Economist reports proposed Site C Dam ‘dramatically’ more costly than BC gov’t claims

Peace Valley Landowners Association commissioned leading U.S. energy economist, Robert McCullough, to look at the business case for what will be province’s most expensive public infrastructure project

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Source: www.theglobeandmail.com

>”Just weeks before BC Hydro plans to begin construction of the $8.8-billion Site C project, a new report says the Crown corporation has dramatically understated the cost of producing power from the hydroelectric dam.

…Mr. McCullough, in his report, said it appears the Crown corporation BC Hydro had its thumbs on the scale to make its mega project look better than the private-sector alternatives.

“Using industry standard assumptions, Site C is more than three times as costly as the least expensive option,” Mr. McCullough concluded. “While the cost and choice of options deserve further analysis, the simple conclusion is that Site C is more expensive – dramatically so – than the renewable [and] natural gas portfolios elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada.”

The report challenges a number of assumptions that led the government to conclude that Site C is the cheapest option. Mr. McCullough noted that the province adopted accounting changes last fall that reduced the cost of power generated by Site C. He said those changes are illusory and the costs will eventually have to be paid either by Hydro ratepayers, or provincial taxpayers.

Mr. McCullough, a leading expert on power utilities in the Pacific Northwest, also disputes the rate that BC Hydro used to compare the long-term borrowing cost of capital for Site C against other projects, noting that other major utilities in North America use higher rates for such projects because they are considered risky investments. The so-called discount rate is critical to the overall cost projections, and he said the paper trail on how the Crown arrived at its figure “can only be described as sketchy and inadequate.”

The report, obtained by The Globe and Mail, will be released on Tuesday by the PVLA.

The group will call on Premier Christy Clark to delay construction to allow time for a review by Auditor-General Carol Bellringer.

Ken Boon, president of the association, said the government needs to put the project on hold because it has approved the project based on poor advice. […]”<

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BC LNG Project Final Decision Stalled to June

Malaysia’s Petronas expects to make a final investment decision on an US $11-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in British Columbia by the end of June, after postponing the decision…

Source: business.financialpost.com

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Vancouver Gas Prices are Highest in North America

Vancouver gas prices topped $1.30 per litre Tuesday, more than $0.15 higher than next most expensive city.

Source: bc.ctvnews.ca

>” […]

After dipping below a dollar per litre earlier this year, gas prices in Vancouver are now the highest in North America.

Fuel costs tipped the scales at more than $1.30 per litre Tuesday morning, nearly 16 cents per litre higher than Quebec City, the second-most expensive Canadian city for gas, according to GasBuddy.com.

Since then, a shortage of gasoline coupled with higher demand has contributed to the spike.

Last month, an Exxon Mobile oil refinery in California exploded, while Shell’s Puget Sound refinery in Washington State went down for maintenance.

Experts say brutal winter weather has also increased demand for gasoline in eastern Canada and the U.S.

CTV News spoke with some Vancouver drivers who say they’re exhausted from the up-and-down costs.

“We pay the most for gas, we pay the most for houses, we pay the most taxes. What’s up?” asked Jeremy Wilson. “I pity the people in the Mercedes and the Beamers, how can they afford it?”

Josh Sharber, who uses his truck for work, said it now costs him around $130 to fill up his tank.

“I basically work two days a week just to keep my truck running,” he said. “It’s pretty much all you can do. No gas, can’t get to work.”

Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland Tuesday, gas prices in Abbotsford topped $1.19 per litre, while Chilliwack, where prices are traditionally low, hovered around $1.21 per litre.

That’s still higher than other major North American cities, including Toronto ($1.07 per litre), Los Angeles ($0.93 USD per litre) and Edmonton ($0.91 per litre).”<

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