Site C

Geothermal Would Create 15 Times More Permanent Jobs Than Site C, Panel Told As BCUC Hearings Draw to Close

geothermal National Renewable Energy Lab

Opportunities provided by 21st century renewables, such as geothermal, wind and solar, have either been ignored or the costs over-inflated in BC Hydro documents justifying construction of the Site C dam, the B.C. Utilities Commission Site C Panel was told by presenters during two days of technical briefings.

Speaker after speaker pinpointed holes and inaccuracies in BC Hydro’s math, claiming the bottom line was skewed in favour of building the $8.8-billion dollar dam on the Peace River.

Geothermal power projects are thriving in Oregon and Idaho and the geology does not instantly change at the B.C. border, said Alison Thompson, chair of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA), pointing to the number of hot springs and drilled natural gas wells in the province, which indicate the presence of geothermal resources.

So, how much has BC Hydro spent in the last 15 years in exploratory drilling for geothermal resources?” she asked.

BREAKING: Site C Dam $600 Million Over Budget, Will Miss River Diversion Timeline, Says BC Hydro CEO

Site C dam construction

BC Hydro’s new CEO Chris O’Riley has written a letter to the B.C. Utilities Commission stating that the crown corporation will not meet the timeline for river diversion for the Site C dam, which will add $610 million to the project’s price tag.

BC Hydro has encountered some geotechnical and construction challenges on the project and the risk to the river diversion timeline has now materialized,” O’Riley wrote.

Based on the recent completion of a constructability review and an executive meeting with our Main Civil Works contractor on September 27, 2017, we have now determined that we will not be able to meet the current timeline for river diversion in 2019.”

What That 205-Page BCUC Report on the Site C Dam Actually Said

Site C dam construction

A much-anticipated preliminary report from B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) has raised numerous questions about the Site C dam, underlined the extent of missing and out-dated information and pointed out unknowns surrounding the largest and most expensive infrastructure project in B.C.

The 205-page report on the economic viability of the $8.8 billion dam was released only hours before the midnight Wednesday deadline, reflecting the tight timeframe given the panel of commissioners when the NDP government referred the controversial project to the utilities commission in early August.

The utilities commission is the independent body responsible for overseeing BC Hydro and ICBC, both crown corporations that use public funds. However, former premier Christy Clark decided to go ahead with the $8.8-billion plan to build a third dam on the Peace River without a review by the utilities commission.

Site C to Test B.C. NDP’s Commitment to Indigenous Rights

John Horgan UNDRIP Site C

By Zoë Ducklow for The Tyee.

Recent experiences with the federal government have left Prophet River First Nation member Helen Knott wary of government promises.

So while she and other Indigenous people are excited about NDP provincial government commitments to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, words are not enough. And the Site C dam in northeastern B.C., they say, will be the government’s first test of its commitment.

The vocalization that they’ll adhere to UNDRIP is a start, but it’s about actions,” Knott says. “And Site C is the place to start with it, because it’s the issue that’s out front and in everybody’s faces.”

Terminating Site C Dam, Building Alternatives Could Save B.C. Over $1B: Economist

Site c construction 2016

Karen Goodings avoids the Site C dam area on the Peace River because she finds it too heart-wrenching to look at the havoc caused by construction work, but, for the first time in years, she is now holding out hope that the $8.8-billion project will be scrapped.

I want to see it permanently stopped and now I think there is enough information out there to talk about alternate sources of power that are more economical and less devastating,” said Goodings, a Peace River Regional District director.

Her optimism has been boosted by reports underlining financial uncertainties with Site C and emphasizing that B.C.’s power needs can be met by wind, geothermal and solar projects.

Falling Costs of Renewable Power Make Site C Dam Obsolete, Says Energy Economist

Site C dam

The cost of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, has dropped dramatically since the previous B.C. government decided to build the Site C dam and the B.C. Utilities Commission must look at updated figures when considering the megaproject’s future, says a prominent energy consultant.

Robert McCullough, who is recognized as a North American expert on hydroelectric issues, was asked by the Peace Valley Landowner Association and Peace Valley Environment Association to make a submission to the BCUC, using up-to-date figures and research.

His conclusion is that BC Hydro could meet the province’s power needs at a much lower cost than the projected $8.8-billion Site C price-tag, without supply risks.

Site C Dam Costs Could Escalate 40%, Says Auditor's Report

Site C dam construction

The Site C dam project faces “significant schedule and cost pressures” that could inflate its final price tag to more than $12.5 billion, according to a new report by one of Canada’s leading auditing firms.

The report, by Deloitte LLP, was commissioned by the B.C. Utilities Commission as part of an independent review of the BC Hydro project on the Peace River ordered by the new B.C. government.

The report substantiates statements from many prominent critics of the project, including former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen, that the $8.8 billion project faces serious risks of major cost overruns.

BC Hydro Violated Rules for Protecting Indigenous Sites, Must Re-Evaluate Site C Bridge Construction

Bear Flats

BC Hydro violated its environmental assessment certificate for the Site C dam project, according to a B.C. government report released Thursday.

The inspection report, from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, detailed how BC Hydro failed to develop acceptable mitigation measures for an aboriginal sweat lodge and suspected burial site, and cannot legally proceed with a bridge related to Site C highway relocation until it does so.

This means BC Hydro's controversial highway re-location will need to be assessed again by the Environmental Assessment Office and an alternate route long supported by the First Nations may be considered after all.

BC Hydro has not developed mitigation for known cultural values in the Bear Flats area, including the sweat lodge (and nearby camp) and the potential burial site…” noted the report, which points out that BC Hydro is well aware of the cultural importance of the area for local First Nations.

Pull Plug on Site C Dam if Completion Costs More than $2B: Former Chair of Review Panel

Harry Swain

B.C. won’t need more electricity for many years and, when that time comes, there are less expensive alternatives than the Site C dam, says a submission filed with the B.C. Utilities Commission on Monday by Harry Swain, the man who chaired the federal-provincial review panel of the project.

Demand will not materialize at even the low limit of BC Hydro’s demand forecast,” Swain writes, as he cautions the commission from relying too heavily on BC Hydro’s forecasts.

The issue is that BC Hydro’s 2016 load forecast is no more credible than its numerous predecessors,” Swain writes. 

Swain calls on the commission to “undertake its own research and analysis,” rather than simply adjudicating among submissions received during the review.

Letter from Former B.C. Premier Calls for Halt to Site C Dam

Former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt

The Site C dam is an “economic, fiscal, environmental and aboriginal treaty rights disaster,” according to former B.C. Premier Mike Harcourt.

In a letter submitted to the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is currently reviewing the $8.8 billion project, Harcourt said Site C will “severely damage BC Hydro and B.C. credit ratings” and lead to increases for ratepayers across the province.

Harcourt, who first voiced opposition against Site C in late 2016, said a recent study from Oxford University that found worldwide hydro projects see average cost overruns of 90 per cent should be a warning to B.C.

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