BC Hydro has begun a pre-consultation process to collect input from affected communities and stakeholders on the 900-MW Site C hydroelectric project proposed for British Columbia’s Peace River.
BC Hydro announced Dec. 4 it completed an initial project evaluation, part of a five-stage process. It also released a Stage 1 report on project feasibility that includes an estimated capital cost for the project of C$5 billion to C$6.6 billion (US$4.98 billion to US$6.57 billion). That figure is considerably higher than a reported 2005 estimate for the project of C$3.2 billion (US$3.19 billion).
Now in Stage 2 project review — project definition and comprehensive consultation — BC Hydro seeks input on how people want to be consulted about the project and on the topics they want to discuss. In a parallel pre-consultation process, BC Hydro seeks advice from First Nations about how they want to be consulted and which issues and concerns might need to be addressed through the evaluation.
The Stage 2 process is expected to take about two years to complete. That phase is to be followed by: a regulatory environmental assessment that would take another two years; engineering, which would take about one year; and construction, which could take seven years.
If built, Site C would become the third hydroelectric project on the Peace River in northeast B.C., joining 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum Generating Station and 694-MW Peace Canyon Dam. Sites A, B, C, D, and E were identified in 1958 as five potential sites for a third dam on the Peace River. In 1976, BC Hydro chose Site C after finding the other sites were not viable.
Site C is identified for development in a recent National Energy Board report that examines various energy scenarios for Canada through 2030. (HNN 12/6/07)