April 05, 2016

The top long-term economic benefits of BC Hydro’s Site C hydroelectric project

Christopher WilsonRebel Commentator

When it was announced in April 2010 that the BC Government was reviving the Site C project, it marked the first major hydroelectric project approved in the province since the completion of the Revelstoke Dam in 1984 over 30 years ago.

That’s significant given our province's rich history in hydroelectric power generation.

I’ve put together a small series on hydroelectric production here in BC, featuring the past, present and future of hydroelectric dams in British Columbia.

To begin, I spent a few days last month up in northeastern BC, home of the Peace River and future home of the Site C dam. I visited with locals, talked to stakeholders on both sides, and was given a tour of the construction site and work camp.

While the project is still in its early stages, it would appear to be the kind of economic injection into a region desperately trying to deal with a downturn in the oil and gas sector.

This isn't the first time Northeastern BC has seen economic benefits thanks to investments by BC Hydro.

Join me next time as I explore the history of hydropower in BC going back over 50 years to a time when British Columbia was just beginning to emerge as a modern economy.

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commented 2016-04-08 17:17:56 -0400
Well Christopher Wilson if this is the depth of your analysis of a topic like Site C, and the economic benefits of large Hydro dams you should probably rethink your vocation. You should go into politics as a BC ‘Liberal’. They also seem unable to understand that in order to come to a conclusion about economic benefit , you also have to consider economic costs. If you think that the WAC Bennett dam was an economic benefit to the NE of BC without even asking whether the costs were ever calculated you have a select group of friends that you talk to.
commented 2016-04-05 18:05:48 -0400
Even if the power is now required in the next 10 years, it will still offset other fossil fuels in the meantime.
With the power generated at 5.8 cents per kw-hr, we should be looking at Site D and Site E dams soon.
commented 2016-04-05 17:56:20 -0400
My question is how this impacts the delta down stream and the Nations there. Interesting that only the local NE B/C Treaty 8 bands need to be consulted in the process, whereas every body on the pipelines had a say.

Also, since this is a river impacting two provinces and a territory, is this not something that needs to be federally regulated?

I think maybe Clarke’s five points for pipelines need to be applied to the project from an Alberta, Saskatchewan and a NWT point of view. That is, B/C must provide economic bribes for the project to proceed, like demanded from Alberta and Saskatchewan oil; after proving over a 20-30 year process it is ecologically sound downstream. Fair is fair.
commented 2016-04-05 17:55:52 -0400
Bill Smith – the UN’s Agenda 21 is what is going on. They want to permanently derail Canada for their one world government.
commented 2016-04-05 17:26:49 -0400
Excellent report….
There is something going on that does not meet the eye. Firstly, BC’s electricity is already 96.5% renewable derived, among the highest of any political jurisdiction in the world…. but this seems to be not good enough for enviro activists. So we have to look at their motivations. There are some enviros who simply want to crash our society and spark a revolution; however, it is doubtful that this group could attract large funding, so we look to their backers, USA Democratic billionaires. And they seem to only focus on Canada…. even though hydro electric and bio-energy are renewable and non-petroleum based, it seems not good enough for them, they specifically want wind and solar. We’ll leave solar for another day, but to have a closer look at wind, there are two primary ingredients, a resin (plastic) and a reinforcement (fiber)… combined, these two ingredients are refereed to as a composite. Composites are the only technology available to reach the strength to weight ratio needed to produce wind turbines, and even with composites, it’s barely viable and considerably more costly and intermittent. Of the two ingredients, resin and fiber, the resin is made from oil. Three resin are viable, unsaturated polyester, vinylester and epoxy. The first two have a main ingredient of styrene monomer (oil), and the latter is made of epiclorohydren (oil), reacted with bisphenol A or bisphenol F (oil)…. of these three resin types, none of them are made in Canada… they are only made by oil companies (ie TOTAL France) or customers of oil companies (ie Interplastics USA)… On the fiber side, two choices, glass fiber (mineral based.. quartz, coliminite, dolomite, clay, etc… ) or carbon fiber (oil based)… and both fibers are also not made in Canada. Carbon fiber is made of PAN acrylic (oil) and requires huge quantities of energy to produce… its production generates over 3000 kg of CO2 per ton. Glass fiber was produced in LeDuc Alberta, but the company shut down due to high costs and unstable energy supply. Glass fiber is also produced in Guelph by Owens Corning, but the OC factory is half shut-down due to extraordinarily high, newly invented environment issues and the remaining production only produces a format of glass fiber (CFM) that is not suited for wind turbine production. Glass is a mineral fiber but also needs huge amounts of energy to convert the open-pit-mined minerals into a fiber… production generates about 500 kg. of CO2 per ton of fiber.
In summary, something is not adding up. Despite BC being a world leader in renewable energy, enviro types primarily want wind. This would have Canada 100% reliant on foreign fiber and resin manufacturers, and due to the nature of composites, they will not exists without and oil industry…. oil is mandatory for wind energy components manufacturing. Chris, Ezra and others need to dig deeper to find out what is really going on here… alternatively, if there is nothing nefarious going on, eviros could quite rightly be thought of as stark raving lunatics.
commented 2016-04-05 16:44:53 -0400
Excellent report, Christopher! Looking forward to your next one.
commented 2016-04-05 16:32:27 -0400
This is a series I will be watching, this is a good news story.
It brings back memories of my youth,as I worked on the Duncan dam —west kootneys in the mid 60’s