BC Hydro’s quarterly report to December 2019 showed $4.7 billion spent on Site C with another half billion in deferred costs carried as a “regulated asset.”
Before BC Hydro admitted the dam project needed a fundamental redesign to cope with foundation problems, construction cost of Site C was expected to be about $11 billion.
I surmise a $14 billion final cost is the likely minimum, not including payments for power distribution facilities. Financed for 40 years at 3%, interest would add more than another $10 billion. Annual amortization would exceed $600 million.
Even that would be low if unstable ground results in a shortened lifespan.
BC Hydro optimistically projects 5,100 GWh of production. Since that’s higher production per MW of capacity than obtained at other BC Hydro facilities, I estimate that 4,600 GWh is a more likely number, and closer to the utility’s earlier projection.
These factors suggest about 13¢ per KWh is needed to amortize the capital cost of Site C. On top of this would be operating costs such as maintenance, insurance, water license, distribution and administration. Let’s guess those add about 3¢ per KWh for a total 16¢ unit cost.
The USA Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says:
Wind power is cost-effective. Land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today, costing 1–2 cents per kilowatt-hour…https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy
Additional sales and distribution expenses of wind power would be comparable to hydro electricity.
This elementary analysis includes no risk contingency and attaches no monetary value to prime farmland that will be flooded, or to cultural and economic significance of lands where indigenous people have lived for millenia.
Or to the damage done by carbon emissions and loss of food security potential that current BC Environment Minister Heyman worried about when he was an environmentalist.
Sierra Club Executive Director George Heyman in 2010:
Instead of investing billions of dollars in a dam whose need is unproven, we should first spend our time and money developing a full provincial framework for future energy development before making a final decision on Site C.
The loss of a huge tract of forest would leave fewer trees to soak up carbon, while flooded farmland would reduce the province’s food security.https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/site-c-criticized-by-environmental-groups-1.882767
With domestic demand in 2020 below that of 2005, the oft-repeated lies of BC Hydro’s spin doctors about demand growth are exposed by the company’s audited sales numbers.
Site C power seems promised to natural gas producers and processors at less than 6¢ per KWh, which would result in operating losses at Site C approaching $500 million a year. Those could double if BC’s surplus power is dumped in export markets that are taking advantage of low-cost solar and wind power.
With certainty of billions to be lost by completing Site C, the obvious choice is to suspend the project immediately. It would be the least-cost option.
Award winning agrologist Wendy Holm offered this comment in an earlier In-Sights article:
With all the information now on the table the Site C Dam should be stopped and a public inquiry launched to – as the Globe and Mail suggests – examine all costs and options, including cut our losses and return the site to Mother Nature to repair.
As one Peace River rancher notes, there are works of value that will remain in the Valley because of the construction that offset our taxpayer costs. She notes:
1) In our area we gained much needed road and utility upgrades worth MILLIONS. Those that have worked on the “Make Work Get More Votes and stipends” project, had JOBS and PAID Income TAX working those jobs.
.2) We gained a second access across the Peace River via the bridge on site. This bridge could serve as access to the gas fields on the ridge above the worksite, that is part of the massive Montney Shale play below, the shale gas field that is fracking the banks apart As Chief Roland Willson said, “You can have one or the other, but not BOTH”, and the frack shake studies at and immediately surrounding the site, are proof of that.
3) There is NO NEED to put every stone back, despite the massive irreparable damage done to sacred, archaeological, historical pre and post ice age sites and finds, but the shut down and remediation work will also provide years of tax paying JOBS!
4) We will have regained much needed aggregates, that have been bought up locally and hauled in from the massive Pine Pass quarry, to build this monstrosity, that have all but depleted our region’s stocks, for building and repairing our roads here. The site could be mined for decades of these aggregates worth BILLIONS.
5) We will have 2 fully serviced pads, that will be suitable for building a subdivision, where the camp was and a small brand new town for workers who work the gas fields across the river, and/or at an alternate power generator such as wind, solar, Blue Gas co gen etc, across from the site on the South bank and ALL the powerline and transformer station infrastructure is already in place to set up an alternate power generating station “IF and WHEN BC ever needs more power!”.
6) Most buildings and equipment, including the camp, will have to be sold, whether the dam is finished or not, these assets alone must be worth a BILLION+ $$.
ALL the 5 billion has NOT been WASTED Far from it. We need to get the benefit figures down on paper and make them public, so that wasting another 10 thousand million + interest, on a project predicted to fail, doesn’t happen.