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Vancouver, B.C. – October 19, 2017 – Yesterday, the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) and Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA) made their final submission to the BCUC Site C Inquiry Review Panel. The report, prepared by McCullough Research, speaks to the BCUC’s own October 11 Alternative Portfolio findings, consisting primarily of a composition of wind power with battery backup.

Internationally respected energy expert Robert McCullough found that contrary to BC Hydro’s assertions, the BCUC October 11 Alternative Portfolio:

  • is less expensive than a portfolio with Site C, even considering sunk and termination costs;
  • includes resources that are commercially feasible; and,
  • does allow for the firming, shaping and storage capability to meet forecast need.

Building the BCUC’s wind powered portfolio instead of Site C will save BC ratepayers between $0.5 and $2.1 billion, even if sunk costs and termination costs are included.

Other key points that arise from a review of the McCullough report:

  1. BC Hydro has not included storage capacity at the Mica Dam in its energy analysis. This is a low cost source of significant extra capacity.
  2. BC Hydro continues to use outdated forecasts which incorrectly show that surplus electricity can be sold at a profit into the United States export market.
  3. BC Hydro says it is expanding demand supply management (energy conservation programs), when it is not.
  4. BC Hydro says that it cannot build wind power and must turn to the private sector which is much more costly. This is not true. If BC Hydro cannot develop the expertise to build wind in house, the private sector will be able access competitive financing, with a BC Hydro energy purchase contract in hand, to build.
  5. BC Hydro says battery costs are higher than the BCUC forecasts, which is not supported by the evidence.
  6. BC Hydro says the BCUC’s peak power prices to move load off peak are unrealistic. This ignores the fact that BC Hydro’s industrial load forecast is dropping in key areas such as pulp and paper, so peak pricing is not needed. It is also important to note electric vehicle charging will happen off peak, and if it doesn’t, time of use pricing can be used to encourage that consumer behaviour.
  7. BC Hydro used out of date estimates for the cost of wind power. The BCUC cost estimates for wind power now, and in the future, are consistent with well-respected international benchmarks. Just across the border, wind power is being built at very low cost.
  8. BC Hydro continues to assert that geothermal is not a viable low cost resource option in BC. As the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA) report shows (link included below), this is not true. Low cost viable geothermal power can be deployed on the same timetable as Site C. Everywhere else in North America geothermal is used in areas with the same geology as BC.
  9. BC Hydro says consumer demand is growing, this is incorrect. The most recent quarterly report, issued by BC Hydro on October 16 (over a month late, and after the BCUC technical presentations were over), reveals no growth in demand for electricity by consumers in BC. In fact, the recent quarterly report shows the total gigawatt hours sold to domestic customers (industrial, residential, and commercial) decreased by almost 5% from the same quarter in 2016.

“We look forward to unequivocal advice from the BCUC to cancel Site C,” says Ken Boon, PVLA President. “The case is clear and compelling. The project is not past the point of no return and we will be looking to the provincial government to act in the best interest of all ratepayers and taxpayers, and cancel this project.”
To read McCullough Research’s most recent report, submitted to the BCUC Site C Inquiry on October 18, click here.

Additional Materials:

For more information, please contact: 

To download the full McCullough Report, and to read all other expert reports submitted by PVLA and PVEA to the BCUC Site C Inquiry, please visit: www.peacevalleyland.com/sitecinquiry.
Robert McCullough is Principal of McCullough Research in Portland, OR, and for over thirty-seven years has advised governments, utilities, and aboriginal groups on energy, metals, paper, and chemical issues. He has testified repeatedly in state, federal, and provincial courts as well as before Congress and regulatory bodies. His testimony in front of the Senate Energy Committee is credited with initiating the Enron trading investigations during which he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and three western attorney generals. He has consulted for U.S. and Canadian clients on hydroelectric issues in many states and provinces, including on many occasions, presenting on issues before Canadian regulators.
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Robert McCullough’s BCUC Technical Presentation: Termination of Site C will Save BC Ratepayers $2.08 to $4.37 Billion

What: International energy expert Robert McCullough will present his technical report to the BCUC’s Site C Inquiry Panel, which finds terminating Site C and replacing it with an alternative portfolio of renewables will save between $2.08 to $4.37 billion.

