Site C power a cer­tainty; other sources a guess

Times Colonist - - Comment -

Re: “Why B.C. needs a pub­lic in­quiry on the Site C dam,” com­ment, Nov. 8.

Site C op­po­nents of­ten cherry-pick in­for­ma­tion to cre­ate head­lines. The B.C. Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion based its find­ings on two con­sul­tant re­ports based on mod­el­ling tech­niques.

Mod­els only in­di­cate pos­si­bil­i­ties into the fu­ture and not cer­tain­ties, and the fur­ther you try to pre­dict, the less the ac­cu­racy and the greater the risk.

The first con­sul­tant’s re­port in­di­cates that B.C. Hy­dro’s cost and sched­ule es­ti­mate (in­clud­ing con­tin­gency) is ac­cu­rate if the river di­ver­sion mile­stone of 2019 is met, and project man­age­ment is bet­ter with in­creased co-op­er­a­tion of the con­trac­tors. If the river di­ver­sion mile­stone is missed, the costs will in­deed in­crease.

The sec­ond re­port on al­ter­na­tives is an eye-opener.

From 2018 to 2036, the hy­dro com­po­nent de­creases from 91 per cent to 76 per cent. From 2018 to 2027 the in­crease in sup­ply ca­pac­ity is pro­vided al­most ex­clu­sively by add-on hy­dro projects.

From 2027 on­ward, the ca­pac­ity is pro­vided by geo­ther­mal, bio­gas, biomass and nat­u­ral-gas gen­er­a­tion. Rel­a­tively, so­lar and wind are neg­li­gi­ble con­trib­u­tors.

Model as­sump­tions also in­clude a much lower de­mand, which is a risk. Hy­dro ca­pac­ity is a known cer­tainty. The cer­tainty of geo­ther­mal, bio­gas and biomass ca­pac­ity two decades out is a guess.

Robin Allen Vic­to­ria

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