The government of British Columbia announced it will initiate contacts with local stakeholders along the Peace River regarding potential development of BC Hydro’s 900-MW Site C hydroelectric project.
The province issued a new energy strategy Feb. 27. BC Energy Plan: A Vision for Clean Energy Leadership outlines 55 policy actions, including measures to enhance energy security in the province.
One of the measures involves entering initial discussions with First Nations, the neighboring province of Alberta, and communities around a potential Site C project. The intent is to disseminate communications regarding the potential project and the processes being followed.
The energy plan calls Site C one of many resource options that could help meet BC Hydro customers’ electricity needs. While no preferred option has been selected, the plan said the province must examine opportunities for some large projects to meet growing demand.
The possible Site C decision-making process would include public consultation, environmental impact assessments, a certificate of public convenience and necessity, environmental environmental approvals, and Cabinet approval.
Site C: On and off the shelf for 25 years
BC Hydro has considered, and shelved, Site C several times over 25 years, at least partially due to environmentalist opposition. In its 2004, Integrated Electricity Plan, BC Hydro listed Site C among �Future Additions Requiring Near-Term Evaluation.�
Other energy security measures in the new plan commit the province to electricity self-sufficiency by 2016, and to continued public ownership of BC Hydro. The plan also includes targets for zero net greenhouse gas emissions, new investments in innovation, and a target to acquire 50 percent of BC Hydro’s incremental resource needs through conservation.
Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld said the plan balances economic opportunities available from a wide range of natural resources with sustainable environmental management.