Californication: B.C. renewable energy projects get screwed

NDP plans to buy power from U.S. while shutting down Indigenous, community renewables

The B.C. government is gambling on surplus solar power from California to meet the future electrical needs of a growing economy, while closing the door on solar farms and other renewable energy projects here at home. Bill 17, tabled at the end of June, is the NDP’s latest maneuver to squeeze out local electricity generation – in favour of U.S. producers.

The proposed law, introduced by Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources minister Bruce Ralston, would repeal “self-sufficiency” provisions brought in by BC Liberal premier Gordon Campbell. True, those regulations resulted in higher purchase costs for power generated by Independent Power Producers. Unlike dam-builders in decades past, IPPs had to internalize all the costs associated with energy development.

But Bill 17 as written puts us at the mercy of private utilities in a different country – while killing Indigenous and community-owned projects in B.C.

“It seems every time the government takes a step with energy policy it’s away from B.C. First Nations. We have the skills, capacity, desire, and the right to be partners now in creating a new energy future in B.C.” Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council President Judith Sayers said when reached for comment on the bill. “It was a surprise that this amendment was done. In not consulting us the government is violating the spirit of the B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act – if not the act itself.”

Speaking to reporters, Minister Ralston said it came down to dollars and cents. California produces a lot of solar power during the day. And since it is often surplus to what is needed, it can be purchased at lower rates than what BC Hydro currently pays B.C. producers. “It’s very, very cheap because they produce so much of it,” Ralston said.

Let’s NOT rely on California for energy security

My question to the minister is this: How’s that going to work when California’s transmission lines are hanging limply from burnt poles? PG&E, the state’s largest utility, pleaded guilty to 84 counts of manslaughter after its poorly-maintained power lines sparked the deadly Camp wildfire. The company filed for bankruptcy and is being re-organized by the state to ensure that “in light of its safety history, criminal probation, and recent financial condition it can still meet California’s climate goals without having adverse effects on ratepayers”.

It’s also worth noting that private utilities in the U.S. are working with the Republican-controlled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to undermine renewable energy production in favour of gas and coal. By no means is surplus clean power a sure bet in the U.S.

If clean energy is available, we can’t just look at the generation price. Transmission and distribution cost as much, sometimes more. Can the minister be confident that solar power generated 1,342 kilometres away in Sacramento will be more cost-effective to a customer in Victoria than a neighbourhood solar installation?

Finally, we know from food that cheap things have hidden costs. Wine, pears, cucumbers, tomatoes and most other agricultural products from California are also “very very cheap”. Does that mean we should stop buying from wineries and farmers in B.C.? It’s clear the government is not factoring in the value of local resilience, a key lesson from COVID-19, or the economic benefits of building renewable energy capacity all over our province.

A coordinated attack on renewables in B.C.

Bill 17 is just the latest in a series of actions taken against community generated power, going back to March of last year when the Standing Offer program was abruptly cancelled. That left dozens of projects in limbo, including many proposed by Indigenous nations on their own territories.

Next, existing clean power producers, including mom & pop outfits that had supplied electricity to BC Hydro for decades, found out their contracts won’t be renewed. Some now face the prospect of mothballing perfectly good power plants in their communities – while the money goes to California giants like PG&E.

On a smaller scale, families who installed solar panels to offset their own power use faced a separate setback. BC Hydro slashed the rate it pays for surplus power by 60 per cent. This means homeowners who were counting on the net metering program to pay off their solar panels are left holding the bag.

In May, BC Hydro used the drop in domestic electricity demand created by COVID-19 restrictions to order some power producers to stop generating electricity – even though our exports to the U.S. remain unchanged. And there are more depressing signals.

BC Hydro’s Phase 2 review was supposed to look at the utility’s role in fighting climate change. A powerful, publicly owned Crown corporation like Hydro could lead the way in decarbonizing our economy. But its mandate is to make money. So far the Phase 2 review has revealed no willingness by BC Hydro to take clear responsibility for promoting decarbonization.

Now Bill 17 lays like a spike belt across the road B.C. communities must travel to a post-carbon future. We could have local clean energy sources helping us displace fossil fuels by electrifying buses, cars, bikes and heat pumps. Instead BC Hydro is willing to sacrifice all that to buy power from the U.S. That is, unless enough MLAs join forces to amend the bill, so it doesn’t kill local projects.

