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Clean Technology

Contrasting the escalating costs of Site C to the diminishing costs of renewables

Today in the legislature I rose in Question Period to ask the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources about the escalating costs of Site C relative to the diminishing costs of renewables.

In the days ahead, the BC cabinet will make a decision on whether or not to proceed with the construction of Site C.  It’s critical that cabinet make its decision based on the best available evidence. It’s clear to me that Site C is about to emerge as BC’s very own Muskrat Falls. A public inquiry in Newfoundland and Labrador will begin this January to determine why that hydro megaproject is so many billions of dollars over budget and so far behind schedule. It will also examine why the project was exempt from oversight by the Public Utilities Board much as the Site C project was approved without oversight from the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Below I reproduce the video and text of the exchange. It is clear to me that the BC Liberals were feeling very uncomfortable with the line of questioning as their heckling was so loud and ongoing that I had to stop several times.


Video of Exchange



Question


A. Weaver: I see the members on the opposite side here are somewhat troubled about question period and are a little feisty today.

I’d like to take us back, hon. Speaker. I’d like to take us back to the previous decade, when Site C was advanced to stage 3 of the approval process. Its price tag then was somewhere between $5 billion and $6.6 billion. Let’s now fast-forward to 2011. The price tag now was $7.9 billion. Two years later, now in 2013, the price tag was $8.3 billion. Then the price tag grew to $8.9 billion, accompanying a year-long delay in the construction schedule.

Now the B.C. Utilities Commission says this directly: “Given the nature of this type of project and what has occurred to date, total cost for the project may be in excess of $10 billion, and there are significant risks that could lead to further budget overruns.” The cost, they found, could end up being $12 billion — and this only two years into a nine-year project.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.

A. Weaver: My question through you, hon. Speaker — if I’m allowed to actually ask it over the heckling from opposite — is this. It’s to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. Will the minister stop the Site C project…?

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.

The question, please.

A. Weaver: I’ll try again.

Will the minister stop Site C before it gets any worse and protect British Columbians from a project that already shows signs of having costs that will spiral completely out of control?


Answer


Hon. M. Mungall: Thank you to the member for the question. I find the question very interesting because I think it highlights exactly why this project should have gone to the B.C. Utilities Commission right from the very get-go. The fact that the official opposition, when they were in government, chose not to do that — I’ve said it before, and let me say it again — was the wrong choice.

This government has righted that wrong. We have finally gone to the B.C. Utilities Commission, and we were able to get answers to the questions that British Columbians had, questions that I’m sure that the Leader of the Third Party had as well. This government is taking all of that information into consideration as we deliberate on this very important issue for British Columbians, and we’ll be working and making a decision in the best interests of British Columbians.


Supplementary Question


A. Weaver: Thank you to the minister for the response. In contrast to the grim picture of ballooning Site C construction costs, let’s now take a look at the renewable energy sector. Wind, solar and geothermal power have become cheaper and scaled up faster than anyone predicted. The cost of wind power has decreased by 90 percent since the 1980s. In the last eight years alone….

Interjections.

A. Weaver: I know that members opposite don’t like to hear data, but if you could let me actually get it through, we’d be actually all benefiting from this.

In the last eight years alone, costs for wind power declined by 66 percent. And the costs are predicted to continue to fall. Bloomberg, for example, predicts that onshore wind costs will fall by 47 percent by 2040 and offshore costs will fall by 71 percent.

Now I get that they’re feisty opposite, hon. Speaker, because they don’t like the real data. They’re just living in an ideological world of mysterious data.

Solar energy tells a similar story.

Mr. Speaker: Member, the question, please.

A. Weaver: Thanks. If I could actually ask the question….

Solar energy tells a similar story. Costs have decreased by 68 percent since 2009, and they’re projected to decrease by a further 27 percent in the next five years. We have a window of opportunity now to harness renewables and build power that puts us on the cutting edge of innovation and provides local jobs and benefits.

Mr. Speaker: Member, the question please.

A. Weaver: My question — if I can get it above this background of raucous Liberal members — to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, is this: are you prepared to forgo this generational opportunity to harness renewables by continuing in the B.C. Liberal footsteps with building a doomed megaproject?


