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.

Just Posted

Trial dates set for three men accused of 2017 killing near Hope

Lawyers for the accused appeared in Kelowna at B.C. Supreme Court on Monday

Abbotsford council OKs bus-to-SkyTrain plan

Fraser Valley Express would begin running to Lougheed Station by start of 2021

Wildfire threatens weekend campers at Chehalis Lake

The fire started on the north side of Chehalis Lake Saturday

Chilliwack car show cancelled due to weather forecast

Popular Village Classic car show will not be rescheduled, say organizers

Agassiz author pens a kingly book

Long-time writer and producer Alexander Hamilton-Brown just finished his first novel

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Four-year-old boy assaulted at B.C. soccer game

It happened at a weekend tournament in Ashcroft

Top B.C. court upholds ruling that struck down indefinite solitary confinement

Feds had appealed ruling in case brought by B.C. Civil Liberties Association, John Howard Society

Two bear cubs saved near Revelstoke after mother hit by car

Conservation officers trapped the cubs and transported them to a wildlife sanctuary

Heroism medal for B.C. woman who tried to save wheelchair-bound man stuck on rail tracks

Julie Callaghan awarded Carnegie Medal from U.S.-based foundation for ‘extraordinary heroism’

Surrey RCMP raises Pride flag amid din of protesters

There were about 30 protesters on either side, and 20 Mounties doing crowd control

B.C. students’ camping trip goes ahead despite tents getting stolen

Nanaimo businesses, school staff and parents ensure trip goes on

Only legal pot shop between Vancouver and Kamloops now open

Private cannabis store on Skwah land in Chilliwack is first B.C. licensee to be Indigenous owned

‘I feel free’ says mother of BC murder victim after daughter’s belongings returned

After 11 years, Rosemarie Surakka said she feels like it is 99.9 per cent over

Most Read