BC Hydro

Open for business, at any price

By RanD Hadland, on Facebook

Back in the 80’s when BC hydro had lost their first application for an energy project, (Site C) and they were trying to get the debate going again, part of the argument against the project was that there were alternatives that would cost the province less.

Conservation, wind, and geothermal were suggested many times, and proponents of those options were looking for a bidding process that would allow them to compete with Hydros next, (Site C) alternative. At the time many of us opposed to big dams could see that there was a place for smaller incremental generating projects.

It is out of that scenario that the Campbell government did its best to privatize power generation in BC with some of the large independent power producers. The Liberals perverted the process allowing the bidding to become secret, or non-existent, and the goal of lessening the rate impact of new generation on consumers to become secondary to the political goal of private profit.

And the Clean Energy Act Campbell introduced threw BC Hydro a bone, (Site C) as the last generating project they would be allowed to build. So we ended up with unregulated expansion of the IPP generating capacity, BC Hydro wanting to build their last megadam, and declining demand all at the same time.

I want to suggest that it wasn’t the prices paid for the IPPs, but rather the ‘open BC for business at any expense’ attitude that prevailed under the Liberals and is now being carried on by the NDP that is the problem.

It wasn’t the fact that we signed contracts, at least to the extent that those contracts came in at less than a dam at site c would cost, and they have, but that we signed contracts that weren’t needed by the time they were delivered on.

There is no case where public regulatory oversight should be short circuited, but the governments for the last 20 years have consistently denied the public access to and input to the documents and discussions that should take place. ie Hydros confidentiality claims,

Billions of dollars in the accounts of private power producers (IPPs) instead of the pockets of residents and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). That is the outcome after Campbell/Clark Liberals offered risk-free profits to private companies for power BC did not and does not need.

Billions of dollars in the accounts of vested interests instead of the pockets of residents and SMEs. That’s will be the outcome after Clark’s Liberals and Horgan’s NDP greenlighted Site C, a $12 billion dam, which BC residential and SME consumers do not and will not need.

Today, Alberta regulators approved a 400 MW solar power project in Alberta. It is budgeted at $500 million, which is $1.25 million per MW. Site C is an 1,100 MW hydro power project likely to cost at least $12 billion, or almost $11 million per MW

In December 2018, Alberta announced new wind energy projects representing 763 megawatts (MW) of capacity at an average weighted price of $39 per megawatt-hour.

Cost of Site Cpower will be in the range of $100-$120 per mWh. But that does not account for hefty damages that government likely will pay to West Moberly First Nations and other indigenous people affected by construction. John Horgan has already admitted publicly that the project violates entrenched constitutional rights.

Site C proponents argued the dam was necessary because solar and wind power could not benefit the provincial grid. Technical complications and all that.

But, in July 2019, wind turbines in Scotland generated almost twice the entire country’s domestic power requirements in the first six months of the year. Scottish Power has already sold off gas and hydro stations.

If canny Scots can do it, why cannot British Columbians?


5 replies »

  1. If the Scots can do it, why not B.C., you ask? Political will or perhaps ignorance. My suggestion, import more Scots. you know the type who did this type of work done in Scotland. If Canadians can’t figure it out, I’m sure there are more than a few Scots who might like to move here, given the impending Brexit, which could leave G.B. with only a 2 day supply of toilet paper.


  2. This is the just the new corrupt special interest backing BC government which replaced the last corrupt special interest backing BC government. All their pigs are in at the trough. John Horgan continuing with Site C is corrupt in itself. It’s politicians like him and Mungall and the rest that prove to me they couldn’t give a dam about the the next day for what’s right.


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