B.C. pulls plug on power projects

BC Hydro has cancelled or deferred four electricity purchase contracts with independent power producers, and the total may reach 20

Wind turbine components await construction at independent power project near Chetwynd in 2008. High construction costs stalled B.C.'s first commercial wind energy project

BC Hydro has cancelled or deferred four electricity purchase contracts with independent power producers, and the total may reach 20 by the time a review of projects is complete, Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Thursday.

Bennett said the review is part of a broader effort by BC Hydro to meet his instruction to “spend less money,” as he leads an effort to reduce costs across all government operations.

BC Hydro proposed the move, identifying the 20 project proponents that were not meeting their contract obligations due to financing, regulatory or other problems. That non-performance gives BC Hydro legal authority to delay or terminate contracts.

The utility has contracts with 81 operating projects, mostly run-of-river hydroelectric, and another 47 are under construction or seeking permits after receiving purchase contracts.

BC Hydro released its latest draft resource plan last week, which estimates the province has enough electricity supply to meet growing demand for the next 10 years. Bennett said he is skeptical about that forecast, with population growth and industrial demand from new mines and natural gas development in northern B.C., but it gives the utility some breathing room.

“I’m a real fan of the clean energy industry, but obviously we don’t want to be agreeing to buy more power than what we need,” Bennett said.

BC Hydro has been criticized in recent years for running up billions in deferred debt, as it completes major expansion and seismic upgrading of its network of dams. A new power line to northeast B.C. has run over budget, and the NDP opposition has accused the government of forcing BC Hydro to buy private power at inflated rates through contracts running as long as 40 years.

Bennett said he has asked for a detailed analysis of the cost of private power compared to new sources such as the proposed Site C dam on the Peace River or adding turbines to BC Hydro dams on the Columbia River.

B.C.’s Clean Energy Act requires BC Hydro to be self-sufficient in electricity by 2016, based on an average rainfall year to replenish its hydro dams. The requirement is to minimize the import of power generated by burning coal or natural gas.

Just Posted

Mackenzie Interchange pump failure sends contaminated water into Colquitz River

Sediment release in salmon-bearing river a serious threat to aquatic life, says local activist

WATCH: Booze, weed both have fatal consequences

Video shows how easily impairment affects driving

Catch last call and a cheap ride home: Late night buses coming to Victoria in 2019

New plan will extend service on weekends with last trip leaving downtown at 3 a.m.

1,000 free Christmas meals served at Our Place

Community donations fuel support for those in need

Uvic to launch app to link drug users with Naloxone kits

Researchers have spent the last year developing the Nal-Pal app

Santa visits some of Victoria General Hospital’s littlest patients

Santa flew in to the hospital via air ambulance helicopter

READER POLL: Do you have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner?

What are you having for Christmas dinner? Canadians gobbled up 3.3 million… Continue reading

Lightning top Canucks 5-2 in feisty battle

NHL’s No. 1 team too much for Vancouver

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 18, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Bear cubs try to take Vancouver Island woman’s Christmas cookies

Incident happened in the early-morning hours today, Dec. 18, in Nanaimo

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Most Read