Energy - Wind

Site C per MW capex 7x that of Egyptian near-shore wind projects

Because domestic demand by BC Hydro’s residential, commercial and industrial customers has been flat since 2005, the need for Site C is unproven.

Because costs of alternative sources of electricity are substantially below the Peace River project, its completion is a mistake.

Egypt is just one country dedicating itself to clean renewables. It plans to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022, and 42% by 2035.

Two near-shore projects are under construction in the Gulf of Suez. One by Lekela Power, another by Vestas. The basic details are here compared to Site C:

The budget for Site C will probably exceed the amount shown above. Bureaucrats and politicians never hide good news and BC Hydro has been unwilling to release details of engineering challenges that require redesign of important project segments.

The cost of abandonment has grown substantially since 2017 but continued spending does not guarantee Site C will ever contribute anything to BC’s power grid.

The Horgan Government needs to remember the First Law of Holes:

 If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

I have written that BC Hydro’s energy outlook is rooted in the 20th century, when electricity demand moved inexorably upward. Executives assumed growth in GDP resulted in need for additional energy.

BC Hydro’s demand expectations have been tied, not to real world consumption, but to expected economic expansion. To justify capital spending, the utility used optimistic forecasts of GDP changes, even though the validity of that indicator had ceased to matter.

In 2005, demand for electricity in British Columbia stopped rising, even though economic expansion continued. This is happening elsewhere too.

This chart is from Germany. Although GDP has been rising, energy consumption has fallen in the last 15 years.

Germany offers another lesson to British Columbia. Having expanded dramatically in the past decade, wind and solar power generation now provides about 30% of German electricity.

Yet outdated proponents of traditional hydro in this province argue that wind and solar power can contribute only a tiny portion of needed electricity. Of course, if those renewables can be integrated into utility grids elsewhere, they can be used here.

Another piece of misinformation spread by those with fingers in the lucrative dam-building business is that hydro power is the cleanest of all sources. Independent scientists know that is untrue.

The scientists compared the environmental impacts of hydro, solar, and wind energy. Hydropower does the most damage, the scientists found. “Hydropower has degraded some of the most biologically rich habitats on our planet,” said Professor William Laurance from James Cook University in Australia.

Categories: Energy - Wind, Site C

12 replies »

  1. The Site C Dam is a text book example of corrupt Politics, Campaign Donations, falsified Accounting and Pension Plans guaranteed by the taxpayer.
    Present and former politicians must be held accountable and be liable the irresponsible decision. The charge: Wasting taxpayer’s money by taking the project beyond “the point of no return.” If this project was in China, all of the politicians and BC Hydro executives would receive 15 years for fraud.
    The Peace River region is basically clay and is prone to mudslides and earthquakes. As the climate changes, flooding will cause more weight behind the dam. Add to it, the billion tons of cement that will shift and the electric turbines will fill with silt. It is the most expensive washing machine ever build in BC that will break down, will leak and need to be replaced. The warranty is useless yet our grandkids will still be required to make the payments. The taxpayers have been taken to the cleaners.
    A false premise is the excuse to build an unnecessary Dam to provide “clean energy” so that LNG can be shipped to the world’s largest polluting foreign nation.
    The Site C Dam is built on a lie. If the electricity isn’t needed or to help build the Canadian Supply Chain, the construction must stop. A Nuclear Power Plant would make more sense … as the leftover waste radioactive poles could be used to build … de-fence around BC.
    For now, BC residents have to deal with a lot of holes within the BC Hydro Corporation and our Legislative Building. Perhaps the hot air can power the Wind Turbines.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stupid, wasteful and senseless projects are usually run and overseen by stupid wasteful and senseless people in charge. The worst thing about this project is that the torch was passed from one self serving pack of idiots to the other. Christy over to Horgan. Each had their own similar needs. Wasteful job creation and vote promoting projects on this scale is unconsciounable.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The best thing for shining the light on these projects built on the foundations of corruption is from those in the know courageous whistle blowers. Hopefully more step forward


    • So many people who spoke the truth have been punted from BC Hydro.

      The only way to right the ship is to fire the incompent and corrupt. Who has the courage to implement this change? Well, they’ve all been fired and muzzled.

      The corrupt try to corrupt others, then they can all blackmail each other not to speak the truth or do the right thing.


      • Not surprising that people who are paid lucrative salaries and expenses do much to protect the status quo. Personal interest can easily take precedence over public interest if transparency and accountability are lacking.

        Two former BC Hydro professionals told me their past employer had threatened to undermine consulting opportunities if they dared to comment publicly in ways that didn’t uphold the company’s positions. One said that someone decided he was insufficiently loyal so they contacted other Canadian utilities, saying “Don’t hire this man.” He was forced to continue his consulting work outside Canada.

        Over the years, I’ve benefited from very limited interaction with past and present employees of public agencies. Usually, just a hint of where to look. Not surprising, There is almost no protection for whistleblowers if they take their concerns outside the employer or the Ombudsman. Andrew MacLeod of The Tyee wrote about the subject:

        So it’s worth noting that under the whistleblower law, with very limited exceptions, an employee who takes their concerns to the media or finds a way to go public that’s not through one of the prescribed routes does not receive the act’s protection from retaliation.

        Rather than supporting or encouraging the media’s role in holding power to account, the act has the potential to create an incentive to have concerns dealt with internally or via the ombudsperson’s office instead.

        Liked by 1 person

        • This is the news item that is not being covered. Some very bad deeds can be covered up through coercion and spite.

          You literally need a line of martyrs to speak out against this system. Maybe after ten people’s lives are destroyed in a row and publicly will anyone take notice.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. What I want to say cannot be printed so I will say only this, Almost everyone has dirty hands in this, just as our continued building of an obsolete light metro system in Metro Vancouver.

    The truth has been erased by the mainstream media, who become more and more vague with each passing week.

    We now live in the age of grifters and con men, and we are not taught the skills to call them out. Only a few of us have both the desire and moral fortitude to challenge the established cabal of the political industrial complex and we few are growing fewer.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good comments. Thanks to Evil Eye for mentioning the Skytrain extension. The whole system is a over bloated white elephant. (FYI: I live in Vancouver and will be 4 blocks from the UBC line).
    There is a wise Arab saying: No matter how far down the wrong road you’ve gone, turn back.


  6. Good comparison to Broadway train turning most profitable bus line into a 3p dept for decades. Worse the need for extra transfers kills the trip time ad vantage.


  7. Just don’t get that Site C dam. Its a waste of money. Billions and billions. If it were jobs they wanted, they could have created them closer to home with building roads, schools, hospitals, post secondary institutions to train nurses, doctors, etc. Hell they could have just paid the workers at Site C their salaries for the years and sent them home. would have been better for the environment.

    As you have pointed out the need for electricity isn’t there. It is doubtful we will ever need that amount of electricity. Even if every one went to electric cars we wouldn’t need that amount of electricity, not that we would, but ……………..

    B/C Hydro needs a “do over”, big time. On the up side neither party can use it as an election issue.


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