However, Treaty 8 Tribal Chief Liz Logan argues Hydro is ignoring input from stakeholders like First Nations.
“To be frank, we aren’t surprised by BC Hydro’s old school approach to what they call consultation, we have experienced it ourselves through the lack of consideration in the IRP process and the dismissive nature of discussions on Site C, a project we oppose,” she says in a release. “It has become strikingly obvious to us that the crown’s commitment to engaging First Nations and the public for that matter, is nothing more than window-dressing and in today’s age of expectations of transparency and inclusive planning processes, they have fallen far short of the mark.”
Among the issues Treaty 8 has found with the IRP are that it was not independently reviewed before being approved by the province, it does not acknowledge cumulative impacts on areas like the Peace Region, and that it does not provide for the capacity needed the projected energy surplus. Instead, Logan argues upgrading existing facilities, conservation, and shifting the load of industrial customers can provide the necessary capacity.
Also on Treaty 8’s list of concerns are a lack of comparison of rates to those of alternative energy and capacity options, and a “dismissal” of First Nations concerns.
“Given all British Columbians will be impacted financially, environmentally and socially by the choices presented in this plan, B.C. Hydro’s “trust us” approach should raise red flags for all ratepayers,” Logan adds. “The energy system of the future should represent the values of the public it serves and provide long-term opportunities and benefits to not only First Nations but also the communities that proposed projects will impact.”
Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan was accepted by the B.C. government on November 26.