Category: Site C

Unclean clean energy

In addition to the known mercury contamination of fisheries caused by hydroelectric developments, reservoirs increase emissions of methane and carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In some cases this increase, per unit of energy produced, may be significant compared to greenhouse gas emitted by fossil- fuelled electricity generation.

Site C: stupidity or corruption?

In psychiatry, the word “delusion” means a firm belief in what others know to be false. Despite evidence of massive physical and financial risks, Liberals decided to green light Site C. Not wanting to be labeled anti-development, and having its own friends to reward, BC NDP chose to carry on…

BC Hydro and the illusory truth effect

Misinformation is common in our world. Sometimes it involves benign self-protection or ego boosting. Other times, humans use deception to gain advantages. Businesses and governments do it every day, by simple shading of the truth, egregious deceit, or something in between. With cooperation and assistance from government, BC Hydro relies on the illusory truth effect…

Foundation of lies and misinformation supports the Horgan-Clark boondoggle

BC Hydro sought environmental approval for construction of Site C in 2011. In that year, global wind power capacity was 238 gigawatts. While construction of BC’s controversial hydropower project dragged on, worldwide capacity for wind power reached 837 GW in 2021. If Site C suffers no further delays in its scheduled 2025 startup, global wind capacity according to GWEC will then exceed 1.3 terawatts, more than five times the level in 2011…

Planning fallacy

John Horgan’s crew had a truckload of hard hats ready to go when they formed government in 2017 and the last thing they intended to do was alter the controversial Site C project, secret deals BC Hydro had with private power producers, LNG promotion, and science-free facilitation of fracked gas production. Going forward with the status quo would cost tens of billions of dollars in unneeded construction and fossil fuel subsidies. It would also exacerbate extreme events from climate change. But following BC Liberal policies would dull the Official Opposition and silence many right-wing critics. The Premier decided that was smart politics for his party…

A spendthrift public utility

There is much written here about BC Hydro and 17 years of flat demand for electricity by the utility’s residential, commercial and industrial customers. Despite that, in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021-22, the volume of BC Hydro’s purchases of private power from IPPs increased 21% over the same period the year before…

Explanations for BC Gov’t wasting billions of dollars

Kurzweil and others have argued that people find this pace of change almost impossible to grasp, because it is human nature to perceive rates of progress as linear, not exponential… People tend to focus on the past few years, but pulling back reveals a much more dramatic change. Many things that society now takes for granted would have seemed like futuristic nonsense just a few decades ago…

Survival of the unfittest… megaprojects

UC Berkeley scholar Karen Trapenberg Frick wrote of the 25 years it took for Californians to build a Bay bridge replacement. Dr. Frick said the project was “a cautionary tale to which any governing authority embarking on a megaproject should pay heed.” British Columbia’s highly paid bureaucrats and political leaders were not paying attention.

A valley will be destroyed

Valley of the Southern North is a love letter to The Peace Valley and the people and creatures that make it their home. The Site C dam, now under construction, will destroy ancestral territory of the Dane Zaa and Cree, violate treaties and displace residents, farmers and wildlife living along its shores.

For the public: no gain, much pain

In October 2014, BC energy minister Bill Bennett assured us the $7.9 billion Site C dam budget was final, fully reviewed by specialists and reliable because it included a contingency well above prudent amounts. Nothing left to chance, uncertainty or politics because the budget numbers were developed by the world’s top experts…

Deception and duplicity

While John Horgan’s government was almost doubling the Site C budget to C$16 billion, the Biden administration was getting ready to approve a C$3.4 billion wind project off the coast of Massachusetts. The per megawatt cost of the wind project is less than 30% of Site C’s capital cost per megawatt and it destroys no farmland, violates no Indigenous rights agreements, and presents no threats to nearby communities…

BC NDP arming opponents

Like BC Liberals before them, BC NDP is dishonest about BC Hydro operations and the Site C megaproject. Government joins BC Hydro and continues lying about demand growth. At the same time, they hide embarrassing information about the dam and its out of control budget. The Horgan path is inexplicable when pre-2017 NDP statements are reviewed. The explanation will be had some years from now when NDP opponents are denouncing the party’s competence. Liberals used BC Ferries as a hammer for 15+ years after the 1990s but the financial blunders at BC Hydro are much, much larger…

Fuel on a fire

I understand why people gaining direct financial rewards support the Peace River megaproject. But it is harder to explain why rational and, we hope, honest cabinet ministers stay attached to a hazardous hydropower project when less expensive, less damaging options are available. Perhaps the refusal to admit error is explained by Dr. Guy Winch, writing in Psychology Today…

Lesson to be learned

A Bloomberg Quicktake video, How Boeing Lost Its Way (embedded below) put me in mind of BC Hydro. Years ago, both companies were effective in delivering value for money to customers. Then attitudes changed. Growing bigger became more important than growing better…

BC Hydro quandary

Unrestrained capital spending and needed write-offs of valueless items will result in major rate increases. But that presents a critical problem. Alternatives for consumers are steadily getting easier and less costly. BC Hydro is entering the utility death spiral.

BC Hyjacked, provincial utility

In the early 2000s, Liberals changed BC Hydro’s primary purpose from utility service for the public to financial service for party friends and other special interests. BC NDP carries on much as before, except they slightly altered beneficiaries of the utility’s massive spending…