(1) 250.472.8528
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

The long awaited British Columbia Utilities Commission Inquiry Respecting Site C was released today. I am absolutely thrilled with the thorough and comprehensive analysis that was undertaken. The report reaffirms the position that the BC Greens and I have taken on this project for the last five years.

As noted in the report’s Executive Summary:

  1. “The BCUC is not persuaded that the Site C project will remain on schedule for a November 2024 in-service date. The Panel also finds that the project is not within the proposed budget of $8.335 billion. Currently, completion costs may be in excess of $10 billion.”
  2. “The Panel finds the least attractive of the three scenarios is to suspend and restart the project in 2024. The suspension and restart scenario adds at least an estimated $3.6 billion to final costs and is by far the most expensive of the three scenarios. In addition, the Panel considers it the most risky scenario because, among other things, environmental permits will expire and that will require new applications and approvals.”
  3. “The Panel finds the Site C termination and remediation costs to be approximately $1.8 billion, in addition to the costs of finding alternative energy sources to meet demand.”
  4. “The Panel finds BC Hydro’s mid load forecast to be excessively optimistic and considers it more appropriate to use the low load forecast in making our applicable findings as required by the OIC. In addition, the Panel is of the view that there are risks that could result in demand being less than the low case.”
  5. “The Panel believes increasingly viable alternative energy sources such as wind, geothermal and industrial curtailment could provide similar benefits to ratepayers as the Site C project with an equal or lower Unit Energy Cost.”

It is now up to the BC NDP cabinet to decide upon the fate of Site C. Armed with the BCUC report, it would be fiscally reckless to proceed with construction. The BC Greens will remain vigilant on this file to ensure that the BC NDP make the evidence-based decision to cancel the project.

Cancelling Site C will now take real leadership. I hope that the BC NDP will seize the incredible opportunity that has presented itself to develop a 21st Century vision for the future of energy in this province.

Below I reproduce the media statement that I issued on the report.


Media Statement


Weaver statement on BCUC Site C Report
For immediate release
November 1, 2017

VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, issued the following statement in response to BCUC’s release of the Site C report.

“I am pleased that BCUC’s comprehensive review and insightful report have been completed on time,” said Weaver.

“It is unconscionable that the B.C. Liberals demonstrated such reckless disregard for British Columbians and for sound fiscal management by pushing through such a substantial mega-project without proper due diligence and oversight.

“I am very encouraged that the report indicates that alternative energy sources could provide similar benefits to ratepayers as Site C at an equal or lower cost. I have long argued that the plummeting cost of alternative renewables makes Site C the unequivocal wrong direction for B.C.’s energy future.

“Supporting the development of smaller renewable projects presents a significant economic opportunity for all corners of British Columbia. In recent months our caucus has met with numerous communities across the province who are proposing exciting projects like wind and geothermal that would generate jobs and innovation in their communities using private sector investment rather than billions in taxpayer funds.

“Cancelling Site C will take real leadership. I hope that the B.C. NDP will seize the incredible opportunity before us to develop a 21st Century vision for the future of energy in this province.”

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Media contact
Jillian Oliver, Press Secretary
+1 778-650-0597 | jillian.oliver@leg.bc.ca

21 Comments

  1. julia mckenzie-Reply
    November 21, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Glad to see that some humans are realizing the root problem the world is experiencing – GROSS OVERPOPULATION – and yes we need our leaders to discuss this issue and let it be known to all humans otherwise no matter what kind of changes we make it will be an increasingly harder battle. Humans need to put a universal plan in place to make humans aware of the problem and have a plan so that we can move our population towards a more sustainable number. Better start now or many more humans will suffer a whole lot more. Sustainability is on the opposite side of growth. Population needs to wake up and see the real picture of the future if we continue on this track. We live on a finite planet when you consider the present population of almost 9 billion humans on it. We cannot continue like this without dire consequences which have already been on our doorstep for many years and will continue to grow more dire each year from here on in. If we do not clean up our act, the Earth will definitely do it for us in extreme ways. Lets decide to be courageous and deal with this problem sooner than later.

