Minister unmoved by power producers’ plea

Energy Minister Rich Coleman expects to decide this fall on changes to B.C.'s clean energy legislation, including a possible reduction in independent power purchases by BC Hydro.

Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman

VICTORIA – Energy Minister Rich Coleman expects to decide this fall on changes to B.C.’s clean energy legislation, including a possible reduction in independent power purchases by BC Hydro.

Coleman said in an interview he plans to have recommendations for cabinet within weeks on the findings of a review panel of senior officials this summer. The review identified several ways for BC Hydro to hold electricity rate increases to less than four per cent in the next two years, including a change to the definition of self-sufficiency in clean energy imposed by the B.C. government, to take effect in 2016.

Independent producers want the province to maintain the target of self-sufficiency from domestic sources to meet demand even in low-water years. Last week, the Clean Energy Association of B.C. warned that cutting back on domestic supplies may lead B.C. to import more electricity, promoting further development of coal and natural gas power plants in North America.

Coleman said he met with association representatives, and he believes their concerns are premature. Between population growth and new industrial customers, BC Hydro projects a 40 per cent increase in electricity demand in the longer term, and there will continue to be room for independent producers in that growth, he said.

“I get their concerns, but we’ve got to run this corporation,” Coleman said.

Association president Paul Kariya also argued that BC Hydro is expecting the spot market price for electricity to rise by 50 per cent in 10 years and double current rates in 20 years. Reducing domestic supply could result in more costs as well as more greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

“That part of their argument I don’t buy,” Coleman said. “If we change the definition of self-sufficiency, that would mean that Hydro by our definition has all the power it needs. They don’t need to go to the spot market.”

The review team, led by Premier Christy Clark’s deputy John Dyble, also suggested reducing BC Hydro’s workforce, streamlining bids for construction and deferring some capital works to save money.

Just Posted

VIDEO: One in custody after dramatic Abbotsford vehicle theft ends with rollover in Chilliwack

Prolific offender Michael Joseph Hasell facing numerous charges

Five calls on local highways, mountains for Hope rescue squad

Injured hikers, injured motorists and one casualty has Hope SAR team busy

Lower Mainland cools down as heat wave lifts

Environment Canada predicts temperatures in the mid to low 20s

Fraser Health launches new drug-use support team to curb overdoses

Nearly 200 people have been killed by illicit drug overdoses in the region so far in 2018

WATCH: RCMP Musical Ride to perform in Hope Thursday

The countdown is on as organizers prepare for the arrival of 32 horses, riders and hundreds of spectators

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

One year later: Still no suspects in killing of 13-year-old B.C. girl

Marrisa Shen was killed in Burnaby’s Central Park on July 18, 2017

BC Games opening ceremonies promise to be magical

Features Shane Koyczan and his band, Asani, parade of athletes, and lots more

VIDEO: Toronto Raptors send DeMar DeRozan to Spurs in colossal NBA trade

Toronto also sent Jakob Poeltl and 2019 first-round pick, gets Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green

More lightning forecast as storm sparks 38 new wildfires in B.C.

22 new fires in are burning in the Kamloops Fire Centre according to the BC Wildfire Service.

Banff’s bathroom bears returned to the park after 15 months of rehab in Ontario

Black bears, now yearlings, were sent to the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario last April

Monster trucks returning to Abbotsford

Monster Madness tour arriving in September

‘Recovery high schools,’ per diems urged to better manage addiction in B.C.

BC Centre for Substance Use says focus needs to shift to from overdose prevention to long-term care

Most Read