Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Independent Power Production

with 5 comments

Hat tip to Gudrun Langolf for the link

The experience of Squamish Valley residents and the Squamish Lillooet Regional District are instructive for those who think that the provincial policy of promoting “green” power through private sector investments is a step forwards.

There has been of course a lot of public concern – especially when Gordon Campbell decided that local government would have no ability at all to influence any of the decision making. And many people have been suggesting that there is more than a hint of undue eagerness to meet a corporate agenda, with the environmental benefits of run of the river hydro looking as though they come at a very high environmental cost. While the provincial government has promised much, BC residents how ho longer believe in anything the government says or puts out in its press releases. And the Squamish valley experience shows that they are right in this attitude.

What needs to be borne in mind too is that the “heartlands” (a word that seems to have fallen out of use recently) were supposed to be the key to BC Liberal electoral success. With the collapse of forestry and the closure of most of BC’s timber processing facilities, the US economic slump has hit the heartlands hard. But there is no sign of anything much being done – other than record breaking sales of gas leases. One of BC’s longest standing economic policies was to have power at near cost – and our big hydro dams provided lots of cheap power offsetting some of the huge environmental destruction caused by their construction. But this new power is for export and that for private profit, not public benefits. Locally or provincially.

Gordon Campbell will be reminded soon that corporations do not have votes.

Written by Stephen Rees

July 27, 2008 at 10:44 am

Posted in energy, politics

5 Responses

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  1. I thought BC was “self sufficient” in power?

    Don’t we export a lot of it already to the USA?

    Steve

    July 27, 2008 at 11:25 am

  2. Steve we are but we aren`t self sufficient—We import power in the middle of the night for a dirt cheap price from alberta and Montana,Alberta and Montana cannot shut down their power generation and since no one is buying it in the middle of the night we get it real cheap,meanwhile in the middle of the night we let our resevoirs fill up and between about 4pm and 10 pm we sell tons of power to california for a big profit.we come up ahead in this process to the tune of about 600 million dollars a year.

    So the dirt bag CaMPBELL uses this scenario to con BCers that we are not self sufficient in power,the truth is we are self sufficient,if we didn`t sell california power there would be no reason to import power in the middle of the night but the system works well and creates a big profit for BCers.

    Lets be perfectly clear,these IPPs are foe private companies to make big profits for themselves selling power to the USA and to BC hydro at a guaranteed price that is 5 times what bc hydro pays for power now.

    There will be no benefit to BCers,we give up our rivers and fish stocks and our user rates for electricity will rise because of the sweetheart deal the crook Campbell made with his corporate freinds, —READ JOHN CALVERTS BOOK TITLED–(-LIQUID GOLD)

    The theif Campbell has privitized BC hydro by stealth and the whole province is unaware that the BC Fiberals have done it, 2000 rivers have been sold for 5000 dollars apeice, our province UNLESS WE THROW CAMPBELL OUT will have a spiders web of transmission line running everywhere,all for big american firms to make big profits selling power to the USA –without any benefit to BCers in fact your enery rates will rise to triple or more what you are paying now,this is the largest river,land giveaway and fraud in the history of BC.

    Campbell has put in all the legislation required, bill 15 ,bill 30 –bc hydro is prevented by LAW TO CREATE ANY OF ITS OWN NEW POWER(as of 2004)–BC transmission lines has been privitized, Bc hydro by law HAS TO BUY THE EXCESS POWER FROM THE IPPs—–Thats the real reason MASSIVE POWER LINES ARE RUNNING THROUGH TAWASSEN TO THE ISLAND AND FROM THERE TO THE USA—THATS WHY WFP WAS GIVEN THE SOUTHERN END OF VANCOUVER ISLAND,SO THEY CAN RUN POWER LINES WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS,POWER LINES TO THE SOUTHERN TIP OF VAN ISLAND THAT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO SERVE MILLION AND MILLIONS OF POWER USERS, WITHOUT ANY BENEFIT TO BCERS, LOST HABITAT,LOST FISH RUNS,HIGHER ELECTRICITY RATES,AND NO CONTROL OF ARE OWN RIVERS, THATS WHAT CAMPBELL AND THE LIBERALS ARE UP TO.

    iF CAMPBELL DROPPED DEAD TOMORROW OF A HEART ATTACK i WOULD BE CELEBRATING IN THE STREETS–cAMPBELLS CRIMES AGAINST THE ENVIROMENT AND BCERS WILL BE WRITTEN IN THE HISTORY BOOKS.

    PLEASE EVERYONE HELP ME VOTE THE CRIMINAL LIBERALS OUT OF OFFICE

    Grant g

    July 27, 2008 at 2:51 pm

  3. Lost — or purposely ignored — in the debate on power is the huge potential of conservation (which is the least expensive option), household-scale alternative energy, and tidal power.

    It’s been obvious for the past few years that a “shortage” in power was an excuse to build new capacity for export, but by transferring the risk, direct costs to private companies, therein ensuring that cost will be transerred again to our rates which will go up, more chips will be knocked from the foundation of public ownership of our natural attribites. Whereas I think there is great potential with buying the technology and operations expertise from private sector, I have a huge quibble with outright private ownership of any of these facilities.

    Changing the Building Code to make buildings much more energy efficient, and instituting a much more hefty grant program to increase energy conservation measures in older structures will probably displace the majority of the “need” for more power for another generation.

