Cancellation of BC Hydro’s Duke Point power plant scheme brought relief to a wide spectrum of Vancouver Island residents, including household consumers, environmentalists and industry.
The proposed $280-million natural gas-fired plant was finally scrapped in June 2005 after 10 years of study and $120 million in expenses. The Nanaimo facility would have spewed out 800,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. That one plant alone would have caused a 25-per-cent increase in the GHGs we produce through electricity generation. That’s equivalent to an extra 145,500 cars on the road.
Duke Point was the last gasp of a 1990s scheme for a series of gas-fired plants on Vancouver Island. Opponents successfully blocked similar proposals in Port Alberni, Cowichan and Duncan. Yet BC Hydro persisted in the face of rising natural gas prices, Vancouver Island’s potential as a green powerhouse and overwhelming evidence that GHGs cause global warming.
Widespread public opposition finally killed the scheme, which was another example of BC Hydro’s outmoded thinking.