“First of all,” said Dave Conway, Community Relations Manager for Site C, “we do integrated resource planning, or IRP, which is a 20-year look out in regards to BC Hydro’s energy capacity and needs. We look at all the commercially available sources of electricity – including things like solar, wind, biomass and natural gas – and we file an IRP with the government.”
The IRP that BC Hydro filed, was independently reviewed in 2014 by the Joint Review Panel. The Panel concluded that Site C could deliver energy at a considerably lower cost than any of the other options. Site C is a source of clean, renewable energy, said Conway, and although electricity is not emissions free, it has lower Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions per GW hour than most other options. The Joint Review Panel also concluded that Site C would be the least expensive of all the other options.
“When you look at the cost analysis for the project, from the IRP,” said Conway, “that analysis has been independently reviewed by KPMG and a third-party reviewer, Synapse Energy Economics, and Synapse concluded that our alternative analysis, methodology and tools were consistent with good utility practices.”
“We have very strong confidence that our modelling is appropriate.”
Conway said that BC Hydro’s analysis shows that a delay of the project for two years would result in a higher cost to rate payers, not a savings as the PVLA claimed.
If Hydro delayed the project for two years, it would have to go looking for energy to meet the needs in 2023, instead of providing it from Site C. “Can you get it at the time that you need it?” asked Conway. The price of purchasing the electricity could be much more expensive by then also.
Other costs associated with a delay in construction include inflation, interest rates, and disruption costs for work that has already started being stopped and started again. All of these things, said Conway, would likely be passed on to the rate payers.
Finally, Conway said, the current economic conditions are ideal for building such a big project. Low interest rates, a slow-down in a number of industrial sectors, and there are workers available.
“Who knows what the situation would be two years from now.”