Hydrodam Demolition and Avoiding Mistakes

The latest: another country is clearing out old, damaging hydrodam projects; Premier Horgan discusses Site C; an editorial focused on why BC should avoid making the megaproject, hydrodam mistake. 

Two Dams in France to be Demolished in 2018


The demolition of the dams will be the largest scale projects of their kind in Europe and WWF Europe’s Martina Mlinaric praised France “for leading the way on dam removal, thereby actively helping rivers and their ecosystems recover from [their] disruptive effects”.

Voice of BC: Interview with Premier Horgan


Vaughn talks to the Premier about the upcoming decision on the Site C hydroelectric dam project and other topics. 

BC Should Run, Not Walk, from Site C Project


Former premier Danny Williams promised Newfoundlanders that the mega-project was such a winner, no one needed a public utilities commission review. Like former premier Christy Clark, he pledged to get it past the point of no return. Unlike Clark, he did.B.C. still has the chance to abort Site C. Run, do not walk. Run from this looming fiscal and ecological disaster.

Additional Questions and Testing Alternatives

Today's update: BCUC's response to the BC government's additional questions about Site C; questioning why the current  government would risk treading in the same thoughtless direction as the previous one; more on the legal settlement to be filed by the First Nations if the project goes ahead; smarter alternative energy sources are being tested in Australia. 

BCUC Responds to Additional Site C Questions


The Commission did not assume a lower demand for electricity “because it is forecasting a period of lower economic growth for the province.” Further, the Report does not state, nor does it suggest, that “major power consumers such as mining, forestry, technology and commercial sectors” are in or are going into “decline”. The Commission’s consideration of the load forecast was based on a holistic assessment of the factors that drive demand for electricity. In our answer to the Deputy Ministers’ question below regarding the rationale for the Commission’s position, we present a description of the seven factors we considered. These include three factors that are directly related to economic growth: recent developments in the industrial sectors, GDP and other forecast drivers, and flattening electricity demand.

Site C Dam: A Shameful Monument of Politics


The Site C Dam is a shameful monument of politics for which there is no point, no return.

First Nations Warn Province of Lawsuit if Site C Goes Ahead


Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nation said in an interview with DeSmog Canada that the government must factor in a hefty legal settlement when it is looking at the cost of continuing the dam construction, as he says there is no doubt that proceeding with the $9 billion dam would violate the 1899 Treaty 8 agreement.

“We are hoping that (the government) has enough information in front of them right now that Site C will not go forward,” Willson said. “If they approve it we will file.”

Elon Musk's Giant Battery Read for Testing in Australia


Musk has high hopes for the wide-scale roll-out of solar and battery-based energy storage after acquiring SolarCity Corp. last year. Tesla sees the combination of those two clean energy technologies as key to its overall effort to accelerate the transition to renewables and wean the world off fossil fuels.

Eleventh Hour Debates as Decision Looms

The latest: leading experts on both sides of the debate have been invited to deliver a special briefing to BC cabinet; learning from Newfoundland's hydrodam megaproject mistakes; with so many reasons to cancel the project, the decision should not seem so difficult. 

Premier Invites Energy Experts to Cabinet for Site C Dam Debate


On Wednesday in Vancouver, the senior expert retained by opponents of the dam, Robert McCullough, released a report outlining why the public would be better off with cancelling the project – even at an estimated loss of $4-billion. With the savings from cancelling the project, Mr. McCullough estimated, B.C. could build 25,000 new homes in the Vancouver area. Mr. McCullough is set to take part in the cabinet briefing on Nov. 30.


Muskrat Falls Inquiry Won’t Save Newfoundlanders from a $12.7-billion Sinkhole


It's only after construction contracts are awarded, shovels are in the ground and thousands of workers are hired that the economic folly of these projects becomes apparent to all. Costs spiral upward – twofold so far in the case of Muskrat Falls. There are eerie parallels in British Columbia's $9-billion Site C hydro project and the $8.7-billion Keeyask dam in Manitoba. OPG's $12.8-billion refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear facility risks following the same path.

Site C Makes No Sense - Economic or Otherwise 


Tell Horgan if he thinks this is a hard decision, he is not framing the question properly. Energy is but one aspect. There are many more areas of great public importance that will be negatively affected by the dam. It’s not just about B.C. Hydro ratepayers, it’s about taxpayers and future generations.

Press Release from UBC: Site C creates fewer jobs and has larger environmental impact.

A new UBC-led report, published November 23, 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.

Read the press release (November 23, 2017, 7:00 a.m. ET). Also below.

See the full report.  

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. 

New UBC Report (November 23, 2017): Site C – Summary of key research results

Learning Hard Lessons & Avoiding Rate Increases

The latest: learning hard lessons for another hydro megaproject; more on the tax and rate increases BC residents can expect, if project goes ahead

Inquiry into Huge Cost Overruns at Labrador-based Hydro Megaproject 


“While we cannot undo the past we can learn from it,” he said. “Muskrat Falls is on the minds of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, deservedly so. Today marks the start of getting the answers.”

Energy Experts Weigh Impacts of Pending Site C Decision


By cancelling Site C, British Columbians will be spared an additional $8 billion to $10 billion expense, McCullough said – something he characterized as a “termination dividend."

Impact of Site C on Present and Future Ratepayers


The evidence is clear that it is not in the best interests of present and future ratepayers to build Site C.

Treaty Violations & Job Number Deceit

Today's update: moving ahead with Site C could mean billion dollar lawsuits from First Nations; more on the misleading job numbers; food security in BC comes from farming the land, not flooding it; a discussion board to read concerns about the project - and voice yours. 

Billion Dollar Treaty Violation


Thielmann said he didn't see a way for government to approve the project while also adhering to the principals of UNDRIP and the 2014 Tsilhqot'in Supreme Court decision, which indicated Indigenous land rights cannot be violated without "compelling and substantial" objectives.

Finishing Site C Could Spark Billion Dollar Lawsuit


"He's got unions yanking on him but he needs to understand the effects of what's going on here and how it's affecting a promised way of life, a constitutionally protected way of life."

Truth on Job Numbers


Site C jobs are often cited as a main reason to proceed with the $9 billion dam on B.C.’s Peace River. But how many jobs would Site C actually create? Are there really 2,375 people currently employed on the project, as widely reported this month?

Food Security in BC: Increase Irrigated Land Area


What are the implications for food security? Facts and figures help paint a picture. B.C.’s farmers currently produce about 50 per cent of all foods consumed within the province. A 50 per cent increase in irrigated farmland — from 190,000 to 285,000 hectares — would be required within the next 20 years for British Columbians to attain food security.

Dam Discussion


I realize the hour is late. I hope you can help us, those of us who remember that there was an effort made to dam the mighty Fraser River and wish to STOP the Site C.