Does the Site C dam make economic sense for BC?

You can read it here. In short, the submission discussses how the economic case for Site C assumes that industrial demand for electricity—in particular for natural gas extraction and processing—will grow significantly.

However, as Marc noted when Petronas decided to stand down on its Pacific Northwest projectliquefied natural gas LNG projects are based on some pretty abysmal economics, and most are unlikely to materialize. BC Hydro has consistently overestimated future electricity demand—and, as my submission shows, they substantially ramped up their projections while decisions about the Site C dam were being made.

Even in the absence of Site CBC Hydro will have an electricity surplus until at least the early s. This surplus could be extended much further in time if more aggressive conservation measures are taken and if fossil fuel sectors and their electricity demand are steadily wound down in a manner consistent with climate action.

Does the Site C dam make economic sense for BC? BC Office.It will provide 1, megawatts MW of capacity, and produce about 5, gigawatt hours GWh of electricity each year — enough energy to power the equivalent of abouthomes per year in B. As the third project on one river system, Site C will gain significant efficiencies by taking advantage of water already stored in the Williston Reservoir.

This means that Site C will generate approximately 35 per cent of the energy produced at W.

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Bennett Dam, with only five per cent of the reservoir area. In Decemberthe Site C project received approval from the provincial government to proceed to construction. This decision followed a rigorous and independent environmental assessment by the federal and provincial governments, which included a Joint Review Panel process. The conclusion of the three-year environmental review was that the effects of the Site C project are justified by the long-term benefits it will provide.

Construction of the project started in summer The generators will be on line in and the project will be completed in Once built, Site C will be a source of clean, reliable and affordable electricity in B. Skip to main content. Site C Clean Energy Project.The subject who is truly loyal to the Chief Magistrate will neither advise nor submit to arbitrary measures.

This article was published more than 5 years ago. Some information in it may no longer be current. Building dams in B. Governments did not need to worry about constitutional challenges to their authority.

BC Hydro’s Site C dam report months overdue, fuelling concerns about more cost overruns

Or spend years trying to broker deals that would make those affected by the project happy. The world of mega-project-building in the province has changed, of course. The final outcome could be precedent-setting and force a complete re-thinking of the future of large-scale projects. This is all to say that while the dam has been given a green-light by government, it is still a long way from being built.

Legal challenges from First Nations communities and other stakeholder groups have already commenced. It is not inconceivable this dispute could end up in the Supreme Court of Canada and produce a legal decision that gives aboriginal groups even more land-use powers than they already have.

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The legal costs will be astronomical. The government's case for pressing ahead is not without its problems. There are legitimate questions about the present need for the electricity that would be generated.

Also, the government refused to allow the B. Utilities Commission to vet the project, possibly out of concern the scrutiny might reveal disturbing information about the true costs. Two years later, it was double that. Not a chance. That does not mean there still is not an economic case to be made for the dam, just that the cost estimate has not been tested by an independent authority. That is an issue.They are building the Site C dam even though it is apparent that we do not need the power.

The consequences will include lost jobs, higher electricity rates and long-term damage to BC Hydro and provincial finances. Could this ever make any sense? Looking back at the justification for Site C at that time, we see a familiar argument. InBC Hydro presented a year forecast for electricity demand that was exaggerated and, we know now, massively in error. BC Hydro argued that we needed Site C, in addition to the then under-construction Revelstoke Dam, to meet that growing demand.

It was wrong.

does the site c dam make economic sense for bc?

Had it not been for that BCUC review, BC Hydro, its owners that's us and its ratepayers that's us as well would have lost their shirts. In fact, it would have undermined the very foundations of BC Hydro and the government's finances. The independent utilities commission review rejected BC Hydro's exaggerated load forecast and the Site C project along with it.

does the site c dam make economic sense for bc?

In announcing the project, Clark and BC Hydro justified the action by predicting an increase in domestic demand of 40 per cent over the next 20 years. However, just as inBC Hydro's forecast is proving to be fundamentally wrong. Over the past 10 years, energy demand has been flat, even dropping slightly from to this year.

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And since the energy-demand forecast the government used to justify Site C, domestic demand has cratered. In response to my questioning in this year's budget debate, Energy Minister Bill Bennett confirmed that domestic demand has dropped.

does the site c dam make economic sense for bc?

Domestic demand is forecast to be 2, gigawatt hours below BC Hydro's projections this year. That's equal to more than 40 per cent of the 5, gigawatt hours of electricity to be produced by Site C. Instead of going up, demand is going down. The reasons for this are numerous — low economic growth, the decline of our energy-consuming pulp and paper and forestry sector, increasing industry energy efficiency, high electricity rates that depress demand, and a small but growing number of consumers who are going "behind the meter" with alternative energy sources.

The latter trend is likely to continue to grow in B. Even BC Hydro and the Liberal government are being forced to acknowledge the problem of falling energy demand as they continue to pump massive amounts of cash into their Site C project.

