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

BC Ferries confirms Northern Sea Wolf ready for summer season

The plan is to have the Northern Sea Wolf assume the mid-coast service as of May 18

Historic building in Alexis Creek destroyed by fire overnight

“If it hadn’t been a heavy rain last night we could have lost many houses in the area”

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

OP-ED: Striking a balance with the oil tanker moratorium

Dennis Patterson, Senator for Nunavut, on protecting Canada’s environment and economy with Bill C-48

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read