Innergex is attempting to purchase and construct three power plants via the Upper Lillooet Hydro project.
"We are pleased to consolidate our presence in the Pemberton region and we look forward to strengthening our relations with local stakeholders in what has become a strategic area of development for the corporation," said Innergex President Michel Letellier in the press release.
Do we really need more IPP projects right now?
Not according to Gwen Barley, Policy Director of Wilderness Committee. She was referring to the.. open houses... that were held in Mount Currie on July 9 and in Pemberton on July 10.
"This is an important opportunity for citizens who are concerned about the gold rush that has been triggered by our provincial government's subsidization of private power projects to voice their opposition to this short sighted policy. In the last call for power, BC Hydro paid $125 megawatt hour for electricity generated by private power projects – but right now BC Hydro can buy firm electricity for $20 megawatt hour. Not only are these industrial projects a financial drain on BC Hydro – ratepayers and BC Hydro are on the hook for $40 billion in energy purchase agreements to private power producer, aside from the significant environmental impact these projects have."
BC Hydro has the obligation to buy each and every megawatt hour at a set price for the length of the lease...in the case of the Upper Lillooet River Hydro Project the lease is slated for 40 years.
"Run of the river" energy is not a storable energy. It is produced by the flow of the river and added to the transmission lines to be sold immediately.
Marvin Shaffer with the Vancouver Sun reported in his column: “The government policies directed BC Hydro to buy all the energy generated by the IPP at a price that exceeds market value, regardless of the costs to Hydro to provide backup and other services it would have to supply and assuming the market risks.
“In its rate application BC Hydro reported that by 2014 it will be buying over five million megawatt hours of private power as a result of the government's policy. This is power that BC Hydro does not yet need, would not otherwise have acquired and the BC Utilities Commission would not have approved. The average price BC Hydro will be paying for this power is well over $100 per megawatt hour and its value, based on Hydro's latest forecasts of its market, will be less than $50 per megawatt hour. The financial loss to BC Hydro will be well over $250 million in that year alone.
“As for exports, the purchase and resale by BC Hydro of low-value high-cost private power never made sense and makes even less sense now with the depressed power markets in the U.S. as BC Hydro has recently pointed out.
“What the government can and should do is to change its policies and rescind the legislation and directives that have prevented BC Hydro from planning and operating its system more efficiently.”
Why the rush to build more power plants ?
One cannot blame the private companies who have been given the... go ahead... by the government's legislation to maximise such an opportunity with the guaranteed commitment from BC Hydro to buy all the power they generate. A formula for success.
Why the rush to push forward? The rivers will still be there for a long time. Why not take the opportunity to slow down, reflect and then move forward?
Let us not give our children the opportunity to say: “Where were you when all this was going on?”
Linda Ronayne – President
Valerie Megeney – International Convener
Jeanette Helmer – Canadian Industries and Environment Convener
The Women's Institute of Canada