CORRECTED: BC Hydro says scrapping Site C will cost $3 billion

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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that it would cost BC Hydro $7.3 billion to cancel the Site C project. That cost, according to Hydro’s submission to the BCUC, also included the costs to ratepayers of acquiring alternative generating capacity and resources. The cost, according to BC Hydro’s submission, is actually roughly $3 billion.

VANCOUVER, B.C. — BC Hydro’s submission to the B.C. Utilities Commission’s inquiry into the Site C project today finally put a cost on scrapping construction of the 1,100-megawatt dam, saying that cancelling construction and acquiring new resources will cost a total of $7.3 billion, while just scrapping the dam will cost $3 billion.

Hydro explained that currently, it has spent $1.6 billion directly on building Site C, plus another $600 million in costs incurred prior to the province’s Final Investment Decision in 2014. When it comes to cancelling the project’s contracts, BC Hydro would not pay any cancellation fees, though they would incur the costs of contractors demobilizing from the construction site. Those costs would total roughly $300 million. The cost of remediating the construction site to adhere to permit requirements is approximately $700 million.

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In total, the cost of building Site C up until now, cancelling the project and remediating the site would total roughly $3 billion. That cost is based on the decision to cancel Site C occurring on December 31st of this year.

In the Executive Summary of its 866-page submission to the BCUC, BC Hydro said that the best option for ratepayers is to complete Site C by 2024 as currently planned. Hydro said that terminating the project, remediating the site, and acquiring alternative generating capacity at present costs would total $7.3 billion.

If Site C were to be mothballed and built at the later date Hydro said that, including the cost of acquiring alternative resources in the interim, it would cost the province $12.9 billion. Putting the project on hold until 2024 would cost a total of $1.2 billion to maintain the suit’s suitability for the resumption of construction activity. However, Hydro said in its submission that the project would likely be terminated if it were put on hold for any period of time.

When it comes to putting Site C on hold, Hydro stated that it believes the cost to suspend construction until 2024 is $1.2 billion. In addition, it said that ramping down and ramping up construction in the event of putting Site C on hold would both take approximately two years.

BC Hydro also said in its submission that it expects Site C to be completed both on-time and on-budget, with a total cost of $8.335 billion. The Crown Corporation also stated that it does not expect to have to dip into the project’s $440 million reserve fund.

BC Hydro’s entire submission to the BCUC can be found here.

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