BC Hydro

More from Tyson Creek

I wish to emphasize the first hand report in comments of a person who knows Narrows Inlet well and understands the effect on an area that should remain unspoiled. Wilderness Committee people have worked on this file and reviewed thousands of pages from documents that could not be accessed except for FOI.

From my examination, this project near Sechelt appears to have had little diligent examination by provincial environmental officers. The Liberal Government made this sort of development a priority, not for the benefit of citizens, but for the benefit of a few connected corporations.

They were willing to ruin not just BC Hydro but rivers and lakes throughout the province. It is a scandal that will be visited mostly on our descendants. This is only one of the shameful legacies of Gordon Campbell and his cronies. Premier Photo-Op cares nothing about British Columbia’s remote wonderlands. Providing intelligent stewardship over natural resources is hard work and she can’t do that. She’s got places to go and people to see. And cameras to stand before.

If you are moved by the Narrows Inlet story, remember similar projects are happening elsewhere with more planned. Thirty alpine lakes are at risk. Please email your MLA and ask for immediate action.

As a commenter said earlier, it is not “Run of the River“, it’s “Ruin of the River.”

33 replies »

  1. If you Google Tyson Creek IPP you can see that it got worse. Apparently the project developers drilled into the bottom of Tyson Lake and were surprised that a shitload of glacial material was flushed down the penstock and into the Tzoonie River much to the chagrin of the fish. All this to deliver a lousy 9.5MW of intermittent capacity to BC Hydro. And I am glad you liked the “Ruin of River” comment


  2. Makes you wonder who was thinking what at the Sunshine Coast Regional District offices…they are advertising for Renewable Power on their ice rink zamboni….the word “Green” appears prominently.


  3. The ruin of the rivers, are an eco disaster. Drilling into lakes, destroying salmon runs and the flora and fauna.

    There is no end to the, Campbell/Clark BC Liberals atrocities, committed on our province.

    Campbell works for Harper. BC is facing even more atrocities from, the gruesome twosome.

    The Enbridge pipeline, threatening spills into, rivers, streams, and lands. The dirty oil tankers from China spilling into the sea.

    Prosperity Mine expansion, fracking for gas, and the off shore drilling of oil and gas wells, off the coast of BC.

    There are rumors, they want to log the Rain Forest. The Chinese freighters would use the same route as the dirty oil tankers. They can pick up our raw logs, right out of the water.

    Harper and Campbell deserve to be tried for treason, and be imprisoned for the utter, eco destruction of BC. Also including financial ruin. Harper and Campbell worked very hard to, dismantle BC, right into Harper's greedy hands.


  4. BC has 290,000 rivers and only 40 river hydro projects. Can you calculate the percentage?

    Where do you think our energy is coming from? It is coming from green and clean and GHG less power projects like Tyson Creek that produce power at about half the cost of BC Hydro. This benefit goes directly to the citizens of this province by keeping their power rates low.

    Do you have any evidence that Tyson Creek has been detrimental to the environment?

    A run of river project uses up about 3 to 8 hectares of land. Just compare that to property development or forestry, and you have your answer.



    • And black is white and up is down.

      Readers here are well informed so casually tossing untruths will do no good.

      As the pictures demonstrate, Tyson is not “run of the river.”


  5. Norm what is untrue about the statements? What damage was caused to the environment by the Tyson project? How about you state some facts instead of making dire insinuations in the name of sensationalism? Why not come out and take a tour of the project before passing judgement? I will personally show you around.


    • My family was involved in coastal logging for decades and would have been bankrupted by fines for treating streams as pictured here.The photos speak for themselves.

      It you want to host a group from broad based environmental organizations, the Wilderness Committee and others, and sit down for video interviews, I’d be happy to connect you with the right people. Open your entire operation to an environmental audit by experts. That would be superior to boating in one aging blogger.

      Of course, the issue is much larger than one project and one alpine lake. Read my article about BC Hydro’s financial situation and how the utility’s commitment to long term energy purchase contracts soared almost $26 billion in the last fiscal year. A small army of fraudsters have directed BC Hydro toward financial disaster. That is not sensationalism; that is fact.

