Locking BC Hydro into decades-long contracts (as much as 60 years) was a colossal mistake that ignored the likelihood of technological change. The cost of utility scale solar and wind power has dropped dramatically in recent years. As a result, BC Hydro will be paying tens of billions of dollars extra to private producers enjoying inflation protected prices far higher than alternative options.
The decision to proceed on any run-of-river project should be made after the most stringent environmental assessments and cumulative impact studies that are possible, as well as an assessment of where there may be lower environmental footprint alternatives for producing power. All of the most stringent environmental assessment and forest practice standards that exist should be applied to any clearing of forested land connected with any activity, including run-of-river power projects.
In the three months ended December 31, 2015, BC Hydro BOUGHT 3,719 GWh from private electricity producers at an average price of $91,422 per GWh (total $340 million). In the same quarter, BC Hydro SOLD 3,493 GWh to heavy industry at an average price of $54,394 per GWh (total $190 million). Liberals claim themselves to be wise managers of public finances.
British Columbia’s government believes less in free enterprise than in assisted activities for approved associates. Entrepreneurs saw potential for a private power generation industry in the province but didn’t want to risk their own money. Instead, they arranged with the Liberal government for the public to accept all risks and guarantee substantial profits to the schemers…
…Although the American power market had been manipulated by Enron and other criminal fixers, Gordon Campbell and his colleagues believed that British Columbia could become a permanent power supplier to the western USA. Liberals wanted the electricity to be created by private operators, but it was soon clear that private entrepreneurs were not prepared to take significant financial risks.
The provincial government was determined to proceed so it decided that BC Hydro would sign long-term contracts to purchase power produced by independents at prices that made projects attractive to investors. This effectively transferred all business risks from private operators to the public. While dumb, it’s a fairly common occurrence today when governments are keen to be seen as business-friendly.
Compounding the situation was the Liberals’ misjudgment of future markets because they didn’t anticipate improved technologies and growing availability and affordability of alternative power. Consumption efficiencies, declining heavy industries and falling costs of solar and wind permanently changed the energy industries…
Large Dams Cost Twice Original Budget, Researchers Say, Bloomberg Business, March 11, 2014: Large dams run 96 percent over budget on average, according to a University of Oxford study based on projects […]
An item first published in January 2015: January 2, an unidentified caller chatted with CKNW Legislative reporter and talkshow host Sean Leslie, the spouse of a BC Liberal Government Communications Director, appointed […]
Site C Dam: Food for Thought from Peace Valley Environment Assoc. on Vimeo. Produced by Damien Gillis of The Common Sense Canadian.
By numerous measures — lower job and GDP creation, fewer public services and rapid expansion of public debt — BC Liberals are colossal failures. Most BC residents are unaware because the major […]
In 2009, the Vancouver Sun reported that BC Liberals intended to build “an electricity export industry unparalleled in B.C.’s 30-year history of power sales to the U.S.” Gordon Campbell was telling Americans, […]
Make your submissions directly to Garry Alexander, Executive Project Director, Environmental Assessment Office, since they don’t seem to have reopened the project to public comments although they’ve provided additional time for the […]
From BC Hydro’s quarterly report for the period ended September 30, 2012: “As a result of the high inflows, the Company sold a significant volume of surplus energy in the six months […]
Please read through the following article. It’s lengthy but the Environmental Review is the last chance to stop a large, potentially destructive project about 50 miles from Vancouver. It should not proceed. […]
I’ve been examining audited financial statements of two favourite public enterprises: BC Hydro and PAVCO. I completed preliminary examination but a paucity of meaningful data makes that a difficult task for an […]
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