SOURCE: Peace Valley Landowner Association

October 19, 2017 18:32 ET

McCullough Report: BC Hydro Site C defence gets failing grade

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - October 19, 2017) - Yesterday, the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) and Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA) made their final submission to the BCUC Site C Inquiry Review Panel. The report, prepared by McCullough Research, speaks to the BCUC's own October 11 Alternative Portfolio findings, consisting primarily of a composition of wind power with battery backup.

Internationally respected energy expert Robert McCullough found that contrary to BC Hydro's assertions, the BCUC October 11 Alternative Portfolio:

  • is less expensive than a portfolio with Site C, even considering sunk and termination costs;
  • includes resources that are commercially feasible; and,
  • does allow for the firming, shaping and storage capability to meet forecast need.

Building the BCUC's wind powered portfolio instead of Site C will save BC ratepayers between $0.5 and $2.1 billion, even if sunk costs and termination costs are included.

Other key points that arise from a review of the McCullough report:

  1. BC Hydro has not included storage capacity at the Mica Dam in its energy analysis. This is a low cost source of significant extra capacity.

  2. BC Hydro continues to use outdated forecasts which incorrectly show that surplus electricity can be sold at a profit into the United States export market.

  3. BC Hydro says it is expanding demand supply management (energy conservation programs), when it is not.

  4. BC Hydro says that it cannot build wind power and must turn to the private sector which is much more costly. This is not true. If BC Hydro cannot develop the expertise to build wind in house, the private sector will be able access competitive financing, with a BC Hydro energy purchase contract in hand, to build.

  5. BC Hydro says battery costs are higher than the BCUC forecasts, which is not supported by the evidence.

  6. BC Hydro says the BCUC's peak power prices to move load off peak are unrealistic. This ignores the fact that BC Hydro's industrial load forecast is dropping in key areas such as pulp and paper, so peak pricing is not needed. It is also important to note electric vehicle charging will happen off peak, and if it doesn't, time of use pricing can be used to encourage that consumer behaviour.

  7. BC Hydro used out of date estimates for the cost of wind power. The BCUC cost estimates for wind power now, and in the future, are consistent with well-respected international benchmarks. Just across the border, wind power is being built at very low cost.

  8. BC Hydro continues to assert that geothermal is not a viable low cost resource option in BC. As the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) report shows (link included below), this is not true. Low cost viable geothermal power can be deployed on the same timetable as Site C. Everywhere else in North America geothermal is used in areas with the same geology as BC.

  9. BC Hydro says consumer demand is growing, this is incorrect. The most recent quarterly report, issued by BC Hydro on October 16 (over a month late, and after the BCUC technical presentations were over), reveals no growth in demand for electricity by consumers in BC. In fact, the recent quarterly report shows the total gigawatt hours sold to domestic customers (industrial, residential, and commercial) decreased by almost 5% from the same quarter in 2016.

"We look forward to unequivocal advice from the BCUC to cancel Site C," says Ken Boon, PVLA President. "The case is clear and compelling. The project is not past the point of no return and we will be looking to the provincial government to act in the best interest of all ratepayers and taxpayers, and cancel this project."

To read McCullough Research's most recent report, submitted to the BCUC Site C Inquiry on October 18, click here.

Additional Materials:

To download the full McCullough Report, and to read all other expert reports submitted by PVLA and PVEA to the BCUC Site C Inquiry, please visit: www.peacevalleyland.com/sitecinquiry.

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.

Contact Information

  • For more information, please contact:

    Robert McCullough
    McCullough Research
    503-784-3758 or 503-771-5090

    Ken Boon
    President
    Peace Valley Landowner Association
    250-262-9014

    Alison Thompson
    Chair
    Canadian Geothermal Energy Association
    604-360-3994