Answer


Hon. M. Mungall: It’s clear that members opposite sure are feisty today. I’m glad that the member did get his question in.

He will note that part of my mandate letter is to build that road map into the future in terms of B.C.’s energy policy, looking specifically at our opportunities — our tremendous opportunities — at renewables.

But for today, we have to address this issue of Site C. No decision has been made, but we are in the decision-making process, and we take it very seriously. This is a very important decision for British Columbians well into the future, and that’s why we have ensured that we’re doing our due diligence by starting with the B.C. Utilities Commission.

We’re looking at the information that they brought forward as well as the incredible amount of information that has come out over the years about Site C, and we will be making a decision that works for British Columbians today and into future generations.


Site C and LNG in BC: Standing up for the ratepayer

Today in the Legislature I rose in Question Period to question the Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources about the need for Site C in light of a nonexistent LNG industry. I further questioned whether or not she would defend the interests of British Columbians and ensure a fair price for our natural gas assets by evoking a cancellation provision with the Progress Energy royalty agreement (as Petronas has not made a positive final investment decision).

In addition, in April, 2015 when Bill 23, The Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act was introduced by the BC Liberals, the BC NDP and I spoke out about profoundly troubling changes to the way Royalty Agreements are managed under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act. Under these changes, the Minister was granted the power to enter into secret agreements with oil and gas companies without the approval of Cabinet. I felt it was important important to see whether the Minister would agree to not undertake such agreements.

Below I reproduce the video and text of the exchange as well as a copy of our accompanying press release.


Video of Exchange



Question


A. Weaver: I think I’m living in some kind of a fantasy world here in question period today. It’s quite remarkable.

To entice LNG projects to British Columbia in 2014, the previous government promised proponents electricity rates of 8.3 cents per kilowatt hour, but that wasn’t good enough. So two years later, they dropped the rate to 5.4 cents per kilowatt hour.

Now, we know the actual cost of power from Site C, if the government continues with this project. It will be over ten cents a kilowatt hour, while residential customers today are paying 8.6 cents at tier 1 and 12.9 cents per kilowatt hour at tier 2.

Not only are residential customers paying nearly twice what hypothetical LNG companies would pay, they’re also financing Site C to provide electricity to a nonexistent industry through a business model that will lose about five cents for every kilowatt hour of energy produced. That’s B.C. Liberal economics for you. Fortunately, for the members of that party, they have one leadership candidate who hasn’t run on their abysmal economic record.

My question to the Minister of Energy, Mines…

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members, we shall hear the question, please.

A. Weaver: My question to the Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources is this. Will government admit that the only reason to continue with the construction of Site C is to provide ratepayer-subsidized power to a nonexistent LNG industry?


Answer


Hon. M. Mungall: Thank you to the member for the question. He is aware of the process that is undergoing right now. We’ve just completed the B.C. Utilities Commission review of Site C. That report was delivered just a week ago, and this government has announced that we are now moving into our analysis, and then we’ll be doing proper deliberations.

Next week myself and the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation are actually going to be formally consulting with Indigenous communities and First Nations leaders who are directly impacted by Site C. Saying anything at present about future decision-making would likely prejudge that, and I’m just not going to be doing that.


Supplementary Question


A. Weaver: The previous government did everything industry asked them to make their LNG dreams a reality. “Jump.” “How high? How often? Where to? How many times?” They wanted to deliver unicorns to each and every one of our backyards, and when they couldn’t squeeze water from a stone, they tried desperately to squeeze even harder.

They even changed the natural gas royalty legislation so that the minister could negotiate sweetheart deals in secret. They signed a deal with Progress Energy.

Interjections.

Mr. Speaker: Members.

A. Weaver: They signed a deal with Progress Energy and its partners that would have locked in low royalty rates for years and cost B.C. millions. But that contract had an escape valve. One of its conditions was a positive final investment on Pacific Northwest LNG by June of 2017. Yet Petronas decided to kill the project.

