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