Dokie Ridge wind farm near Chetwynd B.C. in 2010. B.C.’s existing wind energy is mostly near the Peace River dams in northeastern B.C. with run-of-river mainly in the southwest. (Black Press files)

B.C. examines new directions for renewable electricity projects

Municipal utilities, restoring B.C. Hydro ownership on table, Michelle Mungall says

The B.C. NDP government’s cancellation of B.C. Hydro’s contract power program is a step toward new ways of adding clean energy to the province’s electricity grid, Energy Minister Michelle Mungall says.

B.C. Hydro has excess power now and is losing billions selling it on the North American energy market while locked into long-term contracts, but that’s not the end of the need, Mungall said in an interview with Black Press Monday.

The cancellation of B.C. Hydro’s “standing offer” program for run-of-river, wind, solar and biomass power projects leaves the door open for Indigenous energy developments to proceed.

“When we went forward with Site C we committed to working with Indigenous nations on future power procurement,” Mungall said. “A lot of Indigenous nations have seen energy as a part of economic reconciliation, but also for remote communities to get off diesel and onto more renewable sources that they own as well.”

With the Site C dam on the Peace River not scheduled to come online until 2024, new renewable projects are to be considered in the second phase of the government’s B.C. Hydro review, Mungall said. That includes removing the B.C. Liberal government’s ban on the utility owning and operating its own small projects, or allowing local governments to get into the power production business.

READ MORE: B.C. Hydro bailout keeps rate rise to 8.1% over five years

READ MORE: B.C.’s private power shows up as big charge on hydro bills

Mungall’s home community of Nelson has its own power utility and hydro dam on the Kootenay River that supplies more than half of its own needs, buying the rest from FortisBC.

“Would it be better for local governments to develop an asset and then have an agreement with B.C. Hydro for transmission,” Mungall said. “There is a variety of ways we can deliver the power that future generations are going to need.”

Clean Energy B.C., the industry organization for private producers, objected to the government’s characterization of billions being lost in power contracts that run for as long as 40 years. A review by a former B.C. Treasury Board official also supported the long-time NDP claim that run-of-river power comes in the spring, when B.C. Hydro’s dams may be filled to overflowing with melting snow.

“Intermittence in electricity generation is an element of the equation, but B.C.’s large storage dams provide ideal backing for a system that still has far less intermittent power than Washington State, the U.K., Denmark, Germany and many other jurisdictions,” Clean Energy B.C. said it its response. “Not all run-of-river hydro plants are affected by the spring freshet snow melt.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Still no firm plan for cold-weather shelter in Parksville

BC Housing says community partners will present their plans in ‘coming weeks’

Person airlifted to hospital from Parksville Community Park

Police say ‘no danger to the public’ following incident

RCMP looking for missing 26-year-old woman, last seen in Parksville

Public asked for assistance finding Felicia Olteanu

Car crashes on Northwest Bay Road in Nanoose Bay

Single-lane alternating traffic on Northwest Bay at Wall Beach Road

Ballenas JV Whalers reach final four in Subway Bowl competition

Gridiron squad tames Timberwolves 28-6, will face South Kamloops in semifinals

VIDEO: Disney Plus adds disclaimer about racist stereotypes

Disney’s disclaimer is a good way to begin discussion about the larger issue of racism

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

First Nations ‘optimistic’ about road upgrades after Horgan visits site of fatal bus crash

Premier travelled Bamfield Main road, where bus flipped last September and two students were killed

B.C. man facing 18 charges after hidden camera found in Kelowna winery washroom

The camera was found at Summerhill Winery on Aug. 23

No new rules needed to ensure timely youth justice, Supreme Court says

Charter of Rights and Freedoms says someone charged with an offence has the right to be tried within a reasonable time

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Most Read