      Pass the bull (horn) please


  6. Sedimentation and salmon don't mix. The sediment release from Tyson happened when when Steelhead trout and Coastal cutthroat trout were actively spawning.

    Here is a quote from the FOI: “The release of sediment laden water into invertebrate producing or egg incubation/juvenile rearing waters is never just aesthetic. Depending on the life stage of the fish or invertebrate, impacts can be significant. For example, a light coating of very fine sediment (which this appears to be) on eggs can either slow down incubation, smother eggs and kill them or make them more susceptible to fungus growth. Later effects on newly hatched salmonids can be again a light coating of fines on gills that cause direct effects such as suffocation or reduced growth or fitness. For invertebrates, effects are similar to those for fish, and very fine sediments such as this are very difficult to deal with.”

    That is one of the reasons the project was shut down.

    There were also significant concerns with operational plans, dangers of erosion continuing if the project is ramped up to full capacity, issues with project design (quote from FOI “Water license granted without ESD knowledge, multiple decision makers apparently unaware of unresolved issues.”)

    And finally a quote from Renwable's own environmental monitor, “At some point I would like to talk to you about this style of project with you. I have a bunch of concerns about the proposed design and operation of lake storage and tunnelling that is not being taken seriously by the proponents. We have viewed Tyson as a large experiment in some ways. Right or wrong we have a poor understanding of the effects of negative storage that begs some tough questions. ”

    You can find this all on line at:

    It is a huge document but very interesting reading. http://www.openinfo.gov.bc.ca/ibc/search/browse_results.page?recorduid=2804959&title=FOI%20Request%20-%20MOE-2011-00042


  7. Well, as a resident of Narrows Inlet, I have proof of the damage Tyson the environmental damage done: no osprey. no mountain goats, no bear, no trumpeters swans, no owls, no beaver sighted …since this far from “Green” project industrialized the inlet- dawn to dusk float planes, water taxis and barges…never mind the massive silt dumps.

    I’ve kept written records for 20 years. a mere two months after I reported the silt dumps, a 12 hour old red snapper was hauled up, and was completely smeared in Tyson silt. NO crab! Aggressive threats by proponent’s team to residents. Even at regional district conference on Green’ the engineer aggressively barged into a private conversation as I explained the silt dump damage and loudly called me a liar. Float damage from the close in dawn to dusk wakes of wakes of constant water taxis.

    Conservation officer’s response when the massive silt dumps were reported …Mr gun totting and badge wearing environmental protection’s response:- ” The proponent has invested a lot of money” followed by an equally juvenile, “I have no boat” as if he was deaf to my offer to take him in.

    DFO senior biologist made his “No environment damage” pontification from his desk in Nanaimo – as proven , after 19 emails asking when he investigated the project he #1) assessed#2) approved… were ignored…. and he made his #3) investigation pontification from his desk in Nanaimo … 50 miles away. And did not rouse himself to enter Narrows inlet for two more months… him being a “siltation expert”- when he knew the silt would have settled out of suspension by the time he bothered to arrive and do his taxpayer paid job.

    The initial biologist was the proponent’s brother, biologist and major Shareholder, who casually invited residents to “stop your dissent and Invest in this Gold Rush”… and the brother biologist is now sending residents emails claiming he has for some reason tested creeks they want to IPP and claiming he has “found ecoli in them” – in our government licenced drinking water… clean , clear, freshwater used for over 25 years and previously tested clear.

    The Tyson silt was so thick you could not see a foot into the normally clear water. And the same proponent now wants to IPP high alpine, ice scoured Ramona Lake which is also “blue listed” cutthroat trout habitat and government licenced drinking water. And since exposing the brother’s conflict of interest we have had five successive out of province biologists who also do not contact residents.

    The Visual Impact Presentation at a public meeting for Ramona is two years over due. The EAO process is useless.

    And from the deafening silence of all government officials in environmental assessment, approval and enforcement, those government officials have obviously been “gagged”. Investigate the precedents of the the results of Swiss IPPs… or IPPs impact on Seton Lake and the white sturgeon there.

    i am not stupid enough, nor smart enough to make this saga up… and as proof, the Water Stewardship branch finally shut the Tyson Lake project down. The road construction was a disaster and a violation of the Forest Practices Code. run-off running willy nilly through the forest carrying silt and gravel. No culverts or cross road drain pipes.