The presentation provides unequivocal evidence that terminating Site C will save British Columbia ratepayers billions of dollars and will aid the BCUC in its advice to this effect to the BC Cabinet.

Robert McCullough will be available for interview following his presentation to the BCUC’s Site C Inquiry panel.

When:             Friday, October 13, 2017
10:15 – 11:00 am, then by request

Where:            BCUC’s Site C Inquiry Technical Presentation Sessions
                        1125 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2K8
                        (interviews to take place outside, corner of Howe and Helmcken)

Who:               Robert McCullough, International Energy Expert

McCullough’s technical presentation will be publicly available at 12:00pm (PST)on Friday, October 13, 2017 at www.peacevalleyland.com/sitecinquiry.

Robert McCullough will also be available for interviews following BC Hydro’s technical presentation to the BCUC’s Site C Inquiry Panel at 5:00pmSaturday, October 14.

Additional Information:

Materials submitted to the BCUC’s Site C Inquiry:

Media Contacts:
Amanda Munro or Emily Marroquin
604-360-3994 / 604-928-6299
news@munrothompson.com

Robert McCullough is Principal of McCullough Research in Portland, OR, and for over thirty-seven years has advised governments, utilities, and aboriginal groups on energy, metals, paper, and chemical issues. He has testified repeatedly in state, federal, and provincial courts as well as before Congress and regulatory bodies. His testimony in front of the Senate Energy Committee is credited with initiating the Enron trading investigations during which he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and three western attorney generals. He has consulted for U.S. and Canadian clients on hydroelectric issues in many states and provinces, including on many occasions, presenting on issues before Canadian regulators.

20170924_121614-02

                                      Bear Flat in the Peace River Valley     Photo:  Andrea Morison

Dear Friends,

We want to start with a big shout out to everyone who donated in the last week to support our campaign work!  Thank you so much!  For those who would still like to make a donation to ensure that we can see this campaign to stop Site C through to the end, please visit our donation page here (it’s Sierra Club’s page but your donation will go to all three groups).

We may well be in the home stretch!

The final decision on Site C will be made by the BC government. The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) will submit their recommendations to the government on November 1st, shortly after which we expect them to announce whether they will cancel, put on hold or continue with Site C dam.

This is where you come in!

We need as many of you as possible to take actions such as those listed below to ensure that the politicians make the decision to cancel the dam completely:

  • Drop by your MLA’s office and talk to them and/or their staff about why we don’t need Site C.
  • Take the time to send a hand-written letter to your MLA about why BC doesn’t need Site C. Hand-written letters are very effective! Drop it off in person if you can.
    • If you’re up for it, please also consider sending a hand-written letter to any of these key ministers (find their contact details here):
      • Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
      • George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
      • Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
      • Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture
    • Broaden your impact by hosting a letter writing party with your friends – invite them over for an opportunity for discussion and action and get those letters out!
    • Go to our letter writing website and send a letter to key provincial politicians here.

Resources to assist you:

    • Find your MLA’s contact information here
    • Find useful facts from experts here.  Leave a copy for your MLA.

We’re all hoping that this is it – we are in the final stretch of this incredibly long road to ensure that the Peace River Valley and all British Columbians are saved from this unnecessary, overly expensive and destructive project. We know that we don’t need the power now and if and when we do, alternatives are far less expensive. We also know we can save more money by stopping the dam now than by completing it.

Thank you all for your incredible support!  And please consider making even a small donation to assist with our work on this campaign. If everyone donated just $10, we would be able to keep going. Our need at this time is urgent. Please make your donation here. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

There are all kinds of numbers out there when it comes to explaining the amount of land that would be impacted by Site C dam.  One of the frequently overlooked figures is the amount of land that is likely to slide into the river over time, should Site C be built, referred to in planning as statutory right-of-way lands.