  2. November 14, 2017 at 8:25 am

    It is time we fully embrace all solar technologies as well large scale wind farms, conservation and better efficiency standards for our homes, transportation and commercial endeavors. To continue the “some old same old – business as usual” like another Mega scale hydro-electric project like Site C, we will condemn ourselves and future generations. In my opinion, every rooftop and wall that has access to solar insolation, should have well designed window walls, solar hot water and solar electric PV – buildings would be net energy producers, and energy plant onto itself putting excess energy back into the grid. Along with electric vehicles in every driveway, the battery bank of our vehicles can be powered by the home or commercial buildings nearby. To combine this with a, smart grid, the battery bank can actually act as a power source to diversify the grid, feeding power where and when it is required and saving it for peaks, etc. Even as little as 10 years ago, a 15 or 20 kilowatt solar array would be uneconomical for most people. Today such an array costs in the $30,000 range, the price of an SUV. So it is very economical plus pays a dividend. Most of us who drive an automobile can surely afford solar power, which would easily eliminate the need for Site C, which was actually started to supply the energy to create Liquified (frozen) Natural Gas. Carpe Diem, British Columbia. Lets GO SOLAR! To see more, I give numerous posts of this on my blog, Through the luminary lens, especially of how I have utilized such technologies in our home for 40 years. Thanks Andrew and the Greens, for your amazing leaderships.

  3. Harold Page (former Chief Engr, BCUC)-Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    We have been left with an extremely difficult decision, which need not have been so.
    One respondent touched on the seldom mentioned fundamental problem – world over population. It needs much more serious attention.
    Humanity must come to realize that we need to be far more economical in our use of energy; highways jammed with commuter traffic, prodigal use of air travel,etc.; think of the consequences !

  4. Dave Smyth-Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Though I like the concept of solar energy all the work I have done suggests it is not economical in our latitides at this time without significant subsidies. With most solar panels only achieving a 25% efficiency rate it just does not make sense. There are some encouraging developments with MIT and India that are looking at an initial efficiency of 38% but it is still likely a decade away. So for BC or Canada to shift too early will be nothing but a massive waste of taxpayer funds. It would be far better for the NDP/Greens to fund research into advancing suitable technology and build industries around it instead of imported already outdated technology for out environment. Climate change is happening but the larger driver is population growth, not our use if carbon. It would be far better in BC to focus on enhancing our carbon absorption footprint since it would infer more useful investment in Forest renewal. With respect to Site C, the BCUC reports have in my opinion been terrible flawed in understanding potential demand assumptions and impact of new technologies. So they may want to assume a slower growth scenario but they make no attempt to factor in the cost of if they are wrong, my guess the cost of replacing power in the future will be quite a bit higher. Also the power generation capability of the dams and their reservoirs maybe understated. There is a new technology of evaporative energy, which I believe could result in additional energy being created by our dams. Now where in the studies are these new potential technologies looked at or discussed. Finally the significant issue with any dam is it’s location relative to where its power is use. This transmission loss is something that needs to be addressed. Again instead of funding current inefficient alternative energy sources why are we not focussing on improving the transport efficiency of our power. A break through in this would reap massive benefits worldwide as well as help create a new source of manufacturing jobs in the Province. In this period of rapidly changing technology saying No based on today’s potential views is dangerous. The BCUC has historical operated on that basis. They place a higher value on the risk of doing a project than on the risk of not doing it.

  5. Phil Chubb-Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Let me preface the following by saying that I voted Green in the last election and am very happy with how things worked out. Pity we don’t yet have proportional representation because if we did, you’d get LOTS more votes.

    Regarding your opposition to Site C, however, I’m afraid our opinions differ. As I see it, We either spend $4 billion for nothing at all by cancelling the project or $10 billion for 680 MW of clean, reliable low GHG power by building the dam.

    Perhaps the project should never have been started – blame the BC Neoliberals and possibly BC Hydro for that – but now that it has, I submit it’s better to build rather than cancel the dam.

    Building the dam will admittedly cause minor environmental impacts, primarily flooding, but a lot of the environmental opposition is overblown. The Peace River’s natural flow regime is already altered by the WAC Bennett and Site 1 dams and most lands to be flooded are far from rare or unique.in the region. Also, grade A farmland in the Peace valley is probably equivalent to Grade C land further south.

