Former premier Christy Clark and former B.C. Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald, November 2015. (Black Press files)

Site C dam benefits undersold, consultant says

Union group hires former Columbia Power CEO to study project

Scrapping the Site C dam project would cost $4 billion and B.C. Hydro would then have to start developing riskier alternatives, says a new analysis of the project.

The Allied Hydro Council of B.C., a group of heavy construction unions, hired a former CEO of Columbia Power Corp., Lorne Sivertson, to analyze the recent review ordered by Premier John Horgan of the third dam on the Peace River. Sivertson said the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) made “serious errors,” including under-valuing Site C’s reliable power output and B.C.’s future power needs.

At a news conference in Vancouver Wednesday to release the report, Sivertson was joined by energy lawyer Jim Quail to argue that Site C should go ahead, despite the B.C. Liberal government’s rush to get it going without independent analysis of its needs and risks.

“While we can all agree that the B.C. Liberal government was incredibly reckless in not putting Site C to a full review by the BCUC years before construction started and letting all interested parties submit evidence for consideration, the province now has to decide how best to proceed with the funding already invested,” Quail said.

Sivertson had a list of criticisms of the BCUC findings, conducted this fall with a Nov. 1 deadline imposed by the incoming NDP government. They include:

• If B.C.’s energy demand grows by just one per cent per year from 2017 to 2036, and federal and provincial targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are to be met, “the equivalent of three Site C dams will be needed”

• The BCUC described the project’s demand forecast as too optimistic, but “if the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow as rapidly as recent statistics show, even B.C. Hydro’s growth forecast will be low.”

• The BCUC’s suggestion to use power now sold to the U.S. under the Columbia River Treaty runs the risk that the U.S. will cancel the treaty

• B.C. Hydro’s growth projections are not dependent on development of a liquefied natural gas industry.

Allied Hydro Council of B.C. business agent Wayne Peppard also touted the benefits of returning to project labour agreements, essentially making Site C a closed shop for traditional building trade union workers, to keep the project on schedule.

Just Posted

Trail and area artists eligible for arts training grant

Grant to support learning for visual and performance artists

New affordable housing in the works for East Trail

The proposal involves tearing down the old McBride Manor house and building a “nine-plex”

Snow hosts available to help you explore the Rossland Range

Safe and responsible way to learn about Rossland Recreation Site

Support for Music Heals Program in Trail

The music therapy program for seniors runs in Columbia View Lodge

South Columbia SAR hoping season stays relatively quiet

Group has responded to four calls so far this winter

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Canucks rookie Elias Pettersson ‘feeling good’ after knee injury

Pettersson said he wasn’t feeling any pain during Wednesday’s skate

Most Read