Former premier Christy Clark and former B.C. Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald, November 2015. (Black Press files)

Site C dam benefits undersold, consultant says

Union group hires former Columbia Power CEO to study project

Scrapping the Site C dam project would cost $4 billion and B.C. Hydro would then have to start developing riskier alternatives, says a new analysis of the project.

The Allied Hydro Council of B.C., a group of heavy construction unions, hired a former CEO of Columbia Power Corp., Lorne Sivertson, to analyze the recent review ordered by Premier John Horgan of the third dam on the Peace River. Sivertson said the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) made “serious errors,” including under-valuing Site C’s reliable power output and B.C.’s future power needs.

At a news conference in Vancouver Wednesday to release the report, Sivertson was joined by energy lawyer Jim Quail to argue that Site C should go ahead, despite the B.C. Liberal government’s rush to get it going without independent analysis of its needs and risks.

“While we can all agree that the B.C. Liberal government was incredibly reckless in not putting Site C to a full review by the BCUC years before construction started and letting all interested parties submit evidence for consideration, the province now has to decide how best to proceed with the funding already invested,” Quail said.

Sivertson had a list of criticisms of the BCUC findings, conducted this fall with a Nov. 1 deadline imposed by the incoming NDP government. They include:

• If B.C.’s energy demand grows by just one per cent per year from 2017 to 2036, and federal and provincial targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are to be met, “the equivalent of three Site C dams will be needed”

• The BCUC described the project’s demand forecast as too optimistic, but “if the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow as rapidly as recent statistics show, even B.C. Hydro’s growth forecast will be low.”

• The BCUC’s suggestion to use power now sold to the U.S. under the Columbia River Treaty runs the risk that the U.S. will cancel the treaty

• B.C. Hydro’s growth projections are not dependent on development of a liquefied natural gas industry.

Allied Hydro Council of B.C. business agent Wayne Peppard also touted the benefits of returning to project labour agreements, essentially making Site C a closed shop for traditional building trade union workers, to keep the project on schedule.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

First residents move into Nuxalk Nation’s tiny homes

Four of the tiny homes are now complete and residents have moved in

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

All Native Basketball Tournament Day 5: Recap

Highlights and results from day 5 at the All Native Tournament

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Minister says plans to fight poverty, climate change, focus of B.C. budget

The NDP said in its throne speech last week that affordability will be the hallmark of its initiatives

Most Read