The reality of demand is so bad for their argument supporting Site C that they have again delayed the scheduled update to their Integrated Resource Plan, BC Hydro's long-term strategy document. BC Hydro is also proposing new transmission lines in a desperate search for customers, including a new line to allow electricity sales in Alberta.

Site C has become a project in search of a market, a caravan in search of an oasis. Clark's desperation to justify the project going into an election does not bode well for taxpayers, or BC Hydro ratepayers.

Here is what makes the desperate search for export markets such a bad idea. BC Hydro has three rates for its domestic customers — one for residential customers, one for commercial customers and another rate for industry customers. These rates have gone up significantly in recent years, so much so that our struggling mining industry has sought and received a deferral of BC Hydro payments.

The export price of electricity is currently less than half the domestic price. So Site C power sold to other markets is worth less than half of what it would bring in domestically.

And ratepayers would make up the difference — yet another huge rate shock for BC Hydro customers. Moreover, the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind is going down because of technological and manufacturing advances. There has been massive deflation in the cost of generating electricity.John see Figures 1—3. Upon completion, this dam would produce 1, MW megawatts, i. According to BC Hydro, this is enough electricity to power abouthomes.

Figure 1: Location of the proposed Site C dam. Figure 2: Panoramic view of the eastern end of the Peace River valley that will be flooded with the construction of the Site C dam. The proposed dam would be constructed just east of the Peace River junction with the Moberly River seen the centre of the photo.

The price tag for the construction of the Site C dam was estimated in to be 7. Assuming a real discount rate accounting for inflation of between 5. At present, BC Hydro residential customers are charged 6. Currently only about 1. And this despite the fact that all costs including land acquisition costs incurred to date by BC Hydro with respect to the Site C project are not counted in their estimate for future construction costs.

The potential scalability of Site C is minimal; the potential scalability of wind energy is very large. Table 1: Percentage of electricity supply provided by wind for a number of jurisdictions. The minimal production of wind power in British Columbia compared to other jurisdictions Table 1 is particularly surprising in light of the fact that BC is the home of a number of existing large-scale hydro projects.

These include, but are not limited to, the W. Hydro reservoirs are ideally suited for coupling with wind power generation to stabilize base-load supply. That is, when the wind is not blowing, hydro is used; when the wind is blowing, the reservoirs refill and hydropower is not used. In fact, hydro dams act just like rechargeable batteries with wind providing the renewable recharge to the battery system. And British Columbia is one of the few places in the world that can take advantage of such reservoirs as wind power is introduced into the grid.

Given that wind power can easily be introduced into British Columbia at the same, or even lower, price than equivalent power from the Site C dam, we should ask if there are any other reasons that would favour Site C over wind for the production of power to meet BC energy needs.

I can think of none. In fact, I can think of a number of reasons why wind power should be considered over Site C to produce the equivalent 5, GWh per year of electrical power:. To summarize, it is clear to me that the development of the Site C project makes little sense. For the same, or even lower cost, we could develop a similar capacity for wind-power in British Columbia.

And the co-benefits of choosing wind power over the Site C project are profound. Wind power instead of the Site C dam both makes sense and cents. Andrew is on track with less invasive clean energy options. Wind and Wave power does not harm the environment around them and they can likely be built much faster that the huge invasive Hydro Dam.

does the site c dam make economic sense for bc?

Your argument for wind is clear. The conservation potential is far from being utilized. And we need to at least, inventory our tidal potential. On the clean energy economic opportunity for Indigenous communities in BC. Effective today, BC businesses can now incorporate as Benefit Companies.

The Potential for Wind Power Currently only about 1. Kirsten Mawle .John in northeastern British ColumbiaCanada. It is located approximately 80 kilometres downstream from the W. Bennett Dam. When completed inthe Site C Dam will become the 4th largest producer of hydroelectricity in British Columbia with an installed capacity of MW and an expected annual output of 5, GWh of electricity. The project has drawn considerable opposition from several quarters due to its planned flooding of agricultural land, damage to the local environment, high construction cost, possible alternatives, and the uncertainty of future electricity prices and demand in the province.

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Two Treaty 8 First Nationsand local landowners have made legal challenges to the dam, though these were dismissed by the federal Court of Appeal.

When completed, Site C will be the third of four major dams on the Peace River that were initially proposed in the mid-twentieth century. The first project was the flagship W. Bennett Dam 19 kilometres west of Hudson's Hope. Bennett dam. The fourth proposed dam on the British Columbia segment of the Peace River, Site E, near the BC—Alberta border, was removed from the planning process during hearings in As of these annual purchases are about four times the capacity of Site C.

Once the initial contracts with BC Hydro expire, these independent producers may be free to export their electricity. To avoid duplication, the governments of Canada and British Columbia set up a cooperative federal-provincial environmental assessment, including a joint review panel JRP process. A notice of Site C construction commencing in was issued in July BC Premier Christy Clark 's stated intention was to get dam construction "to the point of no return" by the time of a scheduled general election in May The newly elected government requested the BC Utilities Commission review.