What’s the motivation?

The NDP and John Horgan have been vocal critics of IPPs for a long time. It makes sense to renegotiate those contracts as they come up. The public may perceive that the Campbell era was a gold rush for well-connected BC Liberal campaign donors. They may feel British Columbians overpaid for power. However, it’s not that simple.

Community-sponsored renewable energy projects have to factor in cultural and ecological impacts that were ignored in the past. Those impacts don’t show up in the price that B.C. Hydro charges for electricity today. And technology has changed in the last 20 years. In many places, wind and solar are now the most economic forms of new energy.

Kneecapping all forms of decentralized generation means missing out on local renewable energy projects that are cheaper per megawatt-hour than dams and come online much faster. Which leaves us with a final piece of the puzzle. Site C.

If Minister Ralston wants to talk about cheap power, we need to talk about Site C. It’s a classic boondoggle on par with Muskrat Falls. The NDP didn’t start this white elephant, but they chose to keep building it, putting ratepayers on the hook for $11 billion and counting. It’s being challenged in court by the West Moberly First Nations, whose land it would flood. If it is ever completed (BC Hydro claims 2024) the cost per megawatt hour will be at least $83 – more than double what wind power is going for next door in Alberta.

This is at odds with the NDP’s campaign promise to “make life more affordable”. Seen through this lens, their plan to take full control of our energy system and resell cheap American power makes sense. They’re trying to get themselves out of the mess created by the ballooning cost of Site C – at the expense of Indigenous nations, and our long-term ability to tackle the climate crisis.

The road to resilience

The production of enough electrical energy to replace the gas we use to drive our cars and heat our homes is going to be the determining factor in whether we build an economy that can tackle climate change.

Indigenous nations and community generators are key to that transition. If they are shut out of the renewable energy economy by Bill 17, we not only miss a chance to right past wrongs – B.C. will almost certainly miss its climate targets.

If we take our growing emissions seriously we need to embrace, not shun, new generation opportunities. These are projects that literally empower local communities, providing tangible benefits that imported California power can’t. Jobs distributed across the province. Revenue for participating communities. Grid modernization. Tighter connections between sources and markets. Connecting the remote parts of B.C.

Surely independence, fairness, employment, revenue, training, innovation, modernization and getting off fossil fuels would benefit all British Columbians. Are we really going to spend that money in California instead?

Send a message to your MLA. Tell them you want Bill 17 amended to make room for Indigenous and community-owned renewable energy projects.

37 Responses to “Californication: B.C. renewable energy projects get screwed”

  1. Eileen Hackett says:

    We must encourage solar, wind and water producers here in BC. Not California! We hate the thought of Site C flooding the Peace River wonderful farming land but it was already started unfortunately by the terrible liberal party. Now, buying from California instead of assisting all groups here in BC who want to set up solar, geothermal, wind or water is a also in the face for our citizens. Hasn’t this terrible pandemic taught us that the Americans are not the leaders in the world to reduce the carbon footprint or reduce pollution? Isn’t it time to rely on our own BC residents to lead the way helping to reduce the terrible pollution of this planet in the very short time we have left? Atrocious to discourage groups setting up their own grids, that is the way of the future, not depending on American corporations!!! Haven’t we learned anything how a leader like Trump can bring down a whole country like our neighbour? Let’s encourage our own people to help build a cleaner future away from fossil fuel!!

  2. Glenn says:

    Absolutely! Home grown is best, made in BC. Scrap the dam and the pipeline! Renewable green energy

  3. Don Alexander McBain says:

    This way to a complex an issue. and very confusing.

    • Dave Mills says:

      Hi Don,

      Yes it is a complex issue. I start with the premise that we need more electrical power than we realize if we’re to stop using fossil fuels. Next, I think about replacing that energy with clean, renewable, affordable electricity. Finally, I think about where to get that electricity. What comes to mind is fairness (access for first nations who are leading the push for renewables) and democracy. Bill 17 is thinking about California and forgetting how much better we all are off if we create power close to home. The math says we’ll need double what we currently generate – lets give communities the opportunity to do it. Hope this helps!

