Rich Coleman: Why I am proud to support the $7.9-billion Site C dam

British Columbia's electricity needs are expected to increase up to 40 percent over the next 20 years as our population grows by more than one million residents.

We need to conserve more energy while also ensuring that we have secure, clean power sources to meet the demand. Reliable infrastructure must be in place to deliver electricity to our homes and businesses. This is why B.C. Hydro is proposing the Site C clean energy project, a third dam on the Peace River in northeast B.C.

Building for the future, Site C will provide enough energy to power more than 450,000 homes a year for more than 100 years.

Site C has been in the planning stages for about 30 years. Not surprisingly, the design needed to be upgraded to meet current seismic, safety, and environmental guidelines. Through design changes, we have been able to add 22 percent more generating capacity as well as improve foundation stability, seismic protection, and spillway safety. The revised estimated capital cost is $7.9 billion.

Site C is a cost-effective resource and will produce electricity at between $87 and $95 per megawatt hour compared to other resources at $129 per megawatt hour, helping to keep B.C. Hydro rates among the lowest in North America.

Economic benefits will flow to the region and up to 35,000 direct and indirect jobs will be created.

B.C. Hydro has initiated the required independent environmental assessment process, which will provide opportunities for public input. The views of all British Columbians will be sought, including First Nations, property owners, communities, and stakeholders. As part of this process, B.C. Hydro will identify opportunities to provide lasting benefits for the region and will evaluate options to mitigate any adverse effects of constructing Site C.

I believe the Site C clean energy project will be a legacy for all British Columbians and will help keep electricity rates affordable for generations to come. I am proud to support it.

Rich Coleman is the B.C. minister of energy and mines.

Comments (20) Add New Comment
LostMyGlasses
If you have so much faith in this project, Mr. Coleman, then restore full powers to the independent BCUC to study and assess it.

Also, after the catastrophic rubber stamping of the Taseko-Fish Lake mining project by the BC Environmental Assessment board, its safe to say we need completely renewed environmental assessment laws and procedures. If the Harper governments environment minister can see why it should have been voted down, but our provincial ministers and Premier can not, you know there is a problem.

Restore public and third party investigations into these projects and the public will have more faith in these proposals.
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seth
Like all Canwest/Gordo energy ministers Coleman knows absolutely nothing about energy.

Site C at the latest guesstimate is $ 16B/Gw average, and destroys 10K acre of prime farmland. A similar sized Candu nuke would cost $2B/Gw and would fit on a few acres of industrial land at Burrard thermal.

Hydro projects create enormous methane emissions from rotting vegetation making them worse GHG producers than burning coal.

Currently the cost of electricity on the Columbia grid is $20 a megawatt hour (2 cents a kwh) daytime and free on weekends and at night - 20% Site C's cost. It will remain that way for years to come because Wa State's Bonneville power is required by legislation to produce gigawatts of worthless wind energy that it can't sell.

AECL has completed 8 new Candu reactor installations over the last twenty years all on time in 4 years and on budget at $2B/Gw.- the cheapest reactor available anywhere outside China. The last one was completed in 2007 in Europe. Best record in the world for any reactor manufacturer.

http://www.cnnc.com.cn/tabid/168/Default.aspx

Since the Site C power is not needed until well into the future, it is quite possible that Teledyne/Brown's and China's new startup funding of development of the Gen IV factory produced Molten Salt reactor which eliminates all issues in the current Gen III product at a tiny fraction of Site C cost, will make this unit available in time to provide for our future power needs. Teledyne Brown proposes a commercial demo unit for 2015 service based on the successful 10 year run of a test unit at Oak Ridge in the 70's.

For those proponents who prefer we spend 8 times as much providing site C power as Alberta, Idaho, and Wash state will be spending building nukes because they think the Japan's Fukusimi incident shows the danger of building nukes in BC's earthquake zone, they need to think again.

Oddly the Fukushima accident caused by Japan's endemic corruption deferring obvious, demanded and costly improvements to the site's tsunami protection, showed that Japan's many ancient 50's design nuke sites survived a massive earthquake without incident. Not a person killed.

More modern nukes at Fukushima Daini, with the same inadequate tsunami protection hit by an even bigger wave, survived the strike without incident.. Modern nukes would have found the whole thing a piece of cake.

Contrast that with the hundreds of thousands killed in various dam burst accidents in recent times, or the hundreds killed in dam,gas and refinery accidents during the Fukushima incident and one see's where lies the real dangers in the power industry.

The Site C's hydro option has the world record for kills in a single incident over 200K dead in a single China dam burst. The Cleveland dam in North Vancouver busting up in a earthquake would approach that record.