My question to the Minister of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources is this. When will the government stand up for the people of B.C., demand a fair price for our natural gas assets and terminate the long-term royalty agreement with Progress Energy? And will the minister confirm, for the record, that this government will not negotiate royalty agreements in secret with any other gas companies?


Answer


Hon. M. Mungall: I think there’s no doubt that anybody on this side of the House would agree with the member that the previous government made large promises and absolutely failed to deliver on those promises. I think we’ve canvassed a few of those: the jobs with LNG, the LNG prosperity fund, the “Debt-free B.C.” Families first, as well.

That being said, moving forward, we have committed to work with industry but also to make sure that our regulatory oversight bodies are doing their due diligence, as well, and that they have the resources to do so. On this side of the House, we want to make sure that government is working for all British Columbians and that we’re all together building a better B.C.


Media Release


November 8, 2017
For immediate release
Site C, Hydro finances demonstrate need to reverse trend of failed Liberal economic management: Weaver

VICTORIA, B.C. – Andrew Weaver, leader of the B.C. Green Party, is calling for an overhaul of BC’s approach to the energy file. Weaver says that the politicization of energy has got in the way of sound fiscal management and evidence-based policies that would protect ratepayers and allow BC to become a leader in alternative energy.

“Energy has been treated like a political tool in this province, depriving British Columbians of the leadership and sound fiscal management they deserve from their government,” said Weaver.

“Today, the NDP announced that they are freezing Hydro rates. B.C. Hydro is in a dire financial position due to the utter failure of the B.C. Liberals to responsibly manage our finances. They raided B.C. Hydro of more than half a billion dollars in dividends last year alone. ICBC is facing a similar financial mess for the same reason.

“Since the Liberals used LNG as a Hail Mary pass to clinch the 2013 election, they have been hell-bent on developing an industry that was never going to materialize. Due to Liberal enticements to LNG companies, British Columbians pay nearly twice as much as hypothetical LNG companies for their Hydro.

“Site C is yet another piece of this disturbing puzzle – it is billions of dollars over budget and was pushed through without proper oversight by BCUC to satisfy the LNG pipedream. BCUC, an independent body whose purpose is to protect ratepayers, was blocked from doing its job because of the Liberals’ blind pursuit to get to yes at any cost.

“The NDP is at a crossroads. They can continue down this path of reckless Liberal fiscal management, or they can keep their promise to be better. While I’m glad they’re reviewing BC Hydro, there are concrete steps they can take to reverse the trend of energy policy being used as a political tool. They can and should cancel the Long Term Royalty Agreement with Progress Energy, who, by the way, is responsible for the two largest unregulated dams in North Eastern BC. They can, and should stop the pilfering of BC Hydro by requiring dividends that, if not stopped, will amount to $2.8 billion by 2020.

“We cannot keep making political decisions while saddling future generations with debt. If the NDP truly want to make life more affordable, freezing hydro rates without developing an energy strategy – which will simply saddle our children with these costs – is not the solution. We have a generational opportunity to use this minority government to chart a new path for BC, one that takes us away from the BC Liberals fiscal mismanagement. It will require us to think big and to take bold action, but that is exactly what British Columbians deserve from their leaders.”

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

Clean energy, the Columbia River Treaty Entitlement & the folly of proceeding with Site C

Yesterday during budget estimate debates I took the opportunity to question the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on a number of topics involving clean energy projects, the Columbia River Treaty Entitlement and the folly of proceeding with Site C.

The line of questioning was designed to get the Minister to recognize that continuing to construct Site C is a fiscally reckless way forward. My questioning culminated with me asking the Minister directly:

Why are you not making a decision today to terminate Site C?

I was not very impressed with the responses I received.


Video of Exchange



Video of Exchange


A. Weaver: I have a series of very short questions on the Columbia River entitlement. My first question is: how much power is British Columbia entitled to under the Columbia River entitlement?

Hon. M. Mungall: The Columbia River treaty is under the purview of the Minister for Children and Family Development. It’s not under this ministry, unfortunately.

A. Weaver: This line of questioning is very germane to the topic at hand. I would suggest the minister should be able to answer this question, because the amount of power that British Columbia is able to get under the Columbia River entitlement is exactly the same, almost precisely the same as the amount that Site C would provide.