  4. Kathy Griffiths says:

    I agree that the people of B.C. should produce energy from our own sources —solar,wind,
    water.

  5. Caren Grabinsky says:

    We are definitely screwed from the site C ramifications, let’s not try to push it under and try to cover it up with other ill-conceived plans!

    Independent power producers IPP should be welcomed and supported to bring this into our communities and homes! The Indigenous communities have embracedI independent power production let’s not waylay it, and stifle it! this, Bill 17 makes no sense at all! This is not the NDP I know and love!

    What does the Green party think about all this? I will need to check this out!

    You do not have my support NDP with these decisions! Please show me your true colours, not what you’re following the dollars for…

    I hope you all sleep really well, I know I would have difficulty trying to pass this Bill 17 shenanigans!
    Sincerely, Caren Grabinsky.

  6. Anna Banana says:

    California is having plenty of disasters and can’t be counted upon. Without the approval of First Nations? SO BACKWARDS! STOP IT!

  7. gail says:

    it is time government leaders listen to Indigenous leaders and give them the power to provide BC with clean energy

  8. RUSL Bicycle says:

    I never understand how they can say we are using California Power. I’m no electrical engineer but I do know that long distance transmission is expensive in terms of power lost to heat. Really we would be getting energy from Washington, which would get it from Oregon, From California. It seems like long distance power trading is a financial shell game, quite abstract from the physical world.

    Does Washington have excess energy to donate North? I don’t think that’s true. They have nuclear, still coal at Centralia, and gas. It’s not good to rely on that in BC. BC should be nuclear free.

    I remember a lot of folks protested IPP run of the river when Campbell brought it in. Partly because of privatisation and partly complaints about unsupervised environmental problems.

    I agree with Dogwood that we shouldn’t be getting into financial schemes for power. But it would also be good to make sure we aren’t supporting pravatisation or something else that isn’t right. It’s a balancing act.

  9. Art Entlich says:

    I have been around long enough to remember the Gordon Campbell “Public Private” energy projects. At the time, he claimed these projects were good for BC, as they would help us to meet our increasing demand for electricity for the future, without having to invest in mega-projects like new dams. But there was more behind these agreements than first met the eye, and residents of BC using grid power have been paying for this ever since. Many of the deals from these “public-private partnerships” were carried out by industrial supporters of the BC Liberals at the time. The contracts went way into the future, and most importantly, the fees for the power were way more than they would have cost BC Hydro to produce. Even long after Gordon Campbell and even the BC Liberals were out of office we have been paying absurdly high fees for this power, even as demand and power prices dropped in the province, but due to these contracts, these mainly “run of river” power plants were guaranteed return at well above market rates, and in fact, part of the recent rate increases we’ve been paying through BC Hydro are a direct result of these very non-competitive contracts we have been legally tied to pay for years.

    As those contracts expire, and with good reason, the current BC Government is trying to find alternative solutions for less costly power, rather than being held hostage to renewing those contracts.

    I don’t claim to know the best alternative to fix this mess left behind by prior governments. Maybe the government needs to renegotiate much lower payments to these small power plants, maybe they should invest in newer in province methods using solar, wind and other renewable sources. As I understand it, while Alberta may have excess power at night from wind generators, Alberta buys power during peak usage.

    We used to buy some power at night from the western states, some of which was coal fired or nuclear sources, because it was surplus and cheap, since those sources can’t be shut off overnight. Since Hydro turbines can be slowed or even stopped, and the water held up in dams for future power generation (that water is like a battery storage system), it made some sense to buy surplus over night.

    Someone needs to buy excess solar, or the costs can make it non-economic to create those massive banks of solar panels. Maybe it is better sold during the day to locations which still use coal or other fossil fuels for daytime usage during peak need, also, a lot of power is lost when it needs to travel long distances.

    I am not making any specific suggestions as to what BC should do, other than we shouldn’t renew the old contracts at those outrageous rates as they come due, but this is a lot more complex and nuanced than meets the eye, and knee-jerk responses will not be helpful.

