Robert McCullough: What we have learned from the BCUC's Final Site C Report

Terminating Site C is the best option for BC ratepayers. 

Robert McCullough provides the following report to PVLA and PVEA in response to the BCUC's final report on Site C.

Date:               November 2, 2017
To:                   PVLA and PVEA
From:              Robert McCullough

Subject:          What we have learned from the BCUC's Final Report

Executive Summary:
On August 3, 2017, Mr. Horgan’s government gave the British Columbia Utilities Commission an impossible charge.  They were to review the then $8 billion Site C project (now the $10 billion site C project) in three grueling months.  Little information was available about Site C.  The calculations were opaque and idiosyncratic; the underlying forecasts confidential; and the cost components unknown outside the Crown Corporation.
The BCUC’s first step was to assign the fact finding to the well-respected Deloitte firm which did an excellent job.  Their first report clarified the morass the project was sinking into – identifying a likely year delay and the presence of massive cost overruns.  Never has a prediction been so immediately validated when BC Hydro announced the delay of the river diversion and an additional $610 million cost overrun.
On Wednesday, at 10:00 A.M. my staff and I started reading the two hundred and ninety-nine-page Final Report.  To put it mildly, we were impressed.  Actually, we were more than impressed.  The Commission had digested and reviewed the thousands of pages of submissions, winnowed the wheat from the chaff, and made some courageous decisions:
While the Commission did not make a formal recommendation, a careful review of the Final Report makes it clear that termination of Site C is less expensive and less risky than the alternatives, and the actual content of the full report makes that very clear.

The BCUC states that:
  1. Site C is over budget and behind schedule.  The BCUC estimates costs are now at $10 billion.
  2. BC Hydro's load forecast is highly doubtful and the BCUC has recommended the use of the low forecast.
  3. The export assumptions are unrealistic.  Again, the BCUC has recommended a much lower forecast.
  4. Wind, solar, and geothermal are realistic alternatives.  Prices have declined significantly and will continue to fall.
  5. The alternative resources cost less and are more deployable
  6. BC Hydro's planning methodology is undocumented and inaccurate.
  7. There is an excellent source of hydro-electric storage in the non-treatystorage agreement -- 25 times the storage of Site C.

See below to download the rest of the McCullough Report.
Click the image below to download the
unabridged report (10 pages):

Click the image below to download the
Site C - Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to listen to Robert McCullough on CFAX 1070 with Mark Brennae (Nov 1, 2017 at 4:05pm)
For more information contact:
Robert McCullough is Principal of McCullough Research in Portland, OR, and for over thirty-seven years has advised governments, utilities, and aboriginal groups on energy, metals, paper, and chemical issues. He has testified repeatedly in state, federal, and provincial courts as well as before Congress and regulatory bodies. His testimony in front of the Senate Energy Committee is credited with initiating the Enron trading investigations during which he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and three western attorney generals. He has consulted for U.S. and Canadian clients on hydroelectric issues in many states and provinces, including on many occasions, presenting on issues before Canadian regulators.