Rationale Behind Construction of Site C Dam on Peace River in BC Deeply Flawed

Thirty five years ago concerned ratepayers challenged BC Hydro, the BC Utilities Commission and the Provincial government to admit that electricity conservation and small power projects were preferable to flooding the farm lands of the Peace Valley. Building another dam was not the answer then, and it is not the answer today.

Image Credit:  http://www.straight.com

Sourced through Scoop.it from: vancouver.24hrs.ca

>” Roger Bryenton & Associates, 2015 […] Conservation, plus a variety of smaller, low impact green projects can save and produce more electricity at a lower cost, with less risk, than Site C.

British Columbia has demonstrated its responsibility to live in harmony with nature when building, living and developing resources; doing “more with less”. BC Hydro is to be commended on using conservation and Independent Power producers to supply a reliable and robust power system. Ratepayers recognize these efforts and will help by saving electricity, conservation, and using small scale, “flexible” projects which can readily be adjusted to changes in demand.

Presently, we are excluding the Columbia River Treaty benefits, Alcan and Teck-Cominco power resources, and time-of- use rates which could optimize the “provincial system”. Power from the Columbia River Treaty is being sold at market rates of 3 to 4 cents/kWh rather than be included in the supply equation, where it would be worth 8 to 10 (or more) cents/kWh. Alcan and Cominco have massive dams and plants that could contribute capacity when needed, while regulations presently prevent time-of-use rates to reduce peak demand, a technique used by leading utilities worldwide.

Site C is not needed for a number of reasons:

1. Columbia River Entitlement – Both the Capacity and the Annual Energy of Site C are close to what the Columbia River entitlement offers: Site C is 1,100MW and 5,100 GWh/yr while Columbia is 1,250 MW and 4,400 GWh/yr.

2. Cost – In the original submission, the cost estimate of Site C was $5.7 Billion, or $83/MWh (8.3 cents/kWh). During hearings this increased, first to $7.9 Billion , or $114/MWh (11.4 cents/kWh).  It has increased again, to the present $8.8 billion or $126 /MWh ( 12.6 cents /kWh). By BC Hydro’s own calculations, there are literally hundreds of clean, renewable small projects that can provide capacity and energy under $114, and many more under $126/MWh.

3. Timing – Even a small amount of new power will not be needed until 2027! A massive dam takes 8 to 10 years to complete. Conservation and small power plants require a few months to 3 years to complete. Building an 1,100 MW dam if we only need 100MW is “like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut” (A. Lovins). We will not need 1100MW even by 2033 when conservation and small plants can better follow growth .

4. Capacity – Firm Capacity is only needed for a few hours every year! We do not need a huge dam to do this.

– Time of use rates. By 2020 almost 400MW of savings at $31/kW-yr would be available by significantly shifting peak loads. BC Hydro does this operationally but has refused to include it in their submitted plan.
– Pumped storage at Mica and elsewhere is economical at these prices – we do not need to flood more farmland.
– Geothermal also offers firm capacity.
– An Agreement with Alcan for some peaking, a few hours each year is feasible, but not proposed in the Site C plan.

5. Energy – Conservation, doing “more with less”, has been effective during the past 35 years, when Site C hearings originally delayed this project!

“Deep DSM” – Demand-Side Management, Option 5 of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan, can save almost 1,600MW by 2020 with energy savings of 9,600 GWh/yr. This is almost 400MW and 2000 GWh/ yr more than DSM 2. The cost is only $49/MWh; roughly half of what Site C would cost!  […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development


3 thoughts on “Rationale Behind Construction of Site C Dam on Peace River in BC Deeply Flawed

  1. Roger Bryenton & Associates: http://windturbines-marketplace.com/firm.php?firmId=2071

    There doesn’t appear to be any accounting for the availability of competitive-cost micro-gen power v. hydro. I suspect the rates used for micro are not the rates that would be paid when the power is actually needed.

    How are the Site C $/kwh costs derived from the capital costs?

    Conservation is feasible, building micro-gen, in most cases (other than remote) is not. Furthermore, the environmental costs of wind-turbines have not been proven to be trivial.

    From: duanetilden To: caddgeek@yahoo.ca Sent: Saturday, July 25, 2015 2:00 PM Subject: [New post] Rationale Behind Construction Site C Dam on Peace River in BC Deeply Flawed #yiv7971307202 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7971307202 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7971307202 a.yiv7971307202primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7971307202 a.yiv7971307202primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7971307202 a.yiv7971307202primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7971307202 a.yiv7971307202primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7971307202 WordPress.com | duanetilden posted: “Thirty five years ago concerned ratepayers challenged BC Hydro, the BC Utilities Commission and the Provincial government to admit that electricity conservation and small power projects were preferable to flooding the farm lands of the Peace Valley. Build” | |

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do not know the details of pricing for alternative sources of energy as this is a general critique of BC Hydro’s plan to dam Site ‘C’ of the Peace River. Other forms of alternative energy production, such as geothermal, solar and wind power are not included in the analysis. At present we get 95% of our power from dams on the Peace and Columbia Rivers. As the article states we already have a downstream entitlement from power generated in the United States which is currently sold as excess power by Powerex back to BC Hydro as well as to utilities in Alberta and the US. The projected costs for power are based on the estimates of construction used for the same amount of power production, which is 1,100 MW and 5,100 GWh/yr. Thus if construction costs rise, so does the price per KWh. There will be other costs, which may not be included in the cost estimates for the construction of the dam, such as the infrastructure to deliver the power to market.

      Conservation coupled with DSM are real and effective tools for managing power consumption. Also, we are developing means to store energy for use during peak load events. These are both on the consumer side as well as the utility side of usage and supply. Electric battery storage charged during the night or off-peak can be used to trim the day-time peak when AC loads are highest, as one outstanding example of DSM. Also improvements in energy efficiency, the installation of high efficiency lighting with LED’s and improving motor efficiencies are other means of reducing baseline consumption.

      Environmental costs of dam construction are relatively known, and so are the benefits of not building the dam. There are a whole range of political and treaty issues, that were would need to be solved, beyond this articles scope. What are those costs? How will they add to the downstream costs? The taxpayer is being asked, once again, to foot the bill for infrastructure that has yet to be proven necessary, and likely will not provide benefits for the existing residents and the environment of British Columbia.


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