It noted B.C. Hydro, and by extension, the provincial government, earned a significant rebuke over the cost estimates last spring from the Joint Environmental Review Panel.
“The panel cannot conclude on the likely accuracy of project cost estimates,” the panel is quoted as saying. “…If it is decided that the project should proceed, a first step should be the referral of project costs, and hence unit energy costs and revenue requirements, to the B.C. Utilities Commission for detailed examination.”
However, impatient to get on with the project it has already promised to build, the province refused to submit to an independent regulator hearing.
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said instead, it would rely on a report from the accounting firm KPMG, which did not impress the panel.
Noting the KPMG review was based on numbers produced by Hydro four years ago, the panel concluded a case had not made for Site C.
It did find however, that the province will need more power, and the Site-C dam appears to be the most economical solution with the smallest output of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Even if the certificates are granted, the final decision on the project still rests with the provincial cabinet, and it’s expected make its final investment decision, next month.
Meantime, Mr. Bennett says the accounting firm has been asked by Hydro to double-check its math, but the Globe story notes, with that report also due in November, it essentially leaves no time for second-guessing.
With files from The Globe and Mail