The project has sparked controversy for a number of reasons: First Nations treaty rights are at issue, [17] the dam is thought by many to be economically unviable, and there are concerns about the loss of agriculturally productive land and the overall environmental impact.

Power consumption has not been increasing despite increasing population. Site C is planned to have Members of the Treaty 8 First Nations boycotted the official Site C announcement ceremony at the Bennett Dam in April[17] and the West Moberly First Nation publicly stated that it was considering legal action to oppose the dam.

The landowners' case states that the Provincial government ignored concerns about the project raised by the Joint Review Panel, including its cost, failure to demonstrate the need for the project, and lack of evaluation of alternatives. As of Decemberfive judicial reviews of Site C's environmental approvals have been dismissed.

Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Appealas well as a pair of challenges against the project's federal and provincial environmental approvals from the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations.

On 23 Januarythe sixth legal challenge was dismissed, involving Treaty 8 First Nations, which was in the federal court. In May, a group of over Canadian scholars signed a letter raising serious concerns about the process used to approve the Site C dam. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna 's office indicated that the government had no intention to revisit the Site C environmental assessment.

Hydro critic Adrian Dix called the B. Liberal government "reckless" for not having already done the review, as was recommended by the federal-provincial Joint Review Panel led by Harry Swain.

To assist the government in its decision-making, the BCUC included in the Final Report some sensitivity analyses to show how the cost estimates would change if different assumptions were applied.

Annual flooding has deposited rich sediments along the low bank portions of the Peace River. The creation of the Williston Lake reservoir has improved agricultural use on the former floodplain. Sincethe annual spring flood measured at Hudson's Hope has been reduced by two-thirds, along with a reduction in ice jams and ice scouring above the riverbank. Of the land to be flooded, there are 2, hectares 6, acres of Class 2 ALR land within the project activity zone.

Professional agrologist Wendy Holm, past president of the B. Institute of Agrologists, noted that flooding agricultural land in the Peace River valley is a bad idea, because it is "the only large tract of land for future horticultural expansion in the province.In an exclusive interview, former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen says ratepayers will face a "devastating" increase in their electricity bills if the Site C dam is built and emphasizes there is no rush to build new sources of power generation in B.

There's no immediate need for Site C or any other alternative energy," he said.

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Eliesen's comment about the lack of immediate need for the power echoes statements made by Harry Swain, the chair of the panel that reviewed the Site C hydro dam for the provincial and federal governments. The hydro dam, which would impact 13, hectares of agricultural landhas been proposed for the Peace River for three decades.

In latethe provincial and federal governments approved the project and this July construction permits were issued despite pending court challenges by First Nations. Eliesen, an economist by training, has also served as chairman and CEO of Ontario Hydro, chairman of Manitoba Hydro and has held senior roles with the federal government and the governments of Ontario and Manitoba.

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In November, Eliesen called the National Energy Board's review process for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline "fraudulent" and a "public deception" as he dropped out of the process. Eliesen said there is no rush to build new generating capacity in B. The alternatives include everything from geothermal to BC Hydro's Burrard Thermal plant -- due to be decommissioned in -- to the 1, megawatts of electricity B.

Not considering using the Columbia River power to meet B. Eliesen also critiqued BC Hydro for adopting a price structure that results in everyday British Columbians subsidizing heavy power users. They're all subsidized by other hydro ratepayers.

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Those heavy power users do not pay the true cost," Eliesen said. The B. Utilities Commission used to review the cost of service, but that doesn't take place any more, Eliesen said. I think the result has been quite devastating.

Utilities Commission, despite calls from its own expert panel to refer the project for an independent review of costs and need. The province's failure to consider the panel's recommendations has since become the basis for the Peace Valley Landowners Association court challenge against the Site C dam.

Eliesen noted other jurisdictions are conducting much more thorough analyses of hydro projects, noting two projects in Manitoba he recently advised on. Inwhen Eliesen was the president and CEO of BC Hydro, he issued a public statement on behalf of the board stating that Site C would never be built because of its significant negative environmental, economic and social impacts.

That position quietly went by the wayside when the Gordon Campbell government was elected, Eliesen said, noting that electricity costs have increased at a far quicker rates than other jurisdictions since then. Eliesen says the costs of Site C haven't been adequately reviewed and there are "too many conflicting interests in BC Hydro for it to undertake its own due diligence on this matter.

Calls for a moratorium on construction on Site C have gained strength recently with the Greater Vancouver Regional District and Peace River Regional District both calling on Premier Christy Clark to pause the project while active court cases are completed. On July 23, the B. Government and Service Employees' Union announced its opposition to the Site C dam due to its violation of indigenous rights and the massive loss of habitat and agricultural lands.

Despite the growing calls for a moratorium, the B. Get the top stories emailed every day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Privacy Policy. Follow us. Terms Privacy Policy. MORE: B.