Media release - for immediate release
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
February 24, 2011
BCCGE applauds BC Hydro’s
$6 billion regeneration plan
“The bottom line is that most of our hydroelectric
infrastructure in B.C. was built in the decades following
the Second World War and it’s showing its age....
Upgrading this aging infrastructure and making a
significant investment to regenerate it is vital if we want
to keep the lights on in our province over the next 50 years.”
— David Field, co-spokesperson, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy —
Vancouver, B.C. — B.C. Citizens for Green Energy (BCCGE) is applauding BC Hydro’s $6 billion, three-year “regeneration plan” which will significantly upgrade the crown utility’s aging electricity generating and transmission infrastructure.
According to BC Hydro, electricity demand in B.C. is forecast to grow by 40 per cent over the next 20 years. The crown utility’s $6 billion, three-year capital investment strategy is therefore aimed at “meeting the public’s current and future demands for clean, reliable electricity.”
BCCGE co-spokesperson David Field says these major investments in the province’s public electricity infrastructure are long overdue and well-warranted.
BC Hydro acknowledges that the cost of these major infrastructure upgrades will put “upward pressure” on hydro rates. But as Field quite rightly points out, residential electricity rates in B.C. are currently among the lowest in North America and have been kept artificially low, in part, by putting off much needed overhauls and equipment updating.
“A comparison of North American electricity rates shows that residential rates in B.C. are almost half what they are in Toronto and Regina, and nearly a third of what they are in major American cities like San Francisco and New York,” said Field.
Field also points to the “Backgrounder” attached to BC Hydro’s press release and a key chart outlining BC Hydro’s capital expenditures (in current 2010 dollars) from 1990 through 2014.
“From 1990 to 2000, BC Hydro’s capital expenditures averaged about $350 million per year, while hydro rates were frozen by the NDP government of the day,” said Field. “Then, from 2000 to 2009, BC Hydro’s capital expenditures began trending upward ranging between $500 million to $750 million a year for most of the decade — that’s nearly double the capital expenditures made during the 1990s.”
Field adds that BC Hydro’s capital expenditures increased to more than one billion dollars in 2008 and more than $1.3 billion in 2009 — that’s almost four times more than was spent on average during the 1990s.
In 2010, BC Hydro’s capital expenditures approached the $2.5 billion mark, and similar expenditures (in the range of $2.25 billion per year) are forecast for 2012 through 2014.
“The bottom line is that most of our hydroelectric infrastructure in B.C. was built in the decades following the Second World War and it’s showing its age,” said Field. “Upgrading this aging infrastructure and making a significant investment to regenerate it is vital if we want to keep the lights on in our province over the next 50 years.”
BC Hydro’s “regeneration plan” includes an $800-million upgrade to the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse located in Mission. The Ruskin Dam was built in 1930 and has not received significant upgrades or modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s.
The Ruskin Dam project will upgrade the facility to modern safety and seismic standards and replace the powerhouse equipment which is in poor condition.
For more information about green energy issues in B.C. please visit our BCCGE website at www.greenenergybc.ca and join the green energy discussion on the BCCGE Livewire Blog.
For more information contact David Field
Co-spokesperson, B.C. Citizens for Green Energy
e-mail us at email@example.com
B.C. Citizens for Green Energy is an advocacy group representing a cross-section of British Columbians who encourage a legacy of clean, renewable electricity for future generations.