Before July 2017, BC NDP understood the way forward for BC Hydro. It was expressed in their PowerBC program.
Sadly, that well conceived energy policy has has been consigned to the trash heap of NDP promises, perhaps lying beside the ones about fixing our education system, respecting educators, and operating government with transparency and information freedom.
Some excerpts from the BC NDP’s release describing PowerBC:
Energy efficiency retrofits create twice as many jobs as building a new dam, and the jobs are long-lasting, good-paying, and close to home in every community across British Columbia.
Conserving energy is the most efficient way to meet BC’s energy needs.
Upgrade existing infrastructure with resource-smart projects like Revelstoke Dam. Building Unit 6 at Revelstoke Dam would add 500 MW of energy capacity at cost of $420 million, a fraction of the cost of Site C, and meet BC’s need for more peak capacity much sooner than Site C.
Across BC many hydroelectric dams are operating 50s-era machinery. By upgrading these turbines and transformers with modern high-efficiency technology we can increase output while protecting our farms, protecting our natural environment, and respecting First Nations land title.
Capture our wind and solar potential by making smart decisions now, freeing BC Hydro to pursue wind, solar, battery technology, and other renewable energy sources as costs fall and these technologies prove themselves.
We are at a crossroads in energy planning in B.C. The Swain environmental review panel and other objective parties have all recognized there is no justification for building Site C now. There is much more to achieve through conservation, building Revelstoke 6…
In addition to suspending Site C, BC NDP leaders promised to address the private power schemes that have already cost electric ratepayers over $10 billion dollars in above-market payments, a loss that rises more than half a billion dollars a year. While suspending deals for new IPP projects, BC Hydro has not stopped renewals of existing contracts, even though BC Hydro has been spilling water without generating electricity and paying for private power it did not accept.
Of course, Horgan’s volte-face on BC Hydro is accompanied by similar movement on natural gas. Before 2017, NDP promised to ensure the public regained a fair share of value of BC gas production. He also promised diligent regulation of gas field activities, with his government to be guided on fracking by science.
Instead, NDP continued to reduce the public share of natural gas values and the commitment to diligent, science-based regulation was discarded, unless one considers effective oversight to have been achieved by government purchasing a glowing report from Ernst & Young, consultants who understand that pleasing the paying client is job one.
Years from now, after physical frailty or political transience has ensured John Horgan’s removal from the cabinet meeting room, a political opponent or a savvy journalist will definitively explain Premier Horgan’s about-face on energy matters.