Vancouver council sees oil-free city before 2050

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      Vancouver councillors have unanimously approved an ambitious plan that envisions a city free of oil and other carbon fuel before 2050.

      The Renewable City Strategy sets a bold goal of having a city using renewable sources like hydro power for 100 percent of its energy usage within the next 35 years.

      Adopted in a meeting Wednesday (November 4), the plan also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent before 2007 levels before 2050.

      It's a future where vehicles don't run on gasoline or diesel, and buildings are heated not by fossil fuels.

      Mayor Gregor Robertson said at the meeting that the strategy is vital in making the city a “green capital” that attracts jobs, investments, and many of the world’s brightest minds.

      “The pace of change is rapid, and Vancouver has positioned itself well to capitalize on the economic opportunity,” Robertson said.

      City staff will report back to council in 2016 about steps to achieve its objectives.

      “We have a great opportunity to make our city more livable, to keep it on the forefront as a city that’s innovative and creative, and pushing the pace to take care of our planet,” Robertson said.

      A staff report on the strategy assured that Vancouver can source all its energy needs from renewables.

      “Vancouver is already a world leader in the development of complete, compact, and livable communities that have greenhouse gas emissions per person amongst the lowest in the developed world,” the report stated. “Serviced by an already clean and reliable electrical system, that also powers much of the city’s transit system, Vancouver is primed to capitalize on the electrification of both its buildings and transportation system.”

      The report also noted that in 2014, 13 percent of the city’s energy was derived mostly from clean electricity. Natural gas consisted 45 percent of the city’s energy use, mostly for heating. Gasoline use for vehicles accounted for 24 percent.