    I also note that first nations opposition,is far from unanimous and despite some opposition, several bands support the dam and have signed agreements with BC Hydro.

    The main issue with Site C has always been its economics and the power produced admittedly won’t be cheap. I’m convinced it will eventually be sold at a profit however as other jurisdictions – notably Alberta – realize they’ll require clean power to meet GHG emissions targets and as the transportation and possibly the home heating sectors are electrified. Based on that, I question the BCUC’s decision to adopt low-growth future demand estimates. As for renewables, their costs and risks – especially geothermal and I say that as a geological engineer – are far from predictable.

    So, in closing, might I suggest you take a good second look at the present Site C situation and accept – perhaps grudgingly – that now that the project’s started,it’s better to finish rather than cancel it. You’ll have to continue to support the NDP anyway if you ever want to get proportional representation. THAT should be your party’s party’s main objective.

  6. Ron Bruce-Reply
    November 12, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Was it not the NDP and BCIT that worked together on National Model Building Code, to show how changes in building construction would drive down the use of power use through increased insulation (entire envelop) low-energy lighting, low-energy appliances, triple pane glass, solar panels, etc, etc, etc.

    $8 Billion in retrofits and upgrades would produce jobs in BC for decades. And we haven’t even touched the new technologies coming on stream. Ergo a decrease in energy use far greater than what the Site C Dam could have produced and bankrupting BC Hydro even further.

  7. November 12, 2017 at 11:44 am

    It will require about 27,000 GigaWatt-hours per year of electrical energy to electrify British Columbia’s vehicle transportation. To replace gas and diesel powered vehicles with electrically powered vehicles is a realistic goal that many European countries are now aiming to achieve. Quite simply, we can never achieve our CO2 emissions target unless we do this transition.

    But we won’t be able to do it without Site C. That 27,000 GWh per year represents 5 times the Site C generation. With Site C plus solar and wind energy our climate goal is quite achievable.

    Let’s not abandon our best hope for climate stabilization.

  8. Stephen Lentz-Reply
    November 12, 2017 at 8:29 am

    When I think site c getting cancelled, I’m concerned and sad about losing our sunk costs, and moving away from the confidence in known technology. At the same time, I’m feeling hopeful,excited and relieved to end a capital investment so frightening, try something new and incrementally controllable, and probably enabling each of us individually to be more self sufficient and more autonomy.

  9. kurt klingbeil-Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Keep holding Horgan’s feet to the fire in case he weakens.

  10. Cameron Avery-Reply
    November 5, 2017 at 11:12 am

    18 months ago I installed a solar system on my roof. It dropped my BC Hydro bill for the first year by about 50% (educated guess). BC Hydro LOST my application (Net Meter Application) for 5 months (over the summer). Then refused to pay me for any excess electricity I had generated over that period of time. I suspect the petroleum industry has used similar tactics in the past to keep its customer base. Let’s see if John Horgan does the right thing now. Do I believe we need Site C? Not if more people install their own solar/wind/geothermal systems. PS …. go for it!

  11. November 2, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    I don’t understand how you, Mr Weaver, given your in depth knowledge of the realities of climate change can be against a power source that emits less carbon per unit energy than any other source save nuclear (including wind and solar).

    How will we electrify our economy without abundant clean power? Did you read that the BCUC proposes restarting Burrard Thermal to cover peak loads if Site C is cancelled? We will never attain our Paris agreement goals with that approach.

    Also, consider that global warming is not defined by our borders. If there is excess clean energy we sell it outside the province and offset their emissions. Alberta is desperate to get off coal and would welcome reliable clean power.

  12. Neil J McLean-Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you Andrew Weaver, it gives me great comfort to know that you are willing to cut through the political Babel and get right to the economics and the environment.

  13. Dave Doman-Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    It’s time we pulled our heads out of the sand and realize that the environment people are not telling the truth. Alternate power is more costly. Hydro always will be cheaper and more realistic. It’s always easy to manipulate the numbers to get whatever results you want. What about jobs. We need to remember what the NDP did to B.C. economy in the 1990’s. It took a lot of years to recover
    I have been retired for 20 years and was fortunate to have worked when I did.

