Site C Dam is most expensive power option: new study

Read this May 27 story from the Alaska Highway News (via Business in Vancouver) on a new study by the Helios Centre which pegs the proposed Site C Dam as the most expensive power option for BC’s future:

A study commissioned by the Treaty 8 Tribal Association is questioning the Site C Joint Review Panel’s recently announced conclusion that Site C would be “the least expensive of the alternatives” for new energy and capacity within British Columbia.

“When compared with portfolios that make use of alternative resources, Site C is in fact the most expensive of the alternatives studied,” said Philip Raphals, of the Montreal-based Helios Centre, in a statement.

The Helios Centre is a non-profit research group aimed at fostering strategies for “a sustainable energy and climate future.” They were commissioned by the Treaty 8 Tribal Association to examine the energy scenarios discussed by the panel.

According to a release put out by Treaty 8, Raphals’ study compares the long-term costs of meeting future energy demand with and without Site C. In his analysis, Site C turned out to be the more expensive option.

Treaty 8 claimed that Raphals’ study, unlike BC Hydro’s, “explicitly took into account the losses that would occur in all the years when electricity from Site C would be exported at a loss.”

Raphals also said that he took into account a more aggressive “demand-side management” than BC Hydro.

Under demand-side management, it’s “about using less energy throughout the year,” he said. This strategy could include changes for industrial users in the province.

“Using a few more resources that BC Hydro didn’t use, one can meet the same level of demand,” said Raphals. “Essentially, they said in the very long term it’s the cheapest. I have some problems parenthetically, because there wasn’t any very serious evidence about the very long term.”

He also analyzed different scenarios for growth. In a low-growth scenario, where not a lot of future energy needs would come online, Site C would cost B.C. tax- and ratepayers more than $1.1 billion in additional costs.