BC Hydro advised to sign contracts with caution as Horgan calls for Site C hydropower plant review

BC Hydro is again feeling pressure to cancel development of its controversial 1,100-MW Site C hydroelectric plant after week in which New Democratic Party leader John Horgan advised the utility against signing any contracts associated with the project.

In a letter addressed to BC Hydro president Jessica McDonald last week, Hogran says it is the duty of the NDP to halt the project until it can be independently reviewed by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

As such, Hogran said, BC Hydro should abstain from signing any deals it could not cancel for free, should the CAD$8.8 billion project falter.

“I am concerned about the potential to increase the liability of BC Hydro, BC Hydro ratepayers and taxpayers for new contracts that BC Hydro may be contemplating during this time of uncertainty,” Hogran said in the letter.

Hogran’s memo wrapped up a whirlwind two weeks that started when BC Hydro received compliance orders from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for failing to meet water quality and fish habitat stipulations.

The company has until June 9 to comply with CEAA’s orders, after which point it could face penalties of up to $400,000 for repeated offenses.

The Site C project is being built on the Peace River near Fort St. John. Site excavation work has been under way for nearly two years. There are more than 1,500 workers on the construction site, BC Hydro said earlier this year.

Site C will be the third hydroelectric project on the Peace River, joining 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum and 694-MW Peace Canyon. The site was chosen for potential development in 1976, but has faced significant opposition throughout its development. HydroWorld.com reported in January that Canada’s Federal Court of Appeal had dismissed a lawsuit that would have prevented work on the plant from advancing.



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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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