Press Release (UBC, November 23, 2017): Site C creates fewer jobs and has larger environmental impact.
New UBC-led report finds alternatives to Site C create significantly more jobs, produce electricity at a lower cost with lower risks, have a significantly lower environmental impact, and produce less greenhouse gas emissions.
Site C generates significantly fewer jobs, produces electricity at a higher cost, and entails significantly higher risks of future cost overruns, a new report led by a University of British Columbia researcher has found.
“Our analysis indicates that the alternative portfolios put forward by the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) and by BC Hydro would generate significantly more jobs in the long term, and have only a modest net loss in the short term,” said report co-author Karen Bakker, Canada Research Chair, and co-director of the Program on Water Governance at UBC (http://watergovernance.ca/).
In the analysis, the researchers found that, in the medium and long term, Site C creates far fewer jobs than the alternatives. Site remediation, geothermal construction and energy conservation will create thousands of jobs each year. Through 2030, the BCUC alternative portfolio creates between 22 per cent and 50 per cent more employment than Site C, the researchers found.
The report uses data from BC Hydro and the BC Utilities Commission in its analysis.
“By 2054, the BCUC alternative portfolio will have created three times as many jobs as Site C. Many of those jobs are in the Peace region, which has the best wind resources in the province,” said Bakker. “Site C will also create meaningful greenhouse gas emissions, which are higher than emissions from the alternative portfolios and cannot be completely offset by exports.”
The research also documents the project’s unprecedented environmental impacts: specifically, Site C has a higher number of significant adverse environmental effects than any other project ever reviewed under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (including oil sands projects).
The BCUC alternative, which involves conservation and alternative energy such as wind power, is a better choice than Site C if the goal is to maximize long-term sustainable jobs, minimize environmental impacts, and meet our greenhouse gas emissions targets, said Bakker.
Over the past 18 months, UBC’s Program on Water Governance has published six research reports on Site C, and made six technical submissions to the BC Utilities Commission. The reports represent several hundred hours of analysis over a period of 18 months, and were reviewed by independent academic experts. The reports make use of information in the public domain, and rely to a great extent on data and information made public by BC Hydro, as well as other public sources. The research reports were extensively cited by the BCUC during its Site C Inquiry. In the final report for the Site C Inquiry, the Commission accepted and incorporated many of the UBC team’s findings into its conclusions and recommendations. Following the publication of the BCUC’s final report, the UBC team has published two new reports: an analysis of employment, and a summary report of research findings.