BC Hydro

No business case for Site C

In the past ten years, generators at BC Hydro dams produced an annual average of 4.12 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity per megawatt (MW) of capacity. That suggests the 1,100 MW capacity at Site C will average 4,530 GWh of power each year.

Yet, the utility claims production will be 5,100 GWh annually.

If you think we should trust BC Hydro’s numbers, check out their demand forecasts over the past 20 years or their budgets for capital improvements like the ones they had when the Northwest Transmission Line or Site C were conceived.

Since even Energy Minister Michelle Mungall admits the province has surplus electricity, and because demand has not grown in a dozen years, BC Hydro cannot accurately predict revenue from Site C.

If BCH sells 4,530 GWh on spot markets, it would gross $150 million, at the current Alberta rate of 3.3¢ per KWh, or $177 million if the current cost of Alberta solar power is realized.

Mind you, there are transmission, sales and overhead costs to deduct so the net return would be much lower. Keep in mind that electricity markets have been soft for years because of low cost solar and wind power and more efficient consumption by utility customers.

That predicted revenue would certainly not cover amortization costs of Site C. Financed at the current rate for 10-year Government loans, a 50 year amortization of $10.7 billion in Site C costs requires $424 million a year.

What I describe here is exactly why the BC Government has no business case for Site C. Unfortunately, leadership also lacks the courage to terminate this white elephant.

Categories: BC Hydro, Site C

20 replies »

  1. In BC Business Cases are mostly fraudulent documents, used to give the impression of fiscal viability.

    Business cases are mere scraps of paper.


  2. Supplying BC oil and gas developments with clean hydro power from Site C doesn’t reduce GHG emissions when those products are ultimately burned at their export destinations.


  3. Clearly no business case even stripping out any vision of the future.

    It’s like we never had an opposition. So you can rule out politics as having any bearing on this case as they both think alike under the Legislature’s mandate to maintain a democracy.

    You can say these people cannot think outside of their political box when it comes to the real world of thinking of consequences. Its like their minds are completely disconnected from performing their duties.

    I’m sure the Liberals will later say the NDP made a mess of it.

    To think only 10 years more of these people leading us before hell begins breaking loose on the world with global warming.


  4. There could be a further reduction in power consumption if we had all overhead street lights in B.C. converted from High Pressure Sodium fixtures to L.E.D’s. The Department of Highways converted from anolog to digital traffic controllers at all street/road intersections back 15/20 years ago and the traffic control lamps to LED at the same time. Example; about 20 years ago,I was involved with a controller conversion on an highway intersection here on the island. Before conversion, the controller and old tungsten lamps was consuming between 22 and 23 amps at any one particular point of time. After conversion: between 2 and 3 amps. My amp meter would only register in whole numbers not in fractions. Need I say more?


    • Total agreement.
      I managed several office building in downtown van over 20 years.
      I saw the conversions from T12 fluorescent tubes (40watts each) to T8 fluorescent tubes (25 watts each) to T8 LED tubes( 7 watts each). We also converted magnetic ballasts,to electronic, We installed Variable frequency drives(VFD’s) on fans, pumps, etc.
      After all the conversions I also calculated the reduced “heat load” in summer from converting all the lights to less energy pigs. Another hidden savings that no one had thought of..
      The BC Hydro powersmart program and the private sector paid for most of it through rebates/pay back schedule. A win win.

      The results?
      After we converted one 250,000 sq ft building from T12 to T8 tubes in about a 6 week period , about a month later I received a call from our Toronto head office.
      The accountants had noticed our monthly electrical consumption was down almost 25%…had we lost a major tenant?