    Even Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger has stated “IPPs are not green”


  8. Where do you think our energy is coming from? It is coming from green and clean and GHG less power projects like Tyson Creek that produce power at about half the cost of BC Hydro. This benefit goes directly to the citizens of this province by keeping their power rates low…..

    so says anon 2:59, kool-aid only an insider can believe

    In reality, our hydro rates are skyrocketing and these insiders need to be get gone ASAP. Bye bye Liberals, your time is up.


  9. The single, undisputable fact that Ramona is absolutley not “run of river”, as it has been advertised, should be enough to put an end to this irreversible mauling of the source lake.


  10. This is a link to the Mid-C electricity spot price in NW U.S. for the past year. It rarely went above $40/MWh. Yet BC Hydro is paying $100 to $140/MWh for power from new IPPs in BC.


    Were it not for BC Hydro being forced by the Govt to purchase IPP power, these IPPs would not get built.

    According to Dave Cobb, former CEO of BCH, BC Govt policy is forcing BCH to purchase hundreds of $millions worth of IPP power it doesn't need.


  11. Norm, I’m sure you’ll let us know when Mr. Schober gets in touch with you for the list of contacts available to conduct the expert environmental audit and interview he should welcome given his challenge. I’ll wait for the news, but not while holding my breath.


  12. Hugh – that is patented nonsense. Mid-C prices are for spot, nongreen, and nonfirm coal and gas fired power. How can you compare that to longterm, firm, renewable, clean and green power? You are comparing apples to pears.

    Mid-C average price for the past 5 years has been $44/MWh.

    And BC Hydro is NOT paying $100 to $140 a MWh for IPP power. You are wrong again.

    Take a look at the 2011 financial report by BC Hydro – page page 35, it says:

    Purchases from indpendent power producers 2011: 62.53/MWh

    I think you need to educate yourself on renewable power production before spewing more mythology.



  13. Hugh: “Were it not for BC Hydro being forced by the Govt to purchase IPP power, these IPPs would not get built. “

    Nonsense Hugh – IPP power costs less than BC Hydro's own new power generation. Aberfeldie, a run of river project by BC Hydro costs it $126/MWh. Site C will cost $103/MWh.

    IPP power for the Clean Call (i.e. power to be delivered in 2016), after taxes paid to government, will cost BC Hydro only $46/MWh — less than Mid-C (when you add the green, longterm, and firm premium to that).



  14. Norm Farrel — you call renewable power generation at costs BELOW that of BC Hydro a “fraud”.

    Can you substantiat this rather silly remark?



  15. In the 2010 fiscal year, BC Hydro spent $567.4 million on electricity from independent power producers. Those purchases climb to $781.8 million in 2013 and to $939.8 million in 2014.

    Marjorie Griffin Cohen, a political science professor at Simon Fraser University and former BC Hydro board member, said it makes “no economic sense” for BC Hydro to be purchasing so much electricity from independent power producers.

    “It's wrong on all kinds of levels,” she said. “First of all, it is a tremendous cost. These contracts are also indexed, which means they will never get cheaper. They are sometimes as much as 30 times what BC Hydro can sell the power for.

    “This isn't BC Hydro's fault, this is the government's fault. BC Hydro would never have chosen to do this because it makes no economic sense for them.”


  16. Another issue worth exploring is the location of IPP's. They make considerably more sense if close to the existing grid (Alberni Valley has three of them) versus remote locations which need large infrastructure built to reach them.


  17. Norm…I would like to think that all your effort reporting articles like this are beginning to make these insiders start to squirm and they may begin to realize the gig is up.
    Those that are in deep and looking for financial gain in these matters can't be believed. The first clue that this is a scam, is that FOI requests are required to review pertinent information, that in itself tells all.


  18. Norm, I have a proposition for you – you inexplically think that IPPs are making a ton of money and laughing all the way to the bank, even though they receive no subsidies. (can you reveal your source please?)

