At FortisBC, we've been proudly serving natural gas to the community of Delta since 1957. Our Tilbury LNG facility has been operating safely since 1971 - helping keep gas rates lower and providing our customers with reliable energy service by delivering stored gas to our system when market prices are traditionally high, like cold winter days.
As a regulated utility, we're committed to providing the energy our customers need at a reasonable cost. One of the ways we can do that is by looking for new markets for natural gas. Better utilizing our system year-round helps us to keep gas rates lower for all of our customers.
Today, trucking and marine fleets as well as remote communities are looking to natural gas as a safe, reliable, lower cost fuel alternative. LNG from Tilbury is enabling these customers to transition away from oil-based energy products such as diesel and other higher emitting fuels.
As many people in Delta are aware, our Tilbury LNG facility is undergoing an expansion to help us serve new domestic customers. The expanded operations will come online in 2016 and will be powered by the existing electrical system.
We're also considering a potential additional expansion to the one currently underway. Hawaiian Electric is interested in LNG supplied from Tilbury to help the islands transition off its dependency on imported oil-based power generation.
Leaders there have committed to aggressive renewable energy goals, including a shift to 100 per cent renewables by 2045. They believe natural gas is superior to oil for fuel as a bridge to that goal.
Last August, we signed a conditional supply agreement that is still subject to approvals in B.C. and Hawaii.
At this point we're still working through all of the details of what would be needed for the potential expansion to serve Hawaii, and are conducting early design work. One of the key components of our early planning process is sitting down with our neighbours in Delta and other stakeholders to share information and gather feedback.
For instance, recently we started very early discussions with elected representatives, city officials, local landowners and community groups about upgrades to the electric transmission lines needed to serve the facility if it's expanded further. This proposed electrical line would allow us to continue to power Tilbury with clean electricity.
By encouraging early input from the community and listening to concerns, we're best able to work together to find the right solutions.
A separate company, WesPac, has also received an export license from the National Energy Board to export LNG from a proposed jetty on the Fraser River adjacent to our Tilbury LNG facility.
If approved, WesPac's jetty would enable new customers such as Hawaiian Electric to receive LNG from our facility via barges and small LNG carriers.
Their proposed project will be subject to robust environmental and regulatory reviews, as well as local permitting processes - all of which include opportunities for public input.
Please visit fortisbc.com/tilburylng for updates and information or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Doug Stout is vice president, market development and external relations, for FortisBC.