  10. dimposs says:

    Background info that may make you think again about how the IPP system came about, who it profited, and what that meant and means for ratepayers: https://www.commonground.ca/OLD/iss/0610183/stolen_rivers.pdf and https://www.commonground.ca/OLD/iss/214/CG_214_power.shtml

  11. Sharon Lethbridge says:

    This is a complex issue. A lot of the IPPs are for profit large corporations that are making big bucks off our backs. Those have to go! BC needs to build solar fields to produce our own cheep electricity. We are in that transition period where things are very confusing. Maybe the NDP are thinking that shutting down all IPPs will get rid of the big money grabbing corporations and then can support the community and First nations’s set ups. I think this not a good idea at all. The NDP needs to be way tougher on this issue and simply declare that all for profit IPPs are not acceptable. I am sure there will be lots of court cases, but, when it is time it is time!!

  12. Shut down Site C!
    Encourage Solar Energy, which B.C. Hydro just did by removing the limit a household could provide.
    Practice energy conservation!

  13. Keith says:

    Decentralized power production is the only clear path for a myriad of reasons. It’s a massive part of localized resilience efforts and without it communities will never have a true hand in getting off fossil fuel dependency.

  14. N.W. Eddy, PhD says:

    I resigned from the BC NDP as soon as Horgan affirmed his support for Site C. The BC Liberals will also push it, so we have no choice but to vote for BC Greens ASAP. We must try to convince sitting MLA’s to dig down deep, and rediscover their conscience.

  15. Alexa says:

    This is unacceptable! People in California hate PG&E too. They’re always doing power cuts and not maintaining the lines properly.

  16. Now I know why BC Hydro is cutting my payback for the power my solar panels feed back to the grid. I will not be getting any no cost bills this summer when my panel production peaks. I also agree that my party NDP government is not performing in a manner that I approve of by not sticking with local non polluting power generation and the Site C project still does not meet my approval.

  17. elaine sharp says:

    I remember a time when we sold electricity to california, and they would not pay in the end. What is the type of generation used to produce this excess they now have? I trust it is not generated by oil or gas? information needed. I filly support local generation, i.e. plans for Summerland. Locally generated energy is the only way to go. Elaine

  18. Diana MacDonald says:

    I don’t get it!!!! I can’t think of one acceptable explanation that would justify spending money in another country when people in our own province are wanting so much to be a part of sustainable energy production. All they want is permission to do so but our government wants to ignore that.!?!?!

  19. RanD Hadland says:

    BC Hydro and the NDP and the Liberals know how bad they are making things for BC by continuing to build Site C on the Peace River, which I think is going to be more like $140/MWh rather than as low as $83/MWh. Perhaps the plan is to even out the high cost of the dam with low cost solar from the States, but the better option is to shut the dam down now, and hold a full out BC Utilities Commission hearing to determine our best options.

    Conservation as reported in a BC Hydro study done in 2007 is our best least cost alternative, negating the need for the dam at Site C, and more besides. There is no rush for new development of electricity generation. There is no rush to be buying from California. We can avoid a lot of environmental and social and financial costs through cutting way back on our waste of electricity. Enough to do a lot of the electrification that needs to be done.

    We will need local dispersed, small, regionally appropriate energy, and we can start now with isolated communities. By the time we need it we will have an even better understanding of how to do it.

  20. Amanda Javorsky says:

    This is lunacy! If we invested in renewable power now, rather than being reliant on another country for everything, we could be the ones selling our power, or at least become self-sufficient (and not have to pay someone else for electricity). We could also be creating good jobs to restart the economy. With the instability in the US, this seems like a really bad idea right now.

  21. Frank Mitchell says:

    Horgan and Co should explicitly examine the benefit/costs of a range of options. The prefer one seems to be to subsidise LNG (through favourable tax rates, assistance with gas drilling) and Site C, provide a market for possible surplus California Solar power, and discourage local clean energy production. On the face of it, insane! Even more tragic is that the Liberals would be worse.

