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

Williams Lake-based charter bus company applies to operate two routes in interior

Service to smaller communities such as 70 Mile House, Lytton and Boston Bar

108 VFD to conduct small controlled burns around 108 Mile Ranch

Burns will be done mainly on Tuesday evenings

100 Mile RCMP track and recover stolen side-by-side

The weekly RCMP report for the South Cariboo area

Highway travel advisories in place due to risk of mudslides

North Bonaparte Road closed due to flooding

VIDEO: RCMP reveal five kids hit in deadly B.C. crash

The children range in age from six to 17.

Study: Why Canadian police should have a dedicated animal cruelty unit

People view fighting animal cruelty as a public responsibility

Convicted pedophile from B.C. raises fears after move to Ontario

Police have issued a warning about Madilyn Harks in Brampton

Mystery plane wakes up B.C. residents

An aircraft circled Langley City over the weekend after midnight for about an hour

Yellow snake spotted slithering in Greater Victoria neighbourhood

Police describe it as ‘large, pale [and] yellow’ suggesting the snake may be exotic

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

British Columbians are paying more for booze but also broccoli

Victoria’s inflation was 2.3 per cent, a tick above Vancouver’s of 2.2 per cent

UPDATED: IHIT investigating fatal crash in Surrey

Three people dead, investigators expected to be at scene ‘for significant amount of time’

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read