And for Fukushima type devastation just look at the hundreds killed and 10's of thousands of acres of land destroyed forever with toxic chemical pollution from the destruction of its refinery with all its attendant future cancers, and project that into what will happen when an earthquake destroys the Burnaby Mountain refineries. How about a terrorist suicide squad whacking one of those oil laden tankers as it passes under the 2nd narrows bridge.

And that LNG terminal proposed for Rupert, one lone terrist suicider or an earthquake and the entire city would be gone in one giant nuclear bomb size blast.

Nukes are like a walk in the the park compared to this stuff.
seth
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devils advocate
start building, Rich....an excellent project long overdue


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Chet
Like everything else we pay politicians to do something sensible but they never do & now Crusty is criying Abolish the senate. (until she's appointed that is.) BC best place on earth as long as you like Gordo & tailing ponds, pipelines n tanker ports
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astro
To call this project "green" is inaccurate. This statement is made because no hydrocarbon fuel is burn to produce carbon dioxide. However the reservoir produced puts 1 000's of acres of forests and farmland under water. We lose the ability to have a great deal of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere, the way it is being absorbed now. So it becomes a net emitter of carbon dioxide. And the rotting wood will emit methane, another GHG. Therefore it is not green. As well we will lose valuable farm land and many farmers will lose their livelihood.
Then there is the question of need. We must have a full and open inquiry to determine if it is needed. It must not be done by some backroom boys who are appointed and toads the the BC Liberals.
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pjmora
Ready for Direct Democracy Now?
We, the citizens, need to have a referendum about all major political decisions.
Consider participating on www.nowpolling.ca >> Provincial Polls >> Energy >> Site C Dam.
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KPod
Build it period. I am in favor of of building the site C Dam. People research this project your self please. Relying on other provinces/countries power is a bad setup for BCers. People on this forum seem to think bike lanes will solve all our gridlock and tax revenue problems, give me a break.
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Steve Y
@seth, do you have some sort of direct stake in nuclear energy or something? Give it up. There will never, ever ever ever be nuclear energy in this province. Ever. FN's would blow a gasket. And your 2 BN dollar estimate? Increase it by about 20X and you'd have a more realistic number for getting something like that built in BC.
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Dave_B
Factor the costs of decommissioning the dam and restoring the river 100 years in the future when the project's effective life is over into the cost of producing electricity over those years and there may well be less expensive and more environmentally responsible alternatives to Site C.
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Fan'o Truth
The Williston Lake reservoir is still not suitable for receational boating after nearly a half century. Will a reservoir behind Site C be similarly blighted?

Besides an environmental assessment, what kind of economic value assessment of lost resources in agriculture, wildlife and recreation is going to be undertaken as part of the decision making process? And how will that assessment be compare to alternative projects for generation?
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KTFO
A Hydro Dam is a 50's style mega project with huge costs.

Get into the 21st Century, either put a Nuke Energy Plant on the BC / Alberta border [where it should be safe from earthquakes & Tsunamis] or build one or more "Green" Energy Farms, Solar / Wind / Tide / BioMass, at a FRACTION of the Cost providing long term Green Technology & Jobs LONG TERM.

As opposed to short term Construction work for Foreign Workers & a big Corporate payoff to some International Corporation.

Furthermore all those in favor of this Mega Hydro Project [like the Olympics] should have a special surtax deducted from their source pay check for the rest of their natural lives to pay for this colossal White Elephant & waste of money.

Who wants to pay the most expensive Electric Bill in North America? Ala BC Ferries, Canadian Airfares, Cell Phone Service.

Hydro Rates are going to be hiked into the Stratosphere to pay for this White Elephant.
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and seth
what Coleman knows about selling out makes up for his lack of knowledge
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Steve Y
Hey Greenies, what kind of environmentally sustainable energy would be allowed in this province? Run of the river was okay until liberals started doing it, hydro is okay, but only 50 years ago, solar doesn't work, wind won't work, geo thermal doesn't work.... doesn't leave us a lot of options...
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strat
Trading farmland for electricity is not a good idea. Dams fail...it might take a while but they do. Perhaps some readers might remember the Bennett Dam's erosion problems in 1996.
This site has some interesting histories: http://www.simscience.org/cracks/index.html
Reducing our demand is a better plan. Having said that, I'll shut up and stop using electricity.
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KTFO
For the ra ra go ahead Dam crowd...

Going "Green" takes more effort & smarts than flooding productive Farmland...

Germany which has almost twice Canada's population & small land mass is going completely "Green" even taking Nukes offline.

No one single "Green" Power source will provide 100% of the power needs, a COMBINATION of "GREEN" Power Generation will be needed.

That means...all; Solar, Wind, Geo-Thermal & even possibly Nuclear Power Stations.

Germany is rolling out mini - under River Hydro [No Dams needed :) ]...

