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!  […]”<

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Mega-Project – BC’s Peace River Site C Dam to Break Ground Next Summer

“Clark said that it’s unknown how much the project will add to BC Hydro customers’ bills, but that the cabinet reached the decision after careful analysis and much discussion.”

Source: thetyee.ca

>” […] British Columbia plans to start construction of the $8.8-billion Site C dam on the Peace River next summer, Premier Christy Clark said today in a controversial announcement that was welcomed by some and panned by others.

“Once it is built, it is going to benefit British Columbians for generations, and that is why we have decided to go ahead with the Site C clean energy project,” Clark said at a press conference at the provincial legislature.

Clark said that it’s unknown how much the project will add to BC Hydro customers’ bills, but that the cabinet reached the decision after careful analysis and much discussion.

Site C was the most affordable, reliable and sustainable option available to meet B.C.’s growing power needs, she said. Over the next 20 years, the government is estimating that demand for energy will increase by 40 per cent as both the population and industry grows. Roughly one-third of that power is expected for residential use.

First proposed some 30 years ago, Site C will be the third of a series of dams on the Peace River and will flood an 83-kilometre long stretch of the river to generate 1,100 megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power 450,000 homes per year.

“If you accept the premise British Columbia is going to grow, then you also accept the premise we’re going to need more power,” said Clark. That power will come from a variety of sources, including the Site C dam, which will have a lifespan of 100 years, she said. […]

Impacts ‘that can’t be mitigated’: CEO

BC Hydro President and CEO Jessica McDonald said the Crown corporation has spent seven years consulting with First Nations. “We acknowledge and respect that there are impacts,” she said. “There are impacts that can’t be mitigated.”

Discussions are continuing and there are hopes they’ll reach an agreement on accommodation, she said. Courts have ruled that in certain situations it may be necessary to compensate an aboriginal group for any adverse impacts a project may have on its treaty rights. Compensation could include habitat replacement, job skills or training, or cash.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the project is in the long-term best interest of the province, though he acknowledged it comes at a cost to people in the Peace River valley. “There are impacts to people who live in the Northeast, and nobody is happy about that,” he said.

It’s a major project and worth building, he said. “It’s big, it’s expensive, it’s a huge project, but it’s eight per cent of the total electricity needs in the province.” […] “<

 

 

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