  22. Frank Sterle says:

    I’m awaiting the day when every residential structure will have its own solar cell array. However, apparently large electric companies can restrict independent use of solar panels. In an interview by the online National Observer with renowned linguist and cognitive scientist (etcetera) Noam Chomsky, posted February 12 (2019), the latter emphasizes humankind’s desperate need to revert to renewable energies, notably that offered by our sun. In Tucson, Arizona, for example, “the sun is shining … most of the year, [but] take a look and see how many solar panels you see. Our house in the suburbs is the only one that has them [in the vicinity]. People are complaining that they have a thousand-dollar electric bill per month over the summer for air conditioning but won’t put up a solar panel; and in fact the Tucson electric company makes it hard to do. For example, our solar panel has some of the panels missing because you’re not allowed to produce too much electricity … People have to come to understand that they’ve just got to [reform their habitual non-renewable energy consumption], and fast; and it doesn’t harm them, it improves their lives. For example, it even saves money. But just the psychological barrier that says I … have to keep to the common beliefs [favouring fossil fuels] and that [doing otherwise] is somehow a radical thing that we have to be scared of, is a block that has to be overcome by constant educational organizational activity.”
    (Frank Sterle Jr.)

  23. Bonita Sauder says:

    I don’t get it either! Is this being pushed through without any reflection of lessons we have learned and continue to learn during this pandemic? Is the timing and sneaky lack of consultation and discussion because the government thinks we are focused on Covid19 and can’t think about anything else? No! The pandemic has shown that everything is connected. Should we all go to Costco and buy fruit and vegetables that are imported rather than local because they are cheaper? I really don’t get it, and I hate the fact that our government, which is supposed to be working on reconciliation and making BC better, is continuing to act like the neo-colonialist regime that it pretends its not. Stop looking outside. We’ve got what it takes here.

  24. Barbara Corry says:

    Absolutely! I agree!

    The BC NDP has apparently received very poor information on the renewable energy issue. In fact, even if we only had a few of the (ever-cheaper) solar panels installed on every roof, we would be well along way into providing lots and lots of our own power through renewable (solar) and then, possibly together with some more wind installations, we would not need Site C or any imported power, either!

    Our family installed 19 solar panels on our house roof just over a year ago and our BCHydro bills since then have plummeted! Which is wonderful news! And as solar panels continue to drop in price (which they are continuing to do) their installation will make more and more sense every day!

    The era of fossil fuel dominance is over. They are now, more and more, considered to be “stranded assets” as one fossil fuel company after another walks away from them to cut their losses. Another evidence of this is that fossil fuel stocks are currently being divested from one investment fund after another, worldwide… it is just a matter of time before everyone realizes that the era of fossil fuels is over.

    Barbara Corry, MSc, Victoria.

  25. Electricity Laundering says:

    I fully agree with BC generating renewable electricity in house, be that roof top solar or micro hydro, and maybe some larger projects. However the latest BCUC order last month means that roof top solar and micro hydro will only get 3 cents per kWh for excess production, we pay over 14 cents for our high tier power….mean while BC Hydro through Powerex is buying cheap power from the USA and Alberta which is 83% and 87% fossil fuel generated.

    And electricity is the only energy to not be carbon taxed if it is fossil fuel derived!!!

    Did you know that in 2018 and 2019 BC imported 20% of its power from the USA and Alberta which was mainly fossil fuel derived, whilst exporting 20% as clean energy tied with REC’s (renewable energy credits) for massive profits.

    Talk about electricity laundering, bring your dirty power to BC, we will clean it for a price!

  26. Electricity Laundering says:

    I would love to hear the details on the contracts you mention. I have heard a lot of political hype about IPP’s costing the province $16bn over 20 years…but they supply 20% of our power, and it seems like site C which will supply 5% of our power will cost over $10.7 Bn….I wonder what the truth is?

  27. Norm Yanke says:

    Today is day 191 of 2020 the Nelson community solar garden power to date would have been made by a small hydro plant in 20 days. Spring runoff has filled our lakes and reservoirs to overflowing, dams are spilling. This is the time most annual solar power is earned, its value, the same as the water spilling $0.We have to do what works, a century or more ago almost all communities here in the Kootenays had their own small hydro, it works at night, when its raining or snowing, dependable, firm power. Solar is out of sync with need, cannot be stored, why do we continue to waste public dollars for something that cannot help us here? The posterchild of absurdity, solar panels at the dam, Nelson the only city in western canada with its own hydro generation and they put solar panels at the dam???????

