, over 58 IPP’s have electricity purchase agreements. In 2005, we provided $2 million to support the innovative Hydrogen Highway project and the hydrogen fuel cell industry. In fact, the Ford Motor Company chose British Columbia to test and demonstrate five fuel cell vehicles — the first demonstration in Canada, and Ford’s first demonstration in North America. The first fuel cell car was actually used for Ministry business.
Sustainable growth of the mining and oil and gas industries continues to be a priority as we examine how best to work with communities, local governments and First Nations. Investment in mineral exploration, which is critical to future mine development, is on the rise and reached $220 million in 2005. With initiatives like the summer drilling program and the road rehabilitation strategy, the oil and gas industry now operates year-round providing opportunities for an expanded British Columbia service sector. This increased oil and gas activity resulted in forecast revenues for the 2005/06 fiscal year of approximately $2.8 billion, funds that support education, health and other key services. We are committed to a science-based, environmentally responsible offshore oil and gas industry and will continue to work with coastal communities and First Nations to ensure their interests are met over the long-term. Together, these industries provide family-supporting employment and business opportunities in communities across the province, while producing products that are essential to our way of life.
By delivering on the goals and objectives in this service plan, this Ministry will help British Columbia achieve a golden decade. We will build on our successes of the last four years — and strive for thriving, safe, environmentally responsible and competitive energy, mining and petroleum resource sectors which contribute to the economic growth and development of communities in British Columbia.
The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources 2006/07–2008/09 Service Plan was prepared under my direction in accordance with the Budget Transparency and Accountability Act. I am accountable for the basis on which the plan has been prepared. All material fiscal assumptions and policy decisions as of February 8, 2006, have been considered in preparing the plan and I am accountable for achieving the specific objectives in the plan.
Honourable Richard Neufeld
Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
February 8, 2006