  5. BC Hydro was required to put a cost/benefit analysis before the BC Utilities Commission during the Commissions first project hearing in 82/83. Their failure to make a case was a significant part of the reason Site c was turned down back then. There has been no attempt to do that again. 🙂


    • Because it would prove more negative now than it was then. In 82/83 they didn’t have economical renewable power, they didn’t have state of the art batteries, Climate Change was of little or no concern, there was no concern about food availability and we still had little or no respect for the natives.
      There is ABSOLUTELY NO CASE FOR SITE C hristy. Better to shut it down today before we waste another $2Billion this winter, and a further $ Billion resurrecting the mess Mother Nature will deal this ill conceived (what happened to i before e, except after c?) mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Costs of financing are Real costs born by the consumers of BCH. Many of us baby boomers are fully aware interest rate can change at any time. What then?? Raise rates !!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It is kind of like we can’t afford to raise taxes to pay for this stuff we don’t need, like a 12 Billion dollar dam and an interest bill of around 40 Billion for the first 70 years of the Mortgage, and then we renew it. And we certainly can’t raise the rates enough to pay for it. The Industrial sector isn’t paying for it. What do people think is the coming method of payment?


  8. Just curious…
    Apparently the shock from our last mega thrust earthquake could be felt all the way over to Manitoba. If (when) we should have one again, just how safe will Site C, Bennett, Mica, and Revelstoke dams be? If they should give way (as some have said is quite possible) what then? Does Hydro have plans in place should even one give way? The issue they had with Bennett dam some years ago was kept pretty quiet by Hydro…do we trust them to give us the facts needed to make ourselves safer living downstream from these behemoths?


    • I’m not concerned about a mega thrust earthquake that we can do nothing about.
      I’m concerned about a Dam being built on clay, in an area repeatedly surveyed….and rejected as a site for building bridges OR Dams.

      Billions of money wasted on politicians arrogance, hubris and possibly corruption.

      Christy Clark had her wish.
      She got it built to the point of “no return” and in the political game of “Poker”…..Horgan blinked, swallowed, and went “all in” with his union “brothers” campaign contributions to keep this “disaster waiting to happen” up and running.

      Toss in the challenge to any engineer that “it cant be done’ and sit back and watch those slide rules click

      But since we’re building mega projects up north and we have all those workers/trades in place.

      How about we build a prison down stream about 5 miles from the Dam and fill IT with convicted politicians,

      Lets allow more Fracking all around this Dam once its finished and we are experiencing our wettest, rainiest Spring on record.
      An earthen Dam, built on clay, full to the max with water…..and a small man made earthquake…..what could possibly go wrong?.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nonconfidence – I like the way you think!! Only change I’d make is to add their families to keep it fair. They’ve been busily destroying any hope for a decent future for our families, fair is fair.

    But, my question still stands: “do we trust them to give us the facts needed to make ourselves safer living downstream from these behemoths?” Is there any safe land anywhere? The number of dams in this province is ridiculous, are the 92 non-registered dams at the time of Clark’s leaving now registered? BC Hydro needs to give US a map of all the dams, over the entire province along with current advice on what to do should/when one fails.


  10. Horgan caved to special interests instead of doing the right thing by stopping the project and looking out for the mainstream majority public interest. The money that could be saved and used elsewhere usefully, still far outstrips what has gone in to this wasteful beast. Horgan is the one who doesn’t have the courage. The buck stops there, and he wasted it. Regretfully, there is a high probability that the Liberals will regain power because of him and his buffoons. I think they’re that thick, visionless, strategically stupid, and even highly arrogant. I really hate to say this. i really do, but the Liberals will be planning their strategies down to the details and scheming to pounce and wipe out the dense newbie fumblers. Nobody to blame but themselves.


    • I think you’re totally right Kennylad. Horgan is a one-term wonder, and in the end a waste of political energy. A shame because he was the one reading the riot act to the Liberals about all things environmental, and using fact to do it. He was right, and people stood behind him and the NDP believing he really was going to stop Site C as he said he would.
      Then he turns around and caves to the unions (who really don’t care who’s in power as long as they get their way) and big business (same thing).
      You can bet Wilkinson, Clark, Campbell and the power ring around them are dancing, and counting the days. They know their time is coming – Again! – and I honestly believe that Horgan is the last NDP premier this province will ever see. Shame, he could have been one of the best in our history…he’ll turn out to be a sidenote.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a reply but be on topic and civil.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s