    Why dont you put your money where your mouth is? Load on Plutonics shares (currently $2 down from $8) or better still Innergex, pays 6% dividend – and get rich when the stock price goes through the roof!!! After all IPPs are a fraud and are being paid wads of banknotes by their Liberal buddies, innit?

    The returns in this business is not any more than many other businesses, about 9% to 10% on capital. But you think the returns are phenomenal. No problem, I will introduce you to some IPPs, and they will be more than happy to take your money and send you a “phenomenal” dividend check after operation 6 years down the road.

    Are you up to this, or are you talking out of somewhere else?

    And also, the $40 B commitment by BC Hydro is only on paper. The reality is that the attrition rate is 66% which should be subtracted. And then that figure includes Alcan, some of BC Hydro's own subsidiaries, Teck Cominco, Fortis, gas fired producers, etc. Neither is that figure levelized.

    The true number is $ 7 billion over the next 40 years ($175 M a year). And for that BC Hydro is receiving power that is worth at least $15 billion.



  19. Paisley – LOL, almost everything in the government requires an FOI request. This may be changing I believe, but if you want to get someone's email or an unpublished report, you always need to do an FOI. You can't just walk in and demand material. There is no process for that.

    You may be interested to find out more about IPP filings with the government. Here they are – all 2000 pages of it for a single tiny 10MW project – happy reading – nothing to hide:




  20. A contract adopted by BC Liberals in 2003 sets out an amount of electricity to be produced by Heritage Assets such as the Revelstoke and WAC Bennett Dams.

    The agreement sets 49,000 GWh of electricity per year as the maximum amount of power from Heritage Assets that can be used for domestic needs.

    The Heritage Contract means that any demand for electricity beyond 49,000 GWh has to be made up by the private sector.

    In years when domestic demand reaches above 49,000 GWh, any surplus electricity from Heritage Assets is sold on the market and IPP's make up the balance.

    In 2008, for example, total domestic sales reached 53,299 GWh. Heritage assets actually produced 52,140 GWh in that year and could, theoretically, have been used to meet domestic energy needs.

    Instead, because of the Heritage Contract, any GWh of electricity from Heritage Assets that brought domestic consumption above 49,000 GWh was sold on the open market. That's 3,140 GWh that could have been used by British Columbians. Instead it was sold for $31.9 million.

    In the very same year, BC Hydro purchased 7,765 GWh of electricity from IPP's even though it didn't need to purchase that much for domestic needs. The cost to ratepayers? $480 million.


  21. It is simply not true that there are no osprey, no mountain goats, no bear, no trumpeters swans, no owls, no beaver sighted as was stated. Again I challenge you to come up and see the truth. Most of the other accusations are all simply not true. Can you show me some proof that all these animals are gone?


  22. Regarding location…..laying a submarine power transmission cable under the worlds fastest flowing tidal waters….what could possibly go wrong?….never mind narrowly skirting 2 provincial parks (one of which was established to protect the shoreline and the other to protect the old growth mountainous Caren Range)..and then down into the Ruby Lake resort area…


  23. Yes Henrik, I know what FOI is all about. It was created because the bureaucracy was to incompetent to provide taxpayers with requested information in an accurate and timely manner so another level of bureaucracy was created that still can't provide accurate information in a timely manner. Thanks for the jab and thanks for the squirm.


  24. What I said was that the price of power from NEW IPPs costs BC Hydro $100-140/MWh.

    I was told in an email in Feb. from BC Hydro that the cost of firm energy under the recent Clean Power Call was $130/MWh.

    The website for the Mid-C shows that market price hovering between $20 to $40/MWh.

    Quite a difference. If BC Hydro is exporting to the U.S., can they charge higher than the Mid-C market rate?


  25. Thanks Hugh. Even more worrisome is that the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 showed an increase in total commitments to purchase independent power had grown by almost $26 billion. The total commitment today could easily be over $60 billion. We can't see individual contracts but we know the producers are protected by price inflation contracts.

    Every citizen gains substantially by BC Hydro's low cost heritage power facilities. BC Liberals gave away those future benefits to Wall Street hedge funds and companies like General Electric.

    DECEMBER 4, 2011 12:06 PM


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