A preliminary report from a BC Utilities Commission Panel finds it can’t yet determine the impact to taxpayers of continuing, suspending or cancelling the Site C dam mega-project.
The $8.3 billion dollar hydroelectric dam would span the Peace River near Fort St. John
In early August, the Commission was asked by the new NDP government to advise on the consequences of three possible options, even though B-C Hydro says it has already spent 1.8-billion dollars on the dam,
(i) completing the Site C project by 2024, as currently planned;
(ii) suspending the Site C project, while maintaining the option to resume construction until 2024; and
(iii) terminating construction and remediating the site.
The preliminary report finds that the project is on time but couldn’t say whether or not it is on budget.
“After having reviewed BC Hydro’s expenditures and other documentation, the Panel finds that the Site C Project is, as of June 30, 2017, on time for an in-service date of November 2024,” the report reads.
“After having reviewed BC Hydro’s expenditures and other documentation, the Panel finds that it has insufficient information at this point to determine whether the Project is within its proposed budget,
The Panel also wavered on how necessary Site C will be in helping BC Hydro meet future demand for electricity.
“The Panel is concerned that, given the long-life of the Site C asset, BC Hydro has only identified a potential upside risks to the load forecast from electrification, and has not identified any potential downside risks.”
It advises the utility to consider alternative sources of energy including biomass, geothermal, solar and battery storage.
In the end, the Panel says it cannot yet provide the answers it was asked to find.
“The Panel finds that it is not yet in a position to assess the cost impact to ratepayers of continuing, suspending or terminating construction. ”
The final report is due November 1st.
There will be a public information sessions on Site C project in Nanaimo on October 10th and in Victoria on October 11th
You can read the preliminary report here.