‘That will have to change if B.C. is to pursue its CleanBC plans,’ says head of Clean Energy B.C.
Dozens of solar, wind and run-of-river power projects have been indefinitely suspended by the provincial government in an effort to manage the cost of electricity from independent power producers.
“That will have to change if B.C. is to pursue its CleanBC plans,” according to Jae Mather, executive director of Clean Energy B.C. By turning its back on alternative energy, B.C. is missing the opportunity to make electricity cheaper for consumers.
“The price of wind and solar is the lowest of any form of electricity generated on the planet right now,” he said in an interview.
The provincial government’s CleanBC plan calls for a massive program of electrification of homes, industry and transportation with aggressive greenhouse-gas reduction targets set for 2030.
By 2040, every car sold in B.C. is to be zero emission, while every home is to be net-zero energy ready by 2032.
“We will need more renewable energy if we are going to meet those goals for electrification,” said Mather. “Electrifying industries like liquid natural gas could require the power of two Site C dams.”
A second phase of CleanBC with even deeper reduction targets is expected to roll out this year and next.
B.C. Hydro predicts the province’s electricity-demand requirements will rise by about 26 per cent between 2020 and 2035 in its most recent rates revenue application to the BC Utilities Commission and that it will have a “surplus supply of energy” until the early 2030s.
The Clean Energy B.C. white paper released late last year paints a very different picture, predicting demand for electricity will go up 50 per cent if B.C. is to meet it’s 2030 GHG targets.
However, after the Site C dam was approved the Crown utility approved five modest clean energy projects with First Nations and shelved 14 others in various stages of the approval process pending a review of its procurement policies and future energy needs.
Now, B.C. Hydro’s Standing Offer Program for independent power producers has been suspended indefinitely, the government announced Thursday.
Around 250 alternative energy projects identified by Clean Energy BC and First Nations are stalled while the process plays out, said Mather.
Adding to the gloom, a report released Wednesday found that B.C. Hydro is overpaying for power in contracts it has already signed with independent power producers. As a result, customers are paying $200 a year more than they should be, the report said.
“The problem with that report is that it is looking backwards, not the current state of play or the future,” said Mather. “We have major power producers rolling out renewable energy systems around the world because they make financial sense.”
Distributed power projects are also a useful tool for economic development in rural B.C.
There are about 125 independent power projects already operating in B.C., almost all of them partnerships with First Nations.
Clean Energy B.C. has about $10 billion worth of clean energy projects ready to go with another 27 first nations, said Mather.
More to come …
LISTEN: Mike Smyth and Rob Shaw answer all the important questions raised by the B.C. NDP government’s throne speech. Why all the populist measures? Can the B.C. government really act on changing your cellphone bill? What do allies and critics think of the speech? Smyth and Shaw also talk about Liberal MLA Linda Reid having to resign her assistant deputy speaker’s job and Premier John Horgan resisting calls for a public inquiry into money laundering.
CLICK HERE to report a typo.
Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email [email protected].