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Allied Hydro Council of B.C. says BCUC’s Site C report is flawed

Site C workers curing roller-compacted concrete at the stilling basin on the south bank in September 2017. Photo by BC Hydro
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NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — The Allied Hydro Council of B.C. has commissioned a report by former Columbia Power Corporation CEO Lorne Sivertson, who said that the BC Utilities Commission’s final report on BC Hydro’s Site C dam is fundamentally flawed and that the provincial government should move ahead with the project.

In his analysis, Sivertson says that the BCUC effectively ignored the up to $3 billion in “sunk costs” of Site C, which have resulted in serious errors to the Site C Inquiry Final Report.

“That ‘sunk costs’ don’t simply disappear as the BCUC wrongly says – it is a significant investment in Site C that must be considered when the BC government makes its decision on the project,” said Sivertson, who formerly served as assistant deputy minister of energy and finance.

The “sunk cost” is far from the only error found in the Sivertson and Associates Report that was commissioned by the Allied Hydro Council of BC. Sivertson also said that:

  • BC Hydro’s load growth estimate of future electricity needs is reasonable – and that if demand grows by just 1% per year from 2017 through 2036 – the equivalent of three Site C dams will be needed; and also in order to meet BC and Canadian greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments;
  • If the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow as rapidly as recent statistics show, even BC Hydro’s growth forecast will be low;
  • The BCUC claim that alternative energy sources will have similar benefits and cost the same or less than Site C is not realistic. Alternative supplies are unreliable, particularly given there are no commercial solar power or geothermal power facilities in BC;
  • The BCUC is wrong in saying that any surplus Site C power could not be exported to Alberta or the United States for a profit;
  • The Columbia River Treaty Downstream Benefits cannot be considered as a reliable alternative to Site C as they are subject to complex international negotiations and can be revoked on notice;
  • Project labour agreements as used successfully by BC Premier W.A.C. Bennett on the BC Hydro Heritage Dams and all major dam construction since would greatly assist BC Hydro in completing Site C on schedule;
  • While First Nations and environmental concerns are legitimate and should be further addressed to gain support, no Canadian law or Supreme Court decision gives First Nations a veto over resource projects; and that BC Hydro has undertaken exhaustive environmental permitting and First Nations consultations;
  • Contrary to opponents’ claims, BC Hydro’s growth projections are not dependent on the development of a liquefied natural gas industry, nor is Site C power predicated on the needs of an LNG industry.

Allied Hydro Council of B.C. Business Representative Wayne Peppard says that Sivertson’s report is an essential analysis for government to consider as it makes a landmark decision by the end of the year that will have repercussions for decades to come.

“It is critical that the BC government consider all the relevant information about Site C before deciding – not to simply accept what are clearly fundamental errors made by the BC Utilities Commission in its final report,” said Peppard.

The Sivertson and Associates Response to the BCUC Final Report is available online at www.bcbuildingtrades.org.

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