A visit to the WAC Bennett Dam’s Williston Reservoir provides a perfect example of how the clay banks of the region tend to slide much more quickly and further inland than BC Hydro had initially predicted.

Take this cabin – BC Hydro initially stated that it was well back from even the furthest erosion lines when the Williston Reservoir was filled.  However, within about 40 years, it fell right into the reservoir.

According to BC Hydro’s own documents, following are the types of land that would be impacted by Site C:

So what is ‘statutory right-of-way’ land? 

These are lands that BC Hydro would purchase the property rights for.  They would compensate the landowners for the restricted use of that land.  A statutory right-of-way would specify that no new residential structures would be permitted within the impact lines.  Non-residential structures could remain, pending site-specific geotechnical assessments.  Other activities such as agriculture, grazing and trapping could continue within the impact lines.

So what is the big deal?

BC Hydro enforces the terms associated with use of this land.  While farmers may continue to be able to plant and harvest crops on the agricultural portions of this land, that’s not very likely because the terms of the agreement say things like:

  • Part of all of the SRW Area on the land may from time to time be flooded or otherwise affected due to the construction, operation, maintenance, repair or replacement of the Site C Dam
  • BC Hydro may:
    • saturate, permeate, overflow, flood and cover the SRW Area with the flood, slack or backwater created by the Site C dam
    • cause debris to be desposited in connection with overflowing or flooding
    • cause erosion, sloughing, slides and wave actions changes,
    • cause ground water changes
    • remove, destroy or dispose of any buildings, structures, timber, obstructions, accumulations or other things
    • pass or repass on, over, above, below or through the SRW Area with or without vehicles, machines, equipment and goods….

You get the jist.  So even though this land isn’t counted by BC Hydro as ‘impacted land’, it really should be.  What farmer is going to invest in time, effort, machinery or infrastructure to keep farming lands subject to these kinds of activities?

Let’s be clear, Site C is impacting alot more than just 6,469 ha of land, it’s more than triple that when you include forested as well as statutory right-of-way lands. – 23,073 ha or 57,013 acres when you include the losses from all that land that is likely to slough in to the river, just as it’s been doing for decades at Williston Reservoir.  Clay banks just don’t stand up against water for long.

Want to see what we’re talking about? 

In April 2012, BC Hydro shared maps demonstrating the anticipated erosion that would occur along the 83 kilometer stretch of the Peace River as well as it’s major tributaries and creeks.  They were contained a document called Preliminary Impact Lines and Preferred Highway 29 Realignments Maps for the Site C dam project.

These maps show 5 types of impacts to the land :

  1.  Proposed reservoir – gray shaded areas of the river – note islands covered in water as well as sections of shorline
  2. Preliminary or Flood Impact Lines in blue
  3. Erosion Impact Lines in green
  4. Stability Impact lines in fushia
  5. Landslide-Generated Wave Impact Lines in orange

Here’s a sample of a few of the 17 maps showing impact lines:

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Letter written to the BCUC from international energy expert Robert McCullough on October 2nd, 2017:

British Columbia Hydro has predicted that electric vehicles will constitute a significant proportion of electricity demand within the coming years. It is argued that the forecast increase in demand due to electric vehicles will help to offset or mitigate any forecast re-duced load from, for example, industrial customers. However, there is no evidence that this will be the case.

Full submission with evidence to support his claim can be found here:

20170929 Electric Vehicles Final (1)

Fort St. John, B.C. – September 29, 2017 – Yesterday, the Peace Valley Landowner Association (PVLA) and the Peace Valley Environment Association (PVEA) filed one in a series of McCullough Research expert reports with the BCUC’s Site C Inquiry.

In the report, energy expert Robert McCullough addresses one of the main arguments made for continuing Site C: the fact BC Hydro has already sunk about $2.1 billion into the project.

“This reasoning is known as the the sunk cost fallacy and fails to acknowledge that the dollars already spent cannot be recovered regardless