The report counters the findings of Site C’s Joint Review Panel, which claims a newly constructed dam is the best and cheapest alternative for new energy.
With that in mind, the Sun’s report notes the alternatives presented, including hydro, wind farm and wood waste-burning energy proposals, are all under increasingly high scrutiny for the high price of power under their contracts with B.C. Hydro.
Executive Director of Clean Energy B.C., Paul Kariya says the organization isn’t looking to “go after Site C”, but rather looking to “put our best foot forward” in finding a competitive alternative to the 1,100 megawatt dam, expected to distribute 5,100 gigawatt-hour of electricity per year.
Energy and Mines Minister, Bill Bennett has gone on record saying he wants to give the private-power sector an opportunity to present alternatives to Site C, and says he’s not completely set on constructing the proposed dam.
“The opposition aren’t going to believe this, but I don’t have any deep, burning desire to build Site C,” the Sun quotes Bennett as saying. “I only want to build Site C if it makes the most sense for the people of our province.”
The provincial/federal joint review panel had found that the province will eventually need new electricity, but also concluded “the proponent has not fully demonstrated the need for the project on the timetable set forth.”
Kariya has proposed further alternatives, like buying it from on the spot markets, or building natural-gas-fired electric plants.
The Sun also makes note of London Economics, a consulting firm responsible for searching through B.C. Hydro’s database of new electricity sources and coming up with a parallel amount of generating capacity to deliver a similar amount of electricity.
Under one scenario, London Economics found a method of delivering electricity at $74.00 per megawatt hour compared to Site C’s estimate of $83.00 per megawatt hour. Under another scenario, they found an alternative of $85.00 compared to Site C’s $92.00 an hour.
London Economics’ author also notes how Site C is a “significant potential addition” that would “crowd out” potential sources that may be a better fit to B.C.’s electricity needs.
The organization plans to have a final report complete for Clean Energy B.C.’s annual convention in mid-October.
However, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office is obligated to submit a final report on Site C to Environment Minister Mary Polak and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson in early October.
The federal government must also sign off on an environmental approval.
You can read the Vancouver Sun’s full report here.
With files from the Vancouver Sun