Friday, September 7, 2018

BC Hydro suspension of Standing Offer Program on Clean Energy proposals, may have impact on City's hydro generating plans

With a pending review ahead for the operations of BC Hydro, the province's electricity provider has announced the suspension of a Clean energy initiative that would have seen BC Hydro pursue Electricity Purchase Agreements for five clean energy projects and hold off on pursuit of any other projects for now.

The update on the BC Hydro program was posted to the corporate website on August 31st.

The five projects that are were part of the current call for proposals included:

Tsilhqot’in Solar – 1MW6 
Siwash Creek – 500kW 
Sarita River – 5MW 
Sukunka Wind - 15MW 
Zonnebeke Wind – 15MW

More on those projects and what BC Hydro hoped to achieve from them can be found here.

The decision to suspend any further action on the clean power initiatives for the moment, could put a bit of a damper on any plans for local Wind, or Tidal power proposals for the North Coast, with nowhere to deliver the power generated, there doesn't seem much of a business case for investment until the BC Hydro review is complete.

Currently one project is being investigated in the region a wind form concept  for Port Edward,  you can review some of the scattered history of the North coast initiatives from our archive page here.

Another interested observer in the BC Hydro moves will be the City of Prince Rupert, as part of the Mayor's Hays 2.0 update presentation of this April (see the 55 minute mark), Mayor Brain offered up a snap shot as to how the City's plans for a new Woodworth Lake Dam would include the ability to generate electricity.

"One of our new goals as part of Rebuild Rupert is to think about innovation in terms of, if we replace infrastructure, how do we generate revenue off that. And so we have really smart engineers who have thought you know what, why don't we produce power out of this new dam. So that's actually what we are designing into the dam, we're going to design the dam in a way where we can produce energy which means we can potentially generate revenue for this community off that hydro electric project. 

It also creates resiliency ... let's just imagine like in 2007 and the mudslide that took out the gas line what if we're in a situation where we are out of electricity, it happened last May I think we had a whole day where the line was cut and we had to have the diesel back up generators that BC Hydro has, we could produce energy for ourselves if we needed to."

The bid for tenders was for that project was put out earlier this year.

Council has not discussed those plans much in a public council session since the Hays 2.0 presentation of April, so there's not much in the way of information for the public to review when it comes to the city's long term goals and what the costs may be for such a generating facility as part the water supply dam project.

The Mayor did return to the theme of the Woodworth plan, as well as to make note of some other energy initiatives as part of a presentation to council in June related to his Sustainable City 2030 initiative.

Following that review of June 11th, council members offered a fair bit of praise on the vision that Mayor outlined, though they provided for few actual questions related to the concepts at the time.

For those looking for a bit more background, the city's website offers up some talking points on the Sustainable city themes here.

With the announcement from BC Hydro to put all future plans on hold pending the review, it may be a timely moment for the Mayor and City Council to offer up some further notes on the city's plans for the electricity generating option for the water dam.

An update would offer up just a bit more background for the public as to what kind of timeline that the city believes will be in play before they will be able to make use of any electricity that is generated from the dam and if BC Hydro has any inclination to accept their plans in the first place.

For more notes related to BC Hydro see our archive page here.

A wider overview of some of the City Council's discussion themes can be found here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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