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.

BC HydroBC legislatureSite C

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

Just Posted

Reports of gunshots

No shooting according to RCMP

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

Most Read