Today, the report of the joint federal-provincial panel (the
Joint Review Panel) appointed to review BC Hydro's proposed
Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) was publicly released,
following its submission to the federal and BC governments on May
1, 2014. A copy of the full report is available here; a copy of the report summary and list of
recommendations is available here.
The Joint Review Panel was mandated by Canada's Minister of
the Environment and BC's Minister of Environment to assess Site
C's potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and
Among other findings, the Joint Review Panel concluded that:
it was unable to assess the accuracy of Site C project cost
estimates, and recommended that such costs, including unit energy
costs and revenue requirements, be referred to the BC Utilities
Commission for detailed examination if Site C proceeds;
basing Site C on a 20-year demand forecast without an explicit
20-year forecast for electricity prices is not good practice given
the potential reduction to electricity demand caused by future real
rate increases, and recommended that (i) BC Hydro construct a
reasonable long-term pricing model and update the associated load
forecast and (ii) such forecasts be subject to a BCUC hearing
before beginning construction of Site C;
a number of supply alternatives are competitive with Site C on
a standard financial analysis, although Site C would produce less
expensive power than any alternative in the long term;
it is unlikely that the transmission and liquefaction energy
requirements of BC's emerging liquefied natural gas industry
will be satisfied by any source except natural gas itself, and
therefore (i) the "Low Liquefied Natural Gas" scenario
(corresponding to 823 GWh/year) described in BC Hydro's Integrated Resource Plan is
most likely correct and (ii) under this scenario available
resources could provide adequate energy and capacity until at least
BC will need new energy and new capacity in the future, and
Site C would be the least expensive alternative whose costs
advantages would increase over time as inflation makes alternatives
more costly; and
BC Hydro has not fully demonstrated the need for Site C on its
The Joint Review Panel's report also contains a number of
conclusions and recommendations in relation to the environmental
and social impacts of Site C, including impacts on First Nations.
Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis of these findings on this
Both governments will now review the Joint Review Panel's
findings, and will each make a determination on the project, with
their respective decisions under the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act and BC's Environmental Assessment
Act to be made public within six months.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
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