  28. Dan Kells says:

    It is a complex problem; can we simplify it? BC Hydro buys lowest cost domestic power from lowest cost producer for most available Kw first, then second cost producer gets next contract, etc…Site C cannot compete on those terms and IPPs will lose their cash cow. No purchasing of out of country Kw allowed but should be shunned anyways in favour of cheap BC homegrown alternative energy – you know the mantra thereby created by all this: jobs, jobs, jobs.

  29. Todd McClennan says:

    This article is really simplistic and misleading. It almost looks like a PR piece for the private power industry, ie US investors just like PG&E. I have experience in the IPP industry………..they are hardly local, community based projects. With few exceptions (and there are a few), they involved private investors making a killing at the expense of BC Hydro, and thereby all British Columbians. Most were financed and even owned from outside of the province, many are owned by large private US utilities. You think BC Hydro is hard to deal with? Try getting answers from a private company headquartered in Texas. Environmentally some projects were ok, others were not so good for fish stocks. The same could be said of their climate impacts. Many of them would not have been economic to build or operate without the inflated contracts BC Hydro was forced to offer by the previous government, and most of those contracts won’t be renewed for a long while yet. Altagas owns the Forest Kerr cluster of projects, the largest IPP hydro undertaking in BC…..it is US owned and built, and has close to 60 years of inflated revenue coming before its contract comes up for renewal. And I suspect that is probably about the life-span of the crap facilities that they built, so it may not be worth much by that time. The article is right about Site C, as well as the small stuff……solar panels, and some community and First Nation owned projects. It seems that maybe the current government is using a shotgun approach to dealing with the problem. There needs to be a way to kick the large investors out, while building opportunity for local and individual initiatives. The problem is, is that if such initiatives are successful, they cost BC Hydro money……think about all of us with solar panels on our roofs. And at the end of the day everybody expects BC Hydro to make money. That in my mind is at the root of the problem. The whole system needs a re-think, but the trouble is, private capital is always chomping at the bit to take over our publicly owned power system, and once you open the door to reform they’ll be in there like a shot with their PR campaigns, lobbyists, and influencers to ensure that private capital takes over. And then we will really have a power system run by the US and we’ll dream of the good old days of BC Hydro.

    • Dave Mills says:

      Hi Todd – I’m definitely curious about your distinction between public and private energy systems. If you were to hazard a guess, how much of our energy system do you think is publicly owned? Or, are you confusing a public control of electricity with public control of energy? What pushes our cars, trucks and buses around? What moves our ferries, planes and trains? What heats our homes, office towers and factories? Privately controlled energy owned in its entirety by out of Province fossil fuel corporations does. I encourage you to think holistically about energy. When you do I think you will agree there is a tremendous opportunity for British Columbia’s communities to be partners in a new energy economy. Here’s an article about a future where independent community power could be realized: https://dogwoodbc.ca/news/ktunaxa-solar-farm-bc-green-new-deal/

  30. Glen Gray says:

    Before going any further with this campaign please do some more research. I recommend that you carefully read the last decade of articles on the IPP boondoggle and review the thoughtful research done by Norm Farrell and posted on his website at https://in-sights.ca/. I would be very surprised if we actually do wind up buying more electricity from California than we sell to the US. BC currently is locked into IPP contracts that cost us on average more that three times more for electricity than BC Hydro can produce from its own generation facilities.

    I do know of what I speak, I helped to negotiate several IPP contracts back in the Gordon Campbell days. The initial contracts were, almost without exception, granted to numbered companies owned by Liberal supporters. These numbered companies in turn negotiated benefits agreements with local First Nations where the First Nations obtained a majority interest in companies that supplied goods to the operating company. The main company, the operating company, generally was owned by the Liberal promoters and that was where the real money was made. Once all the documents were signed and the financial modeling was completed, the operating company was sold to outside companies and the promoters walked away with huge capital gains. One of the largest IPP projects was, for example, sold to General Electric which did all of the construction work and now operates the facility.

    The actual amount of electricity that BC has been flat for over 15 years straight and shows no signs of increasing in the foreseeable future. Because of the locked in IPP contracts, BC Hydro has under utilized its own production facilities and buys IPP electricity for three times the price that it is able to sell it.

