Private power an alternative to Site C

Wind and run-of-river projects are still in the running, if they can deliver at a competitive price, Energy Minister Bill Bennett says

Wind turbines at Dokie Ridge near Chetwynd. Private power developers are pitching their run-of-river and wind as an alternative to another big dam.

Wind turbines at Dokie Ridge near Chetwynd. Private power developers are pitching their run-of-river and wind as an alternative to another big dam.

Privately developed run-of-river, wind and solar power remains a possible alternative to a third dam on the Peace River, Energy Minister Bill Bennett says.

Bennett was responding to this week’s decision by the federal and B.C. environment ministries to recommend construction of the Site C dam, which would flood another 83 km of the Peace River valley near Fort St. John.

Bennett said some people have incorrectly interpreted the environmental assessment certificates as a green light for the project, which BC Hydro has considered for 35 years. Studies of natural gas power generation and private clean energy projects are continuing, and a recommendation to cabinet will be made in November, Bennett said.

Studies have shown that equivalent natural gas power plants would be “marginally cheaper” than Site C, which would provide 8.5 per cent of the province’s electricity supply, but that option would require amendment of the province’s clean energy legislation.

“I believe there would be significant public opposition to utilizing gas to generate all of that electricity,” Bennett said. “It’s not totally off the table but it isn’t something that I think has legs.”

Outside experts have endorsed BC Hydro’s forecast that its electricity demand will increase by 40 per cent in the next 20 years, with most of that met through conservation.

Bennett said that forecast may prove to be low if liquefied natural gas production, new mines and other industrial developments proceed.

The government acknowledges that seven aboriginal communities in the Peace region oppose Site C. Environment Minister Mary Polak said they do not have authority to veto the project, a position that may be tested in court if the cabinet approves Site C to proceed next year.

Bennett said the cost of wind, solar and other renewable energy is coming down, but any private alternative would have to include the additional costs of power lines and backup power for intermittent sources.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sean Hart, 34, unexpectedly left the Seven Oaks Tertiary Mental Health Facility in Saanich on Nov. 6, 2020 and has now been missing for six months. (Photo courtesy Penny Hart)
Search continues for Saanich man Sean Hart six months after his disappearance

Support from community, police keeps his mother hopeful

Police stopped, then let go this man and his large collection of cans during a stop Monday morning on Resthaven Drive. Police had received a report of a possible theft, but let him go after he had returned the property, which he believed was his to take after being left out in public. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Report of theft, balancing act on Sidney street draws curious onlookers

Incident happened just before 8:30 a.m. opposite of Vancouver Island Regional Library branch

Oak Bay resident Hugh Thompson died Friday, May 7. (GoFundMe photo)
Oak Bay dad dies mountain biking near Shawnigan Lake

Community rallies around family with online fundraiser

Daniel Foster, last seen in downtown Parksville on Saturday, May 1. (submitted photo)
RCMP seek help locating missing Victoria man, last spotted in Parksville

Daniel Foster, 43, seen via surveillance camera using an ATM

Victoria Police Department looks to identify a person of interest after a Friday night stabbing. (VicPD handout)
Police seek person of interest after Victoria stabbing

Friday night assault leaves one with potentially life-altering injuries

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health, hosts an update on efforts to contain B.C.’s COVID-19 transmission in Surrey and the Fraser Valley and protect hospitals in the Lower Mainland, May 6, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate slowing, 20 more people die

Deaths include two people in their 40s, two in their 50s

Most Read