Private power an alternative to Site C

Wind and run-of-river projects are still in the running, if they can deliver at a competitive price, Energy Minister Bill Bennett says

Wind turbines at Dokie Ridge near Chetwynd. Private power developers are pitching their run-of-river and wind as an alternative to another big dam.

Privately developed run-of-river, wind and solar power remains a possible alternative to a third dam on the Peace River, Energy Minister Bill Bennett says.

Bennett was responding to this week’s decision by the federal and B.C. environment ministries to recommend construction of the Site C dam, which would flood another 83 km of the Peace River valley near Fort St. John.

Bennett said some people have incorrectly interpreted the environmental assessment certificates as a green light for the project, which BC Hydro has considered for 35 years. Studies of natural gas power generation and private clean energy projects are continuing, and a recommendation to cabinet will be made in November, Bennett said.

Studies have shown that equivalent natural gas power plants would be “marginally cheaper” than Site C, which would provide 8.5 per cent of the province’s electricity supply, but that option would require amendment of the province’s clean energy legislation.

“I believe there would be significant public opposition to utilizing gas to generate all of that electricity,” Bennett said. “It’s not totally off the table but it isn’t something that I think has legs.”

Outside experts have endorsed BC Hydro’s forecast that its electricity demand will increase by 40 per cent in the next 20 years, with most of that met through conservation.

Bennett said that forecast may prove to be low if liquefied natural gas production, new mines and other industrial developments proceed.

The government acknowledges that seven aboriginal communities in the Peace region oppose Site C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said they do not have authority to veto the project, a position that may be tested in court if the cabinet approves Site C to proceed next year.

Bennett said the cost of wind, solar and other renewable energy is coming down, but any private alternative would have to include the additional costs of power lines and backup power for intermittent sources.

 

Just Posted

B.C. Legions in need of young members to continue aiding veterans into the future

Lest we forget what thousands of men and women did to fight for Canada’s freedoms – but without new membership, many Legion chapters face dwindling numbers

From the Hill: The successes and failures of the Elections Modernization Act

Richard Cannings writes about Bill C-76 in From the Hill.

Public invited to annual watershed meeting at Christina Lake

Learn more about invasive species and management planning at Christina Lake.

Boundary Peace Initiative hosts conference in Grand Forks

The conference featured Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Christina Lake teacher recognized for excellence in education

The provincial music teachers’ award is “a huge honour.”

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Canadians more prepared for weather disaster than financial one: poll

RBC recommends people check their bank app as often as the weather app

B.C. dog owner sues after pet killed in beaver trap

A Kamloops man is suing the operator of a trapline north of the city after his dog died

Most Read