Site C, which was approved without a proper review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, is going to cost $8.8 billion we don’t have to produce electricity we can’t use, to power LNG plants that won’t exist, at a cost too expensive to sell to foreign markets…
An item previously published at In-Sights 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 […]
A brisk building boom of hydropower mega-dams is underway from China to Brazil. Whether benefits of new dams will outweigh costs remains unresolved despite contentious debates. …We find overwhelming evidence that budgets are systematically biased below actual costs of large hydropower dams — excluding inflation, substantial debt servicing, environmental, and social costs. …The outside view suggests that in most countries large hydropower dams will be too costly in absolute terms and take too long to build to deliver a positive risk-adjusted return
We know the Premier vowed to get Site C dam past the “point of no return” before the May 2017 provincial election. Clark’s Liberals have their own reasons for Site C haste and these eventually will be revealed, perhaps by a postmortem report of an inquiry into the economic destruction of BC Hydro. However, we do know that incautiously pushing a project forward can be costly. Unfortunately, the cost of error will fall not on decision makers but on taxpayers not wealthy enough to hide their income elsewhere.
A guest post from Roger Bryenton P.Eng. (former), MBA, Energy Systems Consultant, Suzuki and SPEC elder.
BC residents have not been told the full truths about Site C and BC Hydro’s markets for electricity.
Are there secret reasons why Liberals committed billions of dollars for Site C to produce power that BC consumers won’t need, even in the distant future? Have we had hints of why there is a rush toward what Premier Clark called the point of no return and what others called a route to nowhere? Do those reasons have anything to do with the rewarding habits of prime Site C contractors?
“Conservation is the cleanest, easiest and least expensive way to meet the increasing demand for electricity in B.C. – it’s like building a virtual dam.” – Bob Elton, BC Hydro President and […]
…In broader terms, Holm emphasized, “The land to be flooded by Site C is capable of producing high-yielding fresh fruits and vegetables for over a million people.”
…Much like the Liberal Government did to the BC Utilities Commission – barring the public’s independent energy watchdog from reviewing the economics and need for Site C – it has also stripped the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) of its lawful oversight of the biggest potential land removal in its history.
…Beneath the 15,000-page reports, the political shenanigans with the review process, and all the rhetoric about economic development lies a simple truth: Last year, BC generated about 110% as much electricity as it needed, but produced, at most, 48% of the food it consumed. In other words, while we have plenty of electricity to power our homes and businesses well into the future, the same thing cannot be said about our food security…
I’ve been reviewing more than 20 years of BC Hydro records and they show gradual growth in electrical demand until 2005. Subsequently, there has been no demand growth; in 2015, domestic power sales were lower than ten years before. What did grow were Hydro’s purchases of electricity from independent power producers. In calendar year 2006, 5,636 GWh supplied by IPPs cost $368 million (6.5¢/KWh); in 2015, 14,418 GWh cost Hydro $1,217 million (8.4¢/KWh).
A 155% increase in the volume of IPP purchases is alarming by itself given the lack of need for it but the average unit price has been rising steadily. In the 4th quarter of 2015, IPP unit prices were 9.2% higher than the preceding quarter. To accommodate power coming into the system, BC Hydro had to choose between shutting down their own capacity or dumping power in markets outside BC at well below cost…
What’s really wrong is that BC Hydro has been spending billions on new capacity but producing less power. Demand has not grown since 2005 but purchases from IPPs, between FY 2005 and FY 2015, rose 108% from 6,444 GWh to 13,377. The purchasing is up again in 2016, by about 11%. The cost of IPP power was almost $500 million more in FY 2015 than in 2013.
When you’re determined to reward IPP friends but have too much power and no profitable export markets, you shut down your own low-cost operations…
“Water is the driving force of all nature” — Leonardo da Vinci Why Site C must be stopped, Wendy Holm [Consulting Agrologist], Special to the Vancouver Sun, July 28, 2014 …in the […]
In 1996, BC Hydro was a company with total assets of $12.1 billion, delivering 42,834 GWh of electricity to BC’s residential, commercial and industrial users. Ten years later, BC Hydro had total […]
BC Hydro has been announcing profits each year and that enables it to pay a dividend to the province, although it has to borrow the money to make the transfer. I argue […]
The eyes of British Columbians should be on BC Hydro’s Site C project. It is a hydro facility not needed in a province that has had a decade of flat domestic demand […]
Site C Is a Climate-Change Disaster, Says Suzuki, Mychaylo Prystupa, The Tyee, February 23, 2016: Flooding valuable farmland to build the Site C dam undermines Canada’s commitment to meet international climate-change targets, […]