Site C was sold to the province as a necessity by people who knew they would gain financially from the project.
Proponents took advantage of assumptions made by people without information. Politicians and media failed to inform the public accurately so, despite opposition by those who have done needed research, most people support Site C.
It seems logical that a growing population and an expanding economy would need greater supplies of electricity. But de-industrialization and lighting, electronic, motor and other efficiencies changed the proposition.
Reality over the past 15 years is expressed by this simple chart:
Yes, according to Statistics Canada (Table: 36-10-0402-01), BC’s Gross Domestic Product increased 40%, as measured in chained (2012) dollars. Records of BC Stats show the province’s population rose by 21%.
Yet, BC Hydro sales to residential, commercial, light industry, and heavy industry consumers dropped from 50,541 GWh in calendar year 2005 to 50,270 GWh in calendar year 2019, a drop of 1%.
A 15-year history of flat domestic sales is one uncomfortable truth for the spendthrifts at BC Hydro. The others are that hydro-power is not clean, harmless energy and alternative methods of producing electricity are less expensive.
Many in the industry are relying on electric vehicles (EVs) to reverse the downward trend in global electricity consumption. But a new report from Redburn, a UK research and investment company, suggests the growing energy efficiency of EVs means that the industry and investors may have to look elsewhere for significant boosts in demand for electrical power, says energy expert Fereidoon Sioshansi of EEinformer.
Until recently, the demand for electricity – like that of oil – was always rising. Over the years, as new electricity consuming gadgets were invented and commercialised on a massive scale – starting with incandescent light bulbs, radios, refrigerators, motors, fans, washers and dryers, dishwashers, TVs, air conditioning, electronic devices, personal computers, printers and so on – the demand kept rising.
Economic growth, wages, income levels and other factors would impact the rate of growth, but grow it did for over a century. The saying within the industry was that if you overbuilt and over-invested, all you had to do was to wait a few years for demand to catch up.
That maxim rarely failed, until the bottom fell out of demand growth…