    The Site C dam also has its own tale of ineptitude and foolishness.

    Please check the following sites for confirmation of the foregoing:

    Simple Facts About BC Hydro:
    https://in-sights.ca/2020/05/13/simple-facts-about-bc-hydro/

    Billions lost – bad luck, incompetence or fraud?:
    https://in-sights.ca/2020/05/12/billions-lost-bad-luck-incompetence-or-fraud/

    BC Hydro, provider of social and corporate welfare:
    https://in-sights.ca/2020/04/01/bc-hydro-provider-of-social-and-corporate-welfare/

    BC Hydro – Analysis:
    https://in-sights.ca/category/bc-hydro/

    Dogwood has a long and honourable record of supporting important and progressive causes. However, attacking the BC Government for trying to clean up the IPP disaster that it inherited from the Campbell-Clark years is not one of them.

    • Dave Mills says:

      Hi Glen, thanks for your solid response. There is nothing you are writing that I’m unaware of, or fundamentally disagree with. The difference between your analysis of our energy situation and mine is that you accept the status quo where 77% of our economy is powered by fossil fuels. I do not. The only viable future we have is a %100 electric future — and we need to make that future our present as quickly as possible. In that future Dogwood believes communities, not private American utility corps should be in charge.

  31. Tor Rognmo says:

    I have been an NDP supporter for the past 50 years but Horgan has shaken my faith. He came out looking good but now looks like a turncoat and BC Liberal wannabee. Both with his handling of the protests in the north of that gasline and now by cancelling renewable energy projects in BC in favour of energy from the capitalist pigs in California. Yuch will probably stay home and watch netflix during next year’s provincial election.

  32. Rick Habgood says:

    I fully agree with Glen Gray. Excellent response.

    As a public affairs host at UVic/CFUV I interviewed Horgan a number of times ( 2009/10 ) regarding the IPP’s fiasco and yes he didn’t support them then, he thought they were a very bad deal for the public, which they were and still are.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, reading your blog, it seems that you and Dogwood are defending the IPP’s, that you and Dogwood support them. ?? If so, what role should private industry play?? Should power be sold to us as a commodity? Or should power be, as Horgan believes, a public trust?

    And, a point overlooked, BC Hydro IS supporting many FN’s build clean energy projects.
    ie: ‘ The remote Xeni Gwet’in First Nation community in the Chilcotin is continuing the transition from diesel to clean energy and creating local jobs under the Province’s CleanBC plan.

    https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMPR0019-001084

    Clean, renewable energy has to happen. Electrifying the economy, buses, trains, bikes and cars has to be done. Hopefully, solar on every rooftop, publicly/FN’s/community produced power. NO doubt must happen.

    My show, Break’in Ice, which ran for 7 years, was all about climate change. And the topic of IPP’s was covered on many shows. It seems that Buffet is right. Clean energy is the new ‘ gold rush ‘.

    I doubt if anyone would not support FN’s / Community clean power. Why not? What it comes down to is: do we really want the private power industry making money off of the public? Do we really support the privatization of pubic power? This scenario is the dream of the Fraser Institute/Michael Walker.

    Here’s another good article on why so many of us are against IPP’s. .. https://www.nelsonstar.com/opinion/column-pulling-the-plug-on-independent-power-producers/

    I’ve interviewed many Dogwood campaigners, supported the org. many times, on this issue, not so.

    • Dave Mills says:

      Hi Rick,

      Your thoughtful response is very much appreciated, and in line with a few other people who continue to be upset over the cost of the IPP’s. I will definitely continue to challenge that IPP contracts are central to this issue. Also, yes, replacing Diesel is great, should have been done decades ago. Now apply that logic to the diesel used to supply you with everything you eat, wear, and use. That’s the real privatization of what could be public power. We’re looking to see transformational change. Think no more fossil fuels and Indigenous-led public utilities bringing a bunch of new power to the table. Here’s my companion piece – hopefully the direction is clearer. Thanks for reading. https://dogwoodbc.ca/news/lost-in-transmission-bill17/

  33. Tina says:

    This is it to remember the rhetoric of that era and not be led astray by current rhetoric. Thank you for this reply which is more accurate than the article itself.

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