Renewables are the future

The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) report on the economics of Site C was released this week, making a clear case that conservation, wind, solar and geothermal could be as good or better for B.C. than the mega dam. The BCUC’s report represents a pivotal shift in thinking, which can directly be linked to the progress of renewable energy. It’s is no longer the case that we need to acquire energy through large, centralized mega projects. Distributed energy from smaller projects is now achievable, allowing us to bring new projects on to match the timing of the need.

This is in in sharp contrast to Site C, where if built would result in an excess of power that may not be needed for decades. One of the powerful things from the BCUC report is that BC Hydro should have been more realistic with its electricity forecasts. In fact, the commission went as far to say that even BC Hydro’s mid-load forecast was “excessively optimistic” and noted there are risks that could result in demand being less than even BC Hydro’s lowest demand scenario. If Site C is built, there would be no room for other energy sources and the provincial utility would be hunting for places to sell the excess power, likely at a loss.

Without Site C, we still have many options and a lot less risk. We can focus on conservation and energy efficiency, and the adoption of low impact options like solar for home and business rooftops. Let’s not forgot the potential court challenges and additional costs associated with Site C. While the government will make the final decision on the fate of Site C, we believe the jury has spoken. Renewables are the future, offering us flexibility and much more say in the type of future we want to create.

Camille Jensen

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