B.C. pulls plug on power projects

BC Hydro has cancelled or deferred four electricity purchase contracts with independent power producers, and the total may reach 20

Wind turbine components await construction at independent power project near Chetwynd in 2008. High construction costs stalled B.C.'s first commercial wind energy project

BC Hydro has cancelled or deferred four electricity purchase contracts with independent power producers, and the total may reach 20 by the time a review of projects is complete, Energy Minister Bill Bennett said Thursday.

Bennett said the review is part of a broader effort by BC Hydro to meet his instruction to “spend less money,” as he leads an effort to reduce costs across all government operations.

BC Hydro proposed the move, identifying the 20 project proponents that were not meeting their contract obligations due to financing, regulatory or other problems. That non-performance gives BC Hydro legal authority to delay or terminate contracts.

The utility has contracts with 81 operating projects, mostly run-of-river hydroelectric, and another 47 are under construction or seeking permits after receiving purchase contracts.

BC Hydro released its latest draft resource plan last week, which estimates the province has enough electricity supply to meet growing demand for the next 10 years. Bennett said he is skeptical about that forecast, with population growth and industrial demand from new mines and natural gas development in northern B.C., but it gives the utility some breathing room.

“I’m a real fan of the clean energy industry, but obviously we don’t want to be agreeing to buy more power than what we need,” Bennett said.

BC Hydro has been criticized in recent years for running up billions in deferred debt, as it completes major expansion and seismic upgrading of its network of dams. A new power line to northeast B.C. has run over budget, and the NDP opposition has accused the government of forcing BC Hydro to buy private power at inflated rates through contracts running as long as 40 years.

Bennett said he has asked for a detailed analysis of the cost of private power compared to new sources such as the proposed Site C dam on the Peace River or adding turbines to BC Hydro dams on the Columbia River.

B.C.’s Clean Energy Act requires BC Hydro to be self-sufficient in electricity by 2016, based on an average rainfall year to replenish its hydro dams. The requirement is to minimize the import of power generated by burning coal or natural gas.

Just Posted

SD61 to install new water fountains over lead concerns

They’re installing 350 new water fountains in local schools due to concerns over elevated levels of lead in the water system

West Shore firefighters band together to support men’s health

More than $8,200 raised for Movember campaign

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

More than 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

UPDATE: Four vehicle crash on Sooke Road snarls traffic in Colwood

Sooke Road reopens to traffic in both direction

Belmont students, staff reunite family with long-lost war medal

Medal belonged to Sharon Hoover’s great-great uncle

VIDEO: That’s a wrap: Be a Santa to a Senior packages ready to go out

Program hands out more than 600 gifts to Greater Victoria seniors

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Woman in Nanaimo accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Optimistic Victoria whale watching company invests in new vessel

Banner 2017 tourist season helps Prince of Whales decide to boost service

Victoria cycling advocate makes pitch lor lower speeds on local roads

Group points to evidence suggesting 30 km/h speed limit would save money, lives

Most Read