A new water turbine is installed at Mica dam north of Revelstoke. The addition of the fifth and sixth turbines

Weather windfall for U.S. power exports

Warm winter left record water levels in B.C.'s Peace and Columbia River reservoirs, with water released to alleviate U.S. drought

A warm winter and a dry spring and summer combined to produce a big jump in BC Hydro power exports this year.

Electricity exports to the U.S. jumped by 73 per cent in the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to export data from Statistics Canada.

BC Hydro says the warmer winter decreased residential customer demand for electricity in B.C., leaving enough water in the Columbia and Peace River reservoirs that their combined volume reached record highs by the end of March 2015. That allowed for more generation from Mica dam on the Columbia River, which recently had a fifth and sixth turbine added to bring it up to maximum design capacity.

“These exports also supported the management of the obligations under the Columbia River Treaty, which provide for increased releases of water from the Canadian Columbia basin when the U.S. basin finds itself in severe drought conditions, as it did in the spring and summer of 2015,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer. “Ultimately, the increased release meant additional generation at Mica, which resulted in more energy available for export.”

The Columbia River Treaty was signed by Canada and the U.S. in 1964, and its flood control mandate is set to expire in 2024. Energy Minister Bill Bennett has argued that the treaty should be renewed with an increased annual payment from the U.S., to reflect the value of controlling the river on the Canadian side for flood control and irrigation for agriculture in Washington state.

The increase in electricity sales was a bright spot for B.C. exports, the value of which fell 22.2 per cent from January to August, due mainly to falling natural gas prices.

Electricity prices also fell during that period, so the 73 per cent increase in exports resulted in only a 32.2 per cent increase in value. Decreases in gas and electricity prices are related to greatly increased shale gas production in the U.S., which is used for power production as well as heating fuel.

 

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

Just Posted

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

Sidney Lions, Peninsula-raised designer craft nearly 200 masks for area seniors

182 masks were distributed to four Saanich Peninsula care homes

What Sooke School District schools will look like on first day of reopening

No water fountains, rotating schedules and face masks not required

Saanich residents sound alarm after second owl dies of rat poison

Great Horned Owl found in Kings Park killed by three rodenticides

Point-guard lobs no-look, three-pointer for Oak Bay High video

Trick-shot only took three times, says Oak Bay teen

VIDEO: Victoria dental staff dance to *NSYNC to promote reopening

Urban Smiles staff ‘want you back’ after closure in response to pandemic

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read