BC Hydro

Power alternatives

Iberdrola began construction of a 590 MW solar park in southern Spain in 2019. The project delivered power in 2022. Cost per megawatt of capacity was about C$740,000.

In the northern Spanish province of Burgos alone, Iberdrola has built or is developing more than 550 megawatts between seven wind farms. 

Together, these wind and solar projects have equal capacity to BC Hydro’s Site C project but at 1/10 or less the cost and 1/5 the construction timetable, without risk of being inoperable because of unstable foundations.

Having refused to install lower cost alternative power generating facilities, BC Hydro began construction of the 1,100 MW hydro dam known as Site C in 2015. The project may produce electricity by 2026. Cost per megawatt of capacity is about $15,500,000, although that number, which is almost double the original budget, has not been updated for two years and it excludes the hidden cost of submerging almost 25,000 acres of lands that include the best farmlands in northern BC.

This province’s public utility is now admitting that significant rate increases are coming because of Site C.

When the new Site C dam begins generating power in 2025, it will produce a major surplus of power that, without a significant increase in domestic sales, would require an initial 10% to 12% increase to power bills, according to BC Hydro’s recent rate requests to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC).

Vancouver is Awesome

Whatever happened to the “40 percent growth over 20 years” that BC Hydro had promised throughout a decade and a half of flat demand?


Categories: BC Hydro, Site C

6 replies »

  1. How much has the province benefitted from new roads and bridges in the area of Site C, and from the income taxes paid by the workers over the years of construction? If the work on the dam was stopped tomorrow and abandoned, so no further costs to the province, could the new infrastructure of roads, etc be useful in creating a thriving agricultural community with ways to move goods to the north and south as Californis is not going to be able to continue supplying Canada with food, and the farmers in the Fraser Valley are re-considering rebuilding ina floodplai? The Peace Valley could become the breadbasket for more than BC.

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    • How much has the province benefitted from the income taxes paid by the workers?

      Well, if 3,000 people earned $100,000 annually and were each employed for 10 years, provincial tax collections would be between $150 million and $175 million, or roughly 1% of what is being spent on Site C.

      It would take a real commitment of governments to maximize agricultural output in the area but no doubt there would be many people interested in the opportunity. Young prospective farmers are eliminated by the capital needed to take over or begin an agricultural operation today. For years, BC Hydro was buying up land in the region to be flooded to inhibit agricultural uses and so they could say there was little farming being done in the region.

      An article published in the journal Nature reflect the wisdom of protecting northern farmlands:

      A projected consequence of climate change is the decrease of farmland and crop production in established agricultural regions due to more irregular and extreme weather throughout the cropping season. Climate change is highly likely to result in an elevated temperature, which is above the stress thresholds for many crops, especially at night. However, northward shift of warmer climate might create an opportunity for a re-evaluation of the currently unexploited areas in the boreal region as to their suitability for agriculture…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hydro says 10 – 12% initially, I wonder what the Crown Corporation is saying about the longer term rate increases. Hydro has annual income of around 7 Billion per year. Interest for this one dam is likely to be a billion dollars a year. If interest rates don’t go up more. If Hydro tries to low ball the returns in the early years, the cost every year for ratepayers will be higher as time goes by.

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  3. The dam dam is just too expensive. You and others have been informing the public of this almost from the get go.

    Flooding all that land is not a good thing. We loose the farm land. with climate change having a real impact on our lives, it just might be really important to produce more of our own food. Yes, you can grow it in the north with green houses, year round.

    I have always thought the dam was not built for electricity but for the water, which can be sold to California. Now of course that will be a problem because the free trade agreements stipulate once the tap is turned on, we can not turn it off, even if we need the water. At some point some government in office is going to start selling the water to pay down the debt for the dam.

    As interest rates rise, this dam dam is going to become more expensive every year. When interest rates were high back in the 70s and 80s I signed a $3 million mortgage for our co-op at 19 1/2%. It was the best deal we could get. that works out to interest payments at around $50K a month, I’ve not gotten over it yet. Now the cost of the dam and that sort of interest rate, we’ll be looking at putting solar panels on our homes, it will be cheaper.

    I’m not keen on the wind turbines. But solar power, yes, think its great and effective. If it was mandated all new builds had them we’d be way further ahead. A lot of people are going to be very happy they kept their old wood burning fire places once the impact of the increased rates hit.

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