Site C Inquiry Update: Termination is Still the Best Option

Terminate Site C and save BC Ratepayers $2.6 to $4.2 billion.  

or 

Build Site C instead of wind power, miss out on billions of savings, and sell the unneeded power to Alberta at a heavily discounted price with BC ratepayers picking up the difference.

What would you do? 


See the latest report in the Site C Inquiry from Robert McCullough, of McCullough Research, below.

 
 
Date:               October 26, 2017
 
To:                   PVLA and PVEA
 
From:              Robert McCullough

 
Subject:          Site C Inquiry Update

 

British Columbia Hydro’s proposed Site C dam is now in its final week of regulatory review. We expect that the report will be publicly released on November 1st. We will be preparing an analysis of the report.

The vast majority of materials filed have supported termination of the project in favor of solutions that are less expensive, more deployable in response to actual requirements, and less environmentally destructive. We have filed extensive materials and testified twice at the Technical Presentation Sessions on October 13 and 14, 2017.

The basic economics indicate savings of Can$2.6 to Can$4.2 billion if the project is terminated and replaced with a portfolio of primarily wind power: 

 

This is close to a Can$1,000 savings for every adult in British Columbia.

Importantly, the savings from termination still exceed the costs of completing Site C even if assumptions are adopted that are not supported by the evidence or standard economics. Site C should still be terminated even if:

  • The BC Hydro high load forecast is used,

  • Sunk costs are included,

  • Existing storage is reserved for export markets.


That said, cancellation of Site C is still opposed by BC Hydro on several economic grounds.

For example, replacing a 1,100 MW hydroelectric project with wind or solar is difficult in jurisdictions that do not have an extensive ability to store and shape intermittent resources.

BC Hydro submits that without Site C, British Columbia does not have sufficient capacity and has run out of hydroelectric storage.

This is an interesting hypothesis since some of the largest reservoirs in North America are in British Columbia. And even more curious, British Columbia Hydro's own submissions have made clear that Site C’s storage – only 4/10ths of 1% of Williston -- is incapable of supporting seasonal operations.

Click the image below to read the rest of the McCullough Report:
 
 
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.