Many reasons why Site C is not viable


Re: “Site C a long-term source of renewable power,” commentary, Oct. 7.

There are many errors in the commentary by B.C. Hydro’s Dave Conway. Here are a few:

• The B.C. Liberals have stated that 78 per cent of Hydro’s future load growth will be mitigated by demand-side measures. So instead of a 40 per cent load growth over 20 years, the growth will be less than 10 per cent. Hydro’s load growth over the past 10 years has been virtually flat.

• The dam’s “independent” joint review panel had one hand tied behind its back because it wasn’t allowed to examine the gas-fired option. The panel’s report questions the wisdom of denying Hydro the opportunity of building small gas-fired plants as needed instead of Site C.

• Site C’s power will be affordable? It will be three times the current market rate. Newfoundland’s power rate will double to 21.4 cents a kilowatt-hour by 2021 due to its disastrous Muskrat Falls hydro project, which is more than $5 billion over budget and two years behind schedule. The B.C. Liberals rejected the review panel’s recommendation that the B.C. Utilities Commission study the financial viability of Site C.

• A capital-intensive dam is the worst thing to build as backup for renewable power. When the dam sits idle, interest costs of hundreds of millions of dollars a year continue to accumulate. Rising interest rates expose Hydro ratepayers to huge risk. The major cost of a gas-fired plant is fuel, which is zero when the plant isn’t needed.

Martin Cavin

Retired power engineer

Port Moody



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