Guest post:Keeping the Site C mistake in focus
Rarely do I open up the blog to guest posts, but these comments from Roger Bryenton came my way via retired economist Erik Andersen as a normal matter of sharing information. Roger Bryenton is semi-retired former Professional Engineer, with experience in energy systems consulting, energy conservation and renewable energy work internationally. He is a partner in a restored small hydro plant in south-eastern BC, have worked with passive solar design, wind, geothermal and small hydro systems. He has been involved with electrical and thermal energy conservation( low energy homes and buildings, state of the art lighting technologies, community-based energy programs, remote-community systems, and energy commission research and hearings) and has consulted on hydrology and fresh-water projects and ground-water recharge systems in North and South America.
He is presently one of the directors of the BC Hydro Ratepayers,a group working toward keeping BC Hydro “for the people”, and is involved with a network of about 60 lower mainland organizations concerned that BC Hydro’s Site C project is an environmental and financial disaster and must not proceed. They are an amazing group of dedicated people caring deeply about leaving a “better planet” for future generations.
In his own words, we must keep the Site C mistake in focus. And this is why:
1. The overall cost of Site C is not accurately represented by BC Hydro. They have been stating $8.8 Billion.That is at the “point of interconnection”, at Hudson’s Hope or Peace Canyon. BC Hydro are effectively “hiding” transmission and distribution costs by assigning them individual capital costs, under capital projects for “reinforcement and system upgrades” . The “real costs” of getting the power to the lower mainland and Vancouver Island are in the order of an additional $2 billion, which rounds up the overall cost to $11 Billion.
***( Note by Laila: Research of mega dam projects around the world has shown that most large dam projects are not worth the costs,run over in construction time and costs and impact budgets for years beyond that. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/opinion/sunday/large-dams-just-arent-worth-the-cost.html?_r=0 ) We are seeing this again in Newfoundland where Hydro execs there recently admitted they were wrong about the overdue and way over budget Muskrat Falls project, now saying it was wrong to build it. https://lailayuile.com/2016/06/24/shocking-admission-from-nalcor-energy-ceo-serves-as-chilling-warning-to-bc-government-that-exempted-site-c-project-from-independent-review-of-bcuc/ ***
2. The “numbers” for the cost of power from Site C, delivered to the lower mainland and Vancouver Island, locations of most of the power users, is $145/MWh, based on Eoin Finn and Erik Andersen’s numbers we have developed. This is in sharp contrast to the Minister’s email from April 1st,stating that the cost would be $64/MWh. Either he is badly informed or he is lying. The $145 is also much greater than the IPP’s have been criticized for selling to BCH, at $100/MWh.
3. The impact of the $11 Billion, over 8 years of construction is to effectively add about $1 Billion per year, (which by the way is about $ 3 Million a day in spending). That $! Billion is about a 25% increase to BC Hydro’s expense, and “need for revenue”. If it were not put into a deferral account it would need an additional 25% rate increase to balance revenue with expenses. This huge expense threatens the financial structure of BC Hydro and the entire province, as it is $11 Billion that is critical to other infrastructure and capital spending, as well as operational for education, health and medical care, jobs creation, community services, environmental challenges, climate change, forestry and other resource maintenance, etc.
4.The Fisheries permit was issued, July 27th, with tan amended version issued August 25, and I believe I have sent you a copy of my “critique” (attached – a :frightening” document). The Minister has badly breached his duty to “protect, preserve, manage, and conserve the resource, and to ensure sustainability and ongoing productivity of the resource”. By ignoring the scientific. engineering and other technical evidence that there is no need for electricity, he has breached his duty. By ignoring the wide array of alternatives to conservation and other supply options for new electricity he has breached his duty. By ignoring the published reports by hundreds of scientific writers, and scholars he has ignored the “public interest” which he is obliged to consider, and has breached his duty.
5.**** Most recently, on the CBC radio show, “The Current”, BC Hydro’s spokesperson David Conway stated that “This is about the Future. This is about the load(need for electricity) in 20 to 40 years”. More now than ever, it is clear that BC Hydro are proceeding with an unnecessary project.
***( Note by Laila: The timeline for needing the load from Site C is all over the map as Hydro and government flounder to continue to justify this projec, as noted in this letter to the editor : http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/opinion/letters/site-c-comments-raise-eyebrows-1.2334390 ) ***
6. The fracking in the Peace area has created a seismic event of 4.6 since June 30th (I believe). BC Hydro and the Oil and Gas Branch have issued a notice (I believe) to prevent fracking within 5 km of the existing dams. (I have not yet researched the effective ground motion of a 4.6 at 2km depth. Generally earthquakes occur between 10 km and 20 km underground and I believe this would result in different amplitude ground movement, for both the pressure and the shake waves.) What are the structural implications for a massive dam, or for a reservoir with slopes already experiencing major movements – eg the 1973 (was it) slide? What else could be triggered? We have not been able to reach the UBC or other seismic or engineering specialists to obtain their opinions(s).
7. I have analyzed the “real cost” of electricity, per kWh, from BC Hydro. A very modest user is paying 15 cents or more, while the average user pays less than 10 cents. (see attached chart)
This the excerpt from the transcript to that interview from CBC’s The Current in which Dave Conway, the PR flack for Site C, talks about the load when the host asks him about the need:
RB: But is this energy even needed? Because B.C.’s Energy Minister Bill Bennett said that the need has not increased in eight years, in fact he said there was a surplus of clean energy in B.C. So how do you respond to that?
DAVE CONWAY: Well, this isn’t about today, this is about the future. So, this is about load that’s 20 to 40 years out. And the projects like this take a significant period of time to build. We’ve been at this since 2007, and we’ve just initiated construction. But it’s about load 20 to 40 years from now. And we’re building this based on StatsCan projection of a population growth of more than a million people in the next 20 years. And potential economic development coming from mining, forestry, and potentially natural gas and liquid natural gas development. So it’s not about today, it’s not about the surplus and capacity that’s here today, it’s about what the requirement is 20-40 years out. As was the case when our heritage assets like the W.A.C. Bennett Dam were built back in the 60s and the 70s.
As we welcome September, its increasingly urgent to bring as much attention to the history of this project in an effort to halt construction and force the government to send this to the BC Utilities Commission – BC Hydro wants to evict landowners out of their homes and off their land before Christmas. They have been excavating all manner of archeological artifacts off of the Boones land and have cleared trees for a flood that wont happen for at least 10 years if ever.
I continue to stand with growing numbers in support of those in the Peace River valley for many reasons – one is that I feel strongly that the province of British Columbia has been negligent in exempting Site C from independent review of the BC Utilities Commission, the regulatory agency.
Both the premier and duly elected Liberal MLA’s have failed in their inherent duty to act in the best interests of British Columbian taxpayers by refusing every request by not only voters, but also municipalities and organizations across BC to put the project before the BC Utilities Commission- the agency created by government to review these kinds of projects and make sure they are in the best interests of BC Hydro ratepayers.
In addition,by commencing preliminary site preparation despite outstanding lawsuits by local First Nations against Site C, the province has failed in its duty to consult and honour Treaty 8 and demonstrated a complete lack of regard for due process. There is a caravan leaving shortly to attend the court proceedings back east and I will have ongoing updates for you on that.
Until then, please share. Please inform. And please, help keep the last remaining untouched portion of the Peace, for generations to come.