    But that doesn’t say much for the transmission lines and transformer stations that have suffered from a near total lack of replacement reserve funding and long-termn maintenance. Even the NDP eliminated replacement reserves to keep already low rates even lower. Gordo’s response was to privatize the transmission sector and hit us with huge rate hits as the price for re-energizing the standard practice of long-term maintenance and replacement, and to blame the NDP as usual, but this time with some justification. Sadly, the entire system has lost — or never had — built-in redundancy, and we’re now seeing the consequences of bad planning with serious power outages in the densest areas.

    I am as concerned about the current state of run-of-river in BC as the next person, but I am also concerned about a blatant, all-encompassing rejection of the entire plethora of ROR technologies and methods only because Gordo’s got his grubby mitts on the valve. Some ROR projects result in damming up to 80% of the streams and have inappropriately large facilities (obviously for export), and deserve to be rejected on those attributes alone. But others are medium or small-scale, engineered for slower or weaker flows, and can be connected in series, essentially running the same flow of water through several turbines instead of one. I would hate to see the entire ROR field eliminated for, say, medium scale publicly-owned facilities for communities only because of current politics.

    The current government will do anything to avoid serious funding for action on climate change despite all the rhetoric and the ads. With respect to power, if they were serious they would enact an energy tariff like Germany’s and Denmark’s which revolutionized solar and wind, and resulted in a great reduction in burning coal. This is the same principle that subsidizes public transit to serious levels for the public good until higher levels of use reduces the cost — another concept lost on our government.

    Then we get into self-sufficiency, another topic so far ignored by Gordo’s finance and policy boys. 100,000 roofs in BC with a couple or three photovoltaic panels would eliminate a great deal of the need to build more large generating facilities. 400,000 roofs with 10 or 15 PV panels is a serious generation facility on its own, and two-way metering would help home and business owners gain some revenue back. As mentioned a while back, there are new breakthroughs in “thin film” solar that are expected to bring the costs down by several orders of magnitude.

    http://www.nanosolar.com/technology.htm

    Posted below are links to a recent Vancouver Courier article on the sad state of tidal power here, and to Blue Water, a local company now moving to Nova Scotia at the invitation of a more receptive government interested in generating clean power from the tides in the Bay of Fundy. There is a practically criminal level of planned ignorance here in BC considering our extremely enviable large potential. Blue Water stated that there is around 10,000 gigawatts of power potential in the Georgia Strait alone. I believe that is equal to or even exceeds our entire province-wide consumption.

    The problem with tides is that they peak and ebb twice a day, often in non-peak periods. However, the turbines still turn most of the time, even at slower speeds, and build up to match the 2 metres per second tidewater twice a day in Discovery Channel. Several jurisdictions around the world are now looking at large-scale energy storage that can be combined with intermittent tides and wind to eliminate the troughs and stabilize on-demand power draw.

    The potential of tides, though enormous, rightfully needs to be dampened by environmental concerns. There are fully immersible turbines that do not block channels and are big enough to be readily avoided by fish and marine mammals. Anchor a hundred or so freefloating turbines along the sides of Discovery, and you’ve got a massive, long-term, clean power source for, say, all of Vancouver Island.

    http://www.canada.com/vancouvercourier/news/story.html?id=e55db39a-b88b-41cf-adaa-790e5b2c8bff

    http://www.bluenergy.com/index.html

    With respect to export, in my opinion it depends on the mode. I have lots of problems with private ownership of streams / watershed habitats / water licences / facilities soley for export. I also have a problem with importing power from coal generation from other jurisdictions. But I have no problem with tidal and wind going for export as long as our domestic needs are maintained, the profits from exports keep our rates low, the technology does less damage to the environment than current methods of generation, the merits of sole public ownership have been fully explored, and it’s part of an overall plan to lower emissions from and dependence on fossil fuels and nuclear.

    Meredith

    July 28, 2008 at 11:49 am

  4. Good points Meredith—-The problem with any and all good ideas is as soon as Campbell gets his mitts on them the whole process gets skewed,I am not totaly against ROR but when these projects after Campbell has rewarded his friends do not benefit BCers then the reasons to do them are not there anymore.
    The buying of power from coal or natural gas power generation from Alberta or montana is a bit of a problem but if we don`t buy it that power will just vanish,as I have stated before even if no one buys that power from Montana and Alberta,that power generation will continue because they don`t shut down,so the fact that we BCers don`t buy it won`t make the earth any cleaner,as for ROR,we can create 10 or 20 times the power in BC that we do now but with Campbell none of the sacrifices we will make as a province with habitat,fish stocks,wildlife will benefit the province,Campbell is taking our wild beatiful bc river system and selling it and giving it away for profits for his American freinds —-Campbell is nothing but a phoney lying theif.

    Grant g

    July 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm

  5. Reply to Grant G:

    You are right about the importing of power in the night and exporting in the day. But over the years we are a net exporter for 7 of the last 10. The only major coal fired jurisdiction we trade with (ALBERTA), we have been net exporters since 2003 and 9 of the last 11 years.

    This is a crucial point because the BC Libs say that we (BC) are a net importer wchich is flase. The IPPs and soemtimes the BC libs say that “BC HDYRO” is a net importer, which is true but misleading. This is misleading because the BC ENERGY PLAN is based on “BC’s” self sufficiency, not BC Hydro’s.

    http://www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca/data/bus_stat/busind/trade/trade-elec.asp

    RANDY

    April 30, 2009 at 7:37 am


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