Engineers and scientists from TU Mí¼nchen are demonstrating a much smaller scale hydroelectric power plant for German rivers. A shaft, embedded in the river bed, houses a turbine. Water flows into a box-like structure, turning the turbine before exiting. Only a small transformer is visible along the river bank. A gate, installed above the power plant, minimizes the vortex and enables fish to swim over the operation.

Like a German wind turbine, one miniature hydroelectric power plant will not light-up Munich. Building many of these mini dams along the five major German rivers and other waterways delivers potentially significant power.

It's interesting to note that the German Economy has created sustainable Jobs Growth due to it's "Green" Power Generation.

Something to learn from as opposed to White Elephant Mega Dam projects in BC.

White Elephant Projects in BC...

* $600 Million for a friggin Roof - Yes you paid for it :)

* BC Ferries - PPP - Massive Rate Hikes - No Bridge?

* Olympics Debacle - Billions Flushed - Yes you are paying :)

* Health Care Waste - Not Efficient, No mandatory use of Generic Drugs to keep Costs low, no national Drugs buying, note I am FOR Universal Health Care, but efficient not wasteful.

* BC Hydro - Massive Rate Increases - "Smart" Meters, Site C Dam coming - Yes you pay even more for Electric Power :).

Good Eh? :)
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seth
@steve
Why would Candu's cost any more in BC than they do in Europe and in our neighbour states who do have plans to build the dirt cheap nukes. The Alberta plant is quoted at $2.7 B/Gw for a first of a kind reactor.

@ktfo
Germany produces almost no power using wind solar which is it's only real growth potential.


seth
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KTFO
@seth...

I talked about a combination of various alternative "Green" Energy source not Just Wind / Solar :).

@seth I guess the Germans know more about Solar than u?

Solar power in Germany...

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A portion of the Waldpolenz Solar Park

Germany is one of the world's top photovoltaics (PV) installers, with a solar PV capacity as of 2010 of almost 17,000 megawatts (MW).[1] The German solar PV industry installed 7,400 MW from nearly one-quarter million individual systems in 2010, and solar PV provided 12 TWh (billion kilowatt-hours) of electricity in 2010, about 2% of total electricity.[2]

Some market analysts expect this could reach 25 percent by 2050.[3]
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seth
The only "renewable" technologies with sufficient available capacity to replace fossils that do not have currently insolvable problems are wind and solar.

Unfortunately the current wind/solar/ gas scam which requires inefficient OCGT gas plant to backup the "renewables" actually uses more gas and produces more GHG than simply using CCGT gas plant and skipping the renewables altogether. When "green" storage systems are used the wind/solar option zooms to over $1.20 a kwh more than 100 times nuclear.

Greenie superstar George Monbiot shows us that the German renewable experiment is an utter failure.

http://www.monbiot.com/2010/03/12/the-german-disease/

You Deniers need to keep in mind that the Big Oil funded Big Green movement's silly love affair with sunbeams and warm breezes kills millions every year by deferring the nuclear solution to pollution and by leading us inevitably to that civilization ending peak oil/climate crisis will kill billions more.
seth
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KTFO
@seth...

I am for Nuclear [unsubsidized by Govt.,] in safe zones, i.e., not on a Earth Quake prone Tsunami Coast.

Not sure why Big Oil would back "Green" Energy in any meaningful way given that Big Oil has the most to lose in the short term from "Green" Energy :)

But Germany in particular has stated that it will close ALL it's Nuclear Plants & transfer to renewable "Green" Energy.

Most Solar plants / farms these days use some form of Molten Salt to drive the Steam Turbines overnight &/or during "cloudy" non - sunny days :) no big Gas Plant needed :).

Economics 101 - The battery / backup will get cheaper & more efficient over time.

On the contrary to being "Deniers" Green Energy advocates firmly grasp & accept the Fact & Science of Climate Change.

Just as no one "Green" solution is the answer but a combination of Technologies are going to be the Energy answer. Certainly not ONLY Nuclear Power which you seem to be pushing.

I suggest you do more research to ascertain some fact of today's Green Energy like Solar/Wind etc. :)
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seth
@ktfo
It's always nice to hear from somebody obviously just beginning to learn about energy issues.

You and other not so renewable advocates are the worst form of Denier because you reject the science that says we have a little as ten years to solve the GHG issue. Pie in the sky dreams of wind and solar energy will not even come close.

I tried to explain why all wind and solar installations result in immense gas sales because of the need to load balance the intermittent renewable. As a rank beginner you didn't get it.

Molten salt storage is very inefficient and costly adding a buck a kwh to the 50 cents a kwh cost of solar. Battery storage is even more costly and there is no chance that will decrease significantly.

Monbiot explained why Germany's renewable dreams are nonsense. You don't seem to understand his point. Later when you learn more?

There are no current nuclear subsidies and Japan's nuclear plants even the ancient ones survived its massive earthquake without incident.
seth
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