BC Hydro

Our pending meltdown

Are BC Liberals about to drag taxpayers into another economic calamity? Something akin to BC Hydro’s private power initiative, where government has taken near $50 billion of financial risk and guaranteed abundant profits to private energy promoters.

[Russia’s] Gazprom Biggest Loser as Shale Gas Upends World Markets, Bloomberg Businessweek, June 21, 2012:

…The U.S. no longer needs Russia’s gas, leaving President Vladimir Putin fighting to salvage Gazprom’s $20 billion Shtokman project in the Arctic. China, the biggest energy consumer, is exploring its own shale reserves and hesitating to accept a pipeline from Russia. Gazprom’s shipments fell about 14 percent so far in 2012…

Russia, with about $13 trillion of gas deposits, has the most at stake in the energy revolution that’s blasting shale from Pennsylvania to China in rocks impossible to drill just a decade ago…

China shale gas boom could surpass U.S., Reuters, Dec. 7, 2011:

China is set for a shale gas revolution which will surpass that seen in the United States, the chairman of Sinopec, the country’s second-largest oil company, said a day after Reuters revealed Royal Dutch Shell Plc had begun shale gas production in China.

Fu Chengyu, chairman of state-controlled China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) , said it could take five to 10 years but that China’s output would exceed that of the United States.

” I think the total reserves are even more than the U.S. so production is not less than the U.S., but it is a matter of timing,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the World Petroleum Congress.

U.S. energy markets were fundamentally changed by the development of shale gas. In the space of several years, the country went from natural gas shortages to a point where companies are planning to export gas to Asia …

Site C and the Kitimat LNG Export Terminal: Christy Clark’s Program for Income Redistribution, Jim Quail’s Blog, February 8, 2012:

[Producers] are in a mad rush to suck the gas out of the ground and get it to China before the Chinese start exploiting their own huge shale gas reserves on a major scale: once that happens, there will be no Asian market for tankers full of LNG. That gives the Canadian developers maybe a bit over a decade to make their money and run.

It takes a lot of energy to liquefy natural gas. Almost universally, around the world, LNG plants use a portion of their own natural gas supply to provide that energy. It appears, however, that BC Hydro is prepared to supply electricity, at BC’s below-cost industrial bulk energy rates, to the Kitimat LNG consortium, for their liquefaction operations.

So what’s the big deal, you ask?

The initial phase of the Encana plant would require about 250 MW of electrical generation capacity to provide it with sufficient energy. The three projected Kitimat LNG plants would require about 1,600 Megawatts of power to liquefy its billions of cubic feet of gas for export.

How much power is 1,600 MW?

About one-and-a-half Site C dams is how much power.

Hydro would sell that much power to one corporate mega-project, at industrial tariff rates of around $35 per megawatt hour. That same power would cost Hydro at least $80 per MWh, assuming they built one-and-a-half Site C dams for that purpose, or around $129 per MWh if they bought it from Independent Power Producers. So we’d pay for Site C, through our Hydro bills, to sell the electricity it produces for less than half what it cost us…

H/T Bob Makin for the Bloomberg Businessweek article.

Please visit Jim Quail’s blog for additional information about energy.

Energy critics roast Clark’s LNG strategy, Frank Luba, The Province, June 22, 2012
NDP energy critic John Horgan believes Clark’s changes should have been debated in the legislature.

“She’s going to amend the Clean Energy Act by regulation,” said Horgan. “These are detailed and generational changes we are making and we should do that with a thoughtful eye, not with an expedient political eye and that’s what she did,” he said.

Categories: BC Hydro, Energy, LNG

17 replies »

  1. The whole thing is preposterous. If they need energy to run the LNG compression plant, they're going to use some of their own product to provide that power.


  2. The worst thing we ever did was hand the keys of this Province over to the BC Liberals. They sold or destroyed all the assets that took 50 years of hard work to achieve for future generations. They sold off our forests and energy deposits to the highest overseas bidder. They gave sweet patronage jobs to their friends and donors and gave them ridiculous raises and pensions.

    This must stop now. We need to recall every sitting Liberal MLA ***NOW***!!!


  3. Its all OK …the provincial Liberals have just changed physics and declared natural gas power generation “green” as long as it is generated within our borders…must be some kind of continental divide thing I guess…..we are so lucky it is green here. That being said, Rod Smelser is right…they can darn well generate their own electricity…if not by our BC Green Gas then by mini nuclear plants….hurry, hurry and get rid of the stuff….it does not matter what our kids will do in 37 years when the supply is gone. I want to add that there is some merit to the green argument as long as conventionally drilled gas is differentiated from frac'ed gas.


  4. I sure hope this isn't a done deal. Either way, it's a dumb deal.

    Whoever buys this compressed gas has a huge opportunity at the other end, if the liquid is turned back into gas for piping to users. They could set up refrigeration or freezer plants, getting free cooling from the liquid-to-gas phase change. All OUR energy, paying for their refrigeration. Cool! (Not)

    As an aside, the reverse of this happens at the public indoor pool at Hope. They take the humid air and dehumidify it, capturing the heat given off when water vapour turns to water. This heat is then put back into the water. Not a perpetual cycle… but cost-saving. The air is also a lot less jungle-like, which is easier on the fixtures and building structure.


  5. Totally agree with Rod. Thanksfully, the government came to its senses and the door is now open for that possibility.

    As for your concern Norm, hopefully, there is no need for the government or BC Hydro to be involved. Those planning on developing LNG plants can either include NG fueled power plants as part of their plans or negotiate deals with other private parties to supply power to their LNG plants. We'll see if this is the way things unfold.


  6. Make the companies building the facilities, build their own electricity generating plants and provide their own transmission infrastructure.

    No more free handouts for the obscenely rich corporations.



  7. In some cases, for political reasons or to help “friends” they didn't even sell stuff off to the highest bidder, but the “favoured” bidder. The fastcats are an example of an asset that they refused a higher offer for, so they could embarrass the NDP longer and more!


  8. Apparently natural gas is only green if it is from Northern B.C. – gas from Southern B.C. is still dirty old fossil fuel according to Crispy's redefinition of energy “greeness” or lack of same!


  9. Well, at least when they frack for gas, we can have free home heat. All you have to do is, light the water on fire, coming out of your faucets. Greed is all powerful
    The site-C dam is going to flood the most valuable farmland in Canada. That's exactly how stupid, the Campbell/Clark BC Liberals really are. Greed is destroying our food crops, and we are in a global shortage of food, that is getting worse by the day.

    The stupidity of fracking, contaminates the clean underground drinking water, for miles. All of BC's natural resources, do nothing for the people. BC's assets and resources, were thieved and sold out long ago.


  10. I got my divides mixed up….kootcoot is correct…Southern BC is on the wrong side of the Continental Divide so the gas is not green here like I thought…when it is both on the east side of the Continental Divide and north of the Arctic Divide it gets greener yet. The Liberals should be in line for a Nobel Prize in molecular physics to have discovered this great thing.


  11. How about encouraging people to convert their cars to run on natural gas? It's clean, cheap and is delivered to most homes.


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