  14. Lora-Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 8:51 am

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Andrew Weaver and John Horgan!!! Now it’s time for a review and investigation into the multi million dollar smart meter program. This is one more BC Hydro multi million dollar mega project the lying Liberals skirtailed around and pushed through without a BCUC review!! The BIG difference here is, the smart meter program is violating our Democratic rights and our Charter of rights and freedoms!! Site C however is violating signed agreements with our First Nations people!! In September, an in-depth and detailed fire report about these radiation emitting, radio frequency lithium battery encased fire hazards was mailed to Mr Horgan. I hope John Horgan and Andrew Weaver do the right thing and hold B.C. Hydro accountable for this sham!!

  15. John Nueltin-Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 8:06 am

    If you believe in a green future, you should believe in Site C. If you have any trust in math, and have actually read a BC Hydro Revenue Requirement Application, you would never ever advocate for more wind, and small run of river hydro, biomass, etc (aka IPP. = Independent Power Producers). Here is the math:
    Currently approx 30% of every British Columbian’s electricity bill goes to subsidize the losses on IPPs.(This has been quietly hidden, but is on clear display in the RRAs)
    When site C is complete, it will cost every British Columbian approx 7.5% increase. Or put another way, 1/4 the cost of all that intermittent IPP power.
    $100 electricity bill/month
    $30 already goes to the IPPs Andrew Weaver now advocates for, remember, he changed his mind
    $7.5 would ultimately go to cover costs of site C. Trust in math, and it will serve to best guide your future, whether it’s buying groceries, buying a plane ticket, or deciding energy policies and how much you want to pay on your electricity bill. Lower is better.

  16. Peter Gorrie-Reply
    November 1, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    The NDP gov’t should now quickly terminate the project. I doubt it, though, given Horgan’s comments about the long legal process involving First Nations. If it’s terminated, no need to go to the courts. If the gov’t waits for the court battles to end, the thing will be up and running by the time a ruling is made. Just kill the thing now.

  17. David Flood-Reply
    November 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Quite aside from whether or not the Site C Dam is ultimately in the best interests of British Columbians, there is no excuse for the lack of scientific and economic diligence on the part of the BC Liberals in ramming this project through.

    It now appears that as the costs and benefits of Site C are being properly weighed, there are even fewer benefits to be had while the costs are steadily mounting. In light of the rapidly decreasing costs of wind, solar and perhaps even tidal powered electricity production, it makes more sense to proceed cautiously with a number of smaller clean energy projects, hopefully privately funded, in proportion to the actual demand. Compared to almost anywhere else on earth, we are extremely fortunate in BC to already have a large hydroelectric infrastructure which can be used to perfectly compliment these newer intermittent sources of power generation without having to build any more dams, split any atoms, or burn any fossil fuels.

  18. Doug Alder-Reply
    November 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    We need the Peace River valley intact as farmland. Global climate change is going to adversely affect farms in California and Mexico. It is insane to sacrifice farmland for anything never mind something not needed for the foreseeable future, if ever. Additionally http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2013/rncan-nrcan/M183-2-6914-eng.pdf shows the geothermal potential of Canada and BC is ripe for it. Interestingly enough this was done in 2012 under Harper and he allowed it Skip to page 216 to see how good BC and Alberta are

    • Wayne Osborne-Reply
      November 2, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Doug, I totally agree with your sentiment that we need the farmland due to the threat climate change will have on California and Mexican food production. However, I suspect the provincial and federal governments have a different point of view. A hint comes from the Water Sustainability Act which paves the way for us to export bulk water. I suspect the big picture plan is to export water in exchange for continued reliance of imported of food. Our BC government wants us to think Global, not local.

  19. Deryk Houston-Reply
    November 1, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    The key to all this is to make sure that our British Columbia leaders have another plan in place to develope alternative sources of power and undertsand fully what those will cost. I have been a site C dam supporter for years, but changed my mind after becoming aware of the dramatic changes in costs and technology for alternate sources of power.

    • John Kidder-Reply
      November 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      right on the money

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