B.C. power producers press their case

Independent power producers, a climate scientist and an advocate for aboriginal development urged the B.C. government Wednesday to stick with B.C.'s plan to become self-sufficient in clean energy.

UVic climate scientist Andrew Weaver says B.C. is at risk of losing its leadership in greenhouse gas emission reduction

VICTORIA – Independent power producers, a climate scientist and an advocate for aboriginal development urged the B.C. government Wednesday to stick with B.C.’s plan to become self-sufficient in clean energy.

B.C.’s goal of eliminating power imports by 2016 was questioned by a panel of senior officials who reviewed BC Hydro operations this summer and recommended ways to slow rate increases. Power producers say this short-term cost cutting would push BC Hydro to import more electricity at spot market rates that BC Hydro itself is predicting to soar in the years to come. And they argue that the review panel used an “all-in estimated cost” for independent power that includes power line extensions and the cost of converting intermittent power to firm, long-term supply.

In an “apples to apples” comparison, independent producers match or beat the price of new power sources developed by BC Hydro, said Paul Kariya, executive director of the Clean Energy Association of B.C.

Judith Sayers, former chief the the Hupacasath First Nation on Vancouver Island, said small run-of-river development helped her community to learn business as well as gain a steady income and a clean electricity source. There are 125 B.C. aboriginal communities involved with clean energy projects, she said.

“It’s important to First Nations because we need to get involved in development that’s consistent with our values,” Sayers said.

Andrew Weaver, Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling at the University of Victoria, said the province is risking its leadership role in clean energy. It should be looking beyond self-sufficiency to what is really needed to meet the province’s goal of a one-third reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, which means innovations like widespread use of electric cars, he said.

BC Hydro uses a series of drought years from the 1940s as its “critical water” benchmark for self-sufficiency, but that measure is losing accuracy because of greenhouse gas accumulation, he said.

“What we expect to see is an increased likelihood of overall water, but it’s coming in the winter, in increasingly extreme events, with an increased likelihood of drought in the summer,” Weaver said.

Graham Horn, vice-president of Innergex Renewable Energy, said his company is considering making B.C. the base for its North and South American clean energy operations, based on its progressive policies.

Montreal-based Innergex operates the Ashlu Creek and Fitzsimmons Creek run-of-river projects near Whistler, and recently completed a group of projects at the north end of Harrison Lake.

NDP energy critic John Horgan said BC Hydro should not be paying to connect independent power projects to the grid, unless it is to help a remote community get off diesel generators. And it shouldn’t use its large dam capacity to shape intermittent power so private companies can benefit.

“A public utility is not supposed to improve the bottom line for shareholders, and that’s the fundamental flaw in the IPP policies of the B.C. Liberals,” Horgan said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

Abbotsford’s Ledgeview Golf and Country Club partners with Archway

Abbotsford 2016 BC Summer Games Legacy Fund helps support local junior golfers

Chilliwack basketball star Deanna Tuchscherer ready for Hungarian adventure

The UFV women’s basketball standout is going overseas to play pro basketball

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 20

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Vancouver Island family overwhelmed with 14 Lab puppies

Litter may be one of the biggest ever

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Neighbour’s quick actions save dogs and home in Chilliwack townhouse fire

Neighbour heard fire alarm and called 911 and rescued dogs from unit on fire

Most Read