My question, then, to the minister is: how much is British Columbia getting, on average, from electricity sold to the U.S. spot market that could otherwise come to B.C. under the Columbia River entitlement?

Hon. M. Mungall: It’s $125 million at current market prices.

A. Weaver: What does that translate to in terms of per kilowatt hour or per megawatt hour, in terms of costs, that is being sold?

I didn’t mean this question to take so long. It was almost a rhetorical question, because the answer is about $40 per megawatt hour, and that calculation is done very, very quickly.

The reason why I wanted to ask that question is I would have hoped that the minister would be on top of this file. Because $40 per megawatt hour is less than half what the projected future cost…. The revenues being brought to the province are $127 million a year. Why is B.C. Hydro not considering power available under the Columbia River entitlement to meet this hypothetical demand in either the low or medium forecast?

Hon. M. Mungall: Sorry I was taking so long. There’s no need to be antagonistic. I was just trying to get some further information to provide to the member in reference to his question. He doesn’t want that, so okay.

The reason why B.C. Hydro isn’t looking at the Columbia River entitlement is partly that the Columbia River treaty is up for renegotiation. I would hope the member would know that. As a Columbia Basin resident, it’s one of the things that we’ve been working on since well before 2014, the first opportunity to give notice for renegotiation because the treaty comes to an end at 2024. It’s one of the reasons we’re not able to ensure that it’s with any certainty.

I see the member for Kootenay East. He will know this as well. Any Kootenay MLA will know this and know what’s going on presently with the Columbia River treaty.

A. Weaver: Frankly, I find that answer quite remarkable. Of course I’m aware about the Columbia River treaty, and Site C is not to be built any time before 2024…. I mean, it will be 2021 before that’s built. The reality is that there is power available today, firm power to the amount available for Site C for any interim costs.

My follow-up question to the minister is this. Why is it that we have about 170 megawatts — or 117, I believe it is — in the standing offer program that’s gone through and there’s no call for power? Why is it that B.C. Hydro did not put a call out for power at ten cents a kilowatt hour and take, accepting those applications in the standing offer program…? Because we know that the price of Site C, as noticed by the BCUC and the ongoing tension cracks that we’re seeing, is going to come in higher than that. Why was no call for power at ten cents per kilowatt hour issued?

Hon. M. Mungall: First, the standing offer program and calls for power were different types of programs.

The call for power — B.C. Hydro did calls for power in 2003, 2006, 2008. After the last one, the recommendation to the previous government was to go forward with Site C rather than another call for power. Their rationale, at the time, was that B.C. needed more firm power, not more intermittent power and that intermittent power was being generated at a higher cost than what B.C. Hydro felt they could do in terms of constructing Site C.

That’s the reason why there hasn’t been a call for power since then. The member will note this government took action in terms of bringing Site C to the B.C. Utilities Commission, as that decision to move forward without a review by the B.C. Utilities Commission was done by the previous government, not ours.

A. Weaver: I correct my previous statement. There are 137 megawatts in the standing offer program ready to go, including 15 megawatts of an amazing solar facility by Rocky Mountain Solar in the Cranbrook area ready to go — on private land, with support of the local community, transmission lines through the property, ready to go, scalable to 50 megawatts. Give them a price. They’ll deliver. We have examples of pump storage on Vancouver Island and in the Kootenays as well, ready to go, but again, B.C. Hydro is not bringing them into the fold.

So my question to the minister is this. In light of the fact that we have the BCUC, why are you not making a decision today to terminate Site C? For four years now, the B.C. Greens have pointed out the fiscal folly of moving down this path solely to deliver to below-market contracts that were signed with LNG proponents that have left British Columbia. Why, based on all the evidence, are we kicking the can down the road until December when a decision could have been made in May, it could have been made in June, it could have been made in September, and it could be made today?

Hon. M. Mungall: I just wanted to ask my staff a quick question. The member brought up pump storage, and I interpreted that to mean pump storage that is active in the Kootenays, and that was something I wasn’t aware of going on. The reason why I wasn’t aware of it is because it’s actually not taking place in the Kootenays. There may be proposals that are currently being developed by some entrepreneurial individuals, but in terms of it actually existing right now, it doesn’t. So I was just curious about that.

To answer the member’s question about why a decision isn’t being made today, why a decision wasn’t being made in May or in June. I think looking back in terms of what has happened over the summer…. The member was very active in it, so I think he knows the answer to those particular timelines.

In terms of today, well, we’ve been very clear with our process. We’ve sent things to the B.C. Utilities Commission, as we committed to the electorate that we would do, as we committed that we would do in our supply agreement with the member and other members of the Green Party. That process has now finalized in terms of the BCUC’s report on November 1. And as we’ve said, to answer the member’s question, we have to do our due diligence. We have to provide appropriate analysis of the B.C. Utilities Commission report. We have to do that due diligence, and we have to take the time appropriate to do so, and so we are doing that.

That being said, we also recognize that there is a lot of uncertainty for people. I mean, I can absolutely empathize with people in the north. I know that members opposite in the B.C. Liberal caucus are representing their interests very well in terms of wanting to make sure that a decision is done in a timely manner, and that’s why we’ve committed to doing that by the end of this calendar year.

Pushing for investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure

Yesterday during budget estimate debates I took the opportunity to question the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources on her plans for rolling out EV charging infrastructure in British Columbia.

As I mention in the discussion, reproduced in video and text below, the single biggest barrier in BC to the widespread installation of EV charging stations is the inability for anyone to charge for the electricity unless they are a registered utility. Those who install charging stations must give away the electricity for free. BC Hydro has installed only 30 (I’m serious ONLY 30) DC fast chargers throughout British Columbia! At these stations users presently pay 35 cents per kilowatt hour with a minimum of $2.00 per charge session.

Given that transportation is responsible for 40% of household greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia, and given the growing uptake of electric vehicles provincially, nationally and internationally, it’s about time we work with industry to allow for charging stations to be installed throughout BC without relying on BC Hydro and public subsidizes.


Video of Exchange



Text of Exchange


A. Weaver: I have a couple of questions — I believe it’s within the mandate of the staff that you have present — with respect to electrical vehicle infrastructure. The questions are as follows. First off, what are the minister’s plans in terms of building out the electrical vehicle charging infrastructure in this province?

Hon. M. Mungall: Thank you to the member for the question. I’m actually really excited about the potential electric vehicles have in our future. How do we get there? Of course, the infrastructure for charging stations is really important, so I’m glad the member brought this up.

He’ll take note that there is $40 million in this year’s budget, over the next three years, to invest in the electric vehicle program, and $7 million of that is specifically earmarked for infrastructure, so for those charging stations.

We’re partnering with other utilities — B.C. Hydro being one of them, but others utilities like Columbia Power Corporation, FortisBC and local governments — to increase that overall $7 million and make those dollars go even further so that we can get more charging stations all across the province.

I’ll just let the member know, as well, that B.C. Hydro currently owns and operates 30 electric vehicle fast-charging stations. They have 29 more slated for construction. To accomplish that, they are partnering with FortisBC; with the province, as well, as I mentioned; Natural Resources Canada; and site hosts. So for example, you pull up to the Canadian Tire, and you see a B.C. Hydro fast-charging station. Well, that’s a result of that partnership.

A. Weaver: I do appreciate there being the high-voltage DC chargers that B.C. Hydro has done. Unfortunately, those chargers are not maintained by B.C. Hydro, and it is not uncommon to pull up to such a charging station and, actually, to have it inoperable.

My next question is: to what extent is B.C. Hydro planning to actually ensure that these high-voltage DC charging stations are in operation and are not going to go down on an ongoing basis? For example, Duncan was down for a couple of weeks. We also have one in the Interior where the executive director of the New Car Dealers Association was trapped with a Bolt that could not charge because the HVDC was down. Nobody told anyone about it.

The question is: to what extent is B.C. Hydro going to invest money to ensure, in the ones that they operate in collaboration with Greenlots, that these are actually in operation on an ongoing basis?

Hon. M. Mungall: It’s a new technology, as the member well knows. As we install these new technologies, we’re learning a lot in terms of how we do maintenance. That’s why B.C. Hydro has a program where they are ensuring that they’re doing their best in terms of maintenance. Also, what are they learning in terms of how this infrastructure rolls out and how it’s built?

Part of that $40 million that I talked about earlier, that $40 million envelope…. Well, $1.5 million is going to job training and public outreach and program analysis. For example, when we have these types of issues with the infrastructure around charging stations, we’re able to learn from it very quickly. We’re able to train people so that they’re able to maintain it appropriately and on time.

I appreciate that being out of a charging station for two weeks is excessive, and I’m sorry to hear that that happened. But moving forward, we’re definitely looking to learn from those lessons and ensure that we’re doing a better job.

A. Weaver: I would argue that the single biggest barrier to the introduction of electric vehicles in the province of British Columbia is, in fact, B.C. Hydro. In British Columbia, if you want to install a charging station, you simply cannot charge for power. B.C. Hydro and other utilities are the sole organizations that are able to charge a consumer for power. If you go to a gas station and you fill up with gas, you pay the gas station for the amount you wish to fill up.

We don’t need a public subsidy for the introduction of electric-vehicle-charging stations if malls, individuals and companies were actually allowed to install, in partnership with companies, and charge users for the ability to consume the power they do. That’s not possible in British Columbia, and that is the single biggest barrier for our introduction of electric-vehicle-charging stations.

My question is: to what extent is she exploring, as part of these measures, and looking at changing the requirement to be a registered utility in order to charge for electricity to use in your car? And to what extent can that be done through consultation with BCUC?

Hon. M. Mungall: B.C. Hydro is not the barrier that the member is talking about. In fact, B.C. Hydro is looking to partner with private businesses and individuals and is looking to see that infrastructure expanded. What is the barrier? There is one, and the member is right to identify it. It’s actually in the act with the B.C. Utilities Commission.

Responding to that, the ministry is working with BCUC on ways to address this barrier, on ways to allow private businesses to own charging stations and to flow through the charge of power that they would be purchasing. They’d also have a sound business model. They would be able to charge for the parking, for example, while somebody is charging their car while, maybe, they’re shopping at Canadian Tire. I obviously have a particular love for Canadian Tire because I keep bringing it up.

The point is that we do recognize that there are some barriers, and we are working on them.

A. Weaver: I do wish to acknowledge, I believe, the Chair, who showed leadership, which is what I’m arguing is needed here, through the actual installation of electric-vehicle-charging stations here at the Legislature. Unfortunately, the Legislature must subsidize the paying for that. The Legislature cannot allow, even though all of these are set up for swiping a credit card, for me to pay for my electricity or the Minister of Environment to pay for his electricity.

I come back to the issue. B.C. Hydro is the barrier to innovation. Twenty-nine charging stations across British Columbia, high-voltage DC, is hardly innovative when we have some down for weeks. This is not new technology. This is technology that is widespread and is in production around the world.

B.C. has the highest uptake of new electric vehicles in Canada. Four percent of new cars are electric cars in British Columbia, not too dissimilar from what California does with their own ZEV standard, yet we do not meet the infrastructure. The barrier is actually a proactive, innovative way of looking forward as to what’s happening in the future.

Coming back to the question then. Will the minister commit to actually work with industry — not with B.C. Hydro — to ensure that there’s a means and ways for industry to use their capital to install charging infrastructure, to allow electric vehicle users to swipe a credit card to pay for power that they want to pay for so that people will have incentive to install them, rather than requiring schools and hospitals and municipal halls and the Legislature and malls to pay for that?

Charging for parking does not work, because it is patently unfair unless you charge everyone for parking. You pay for the energy you use. Again, coming back to that. Will the minister work with industry — not with B.C. Hydro — to ensure that these can be installed in British Columbia like they can in most jurisdictions in the world?

Hon. M. Mungall: As I said, the ministry is already working with industry and being a mediator between industry and B.C. Utilities Commission on this very issue.

The member did ask that we not work with B.C. Hydro. Obviously, we will be working with our Crown corporation on this issue as well.

BCUC report puts final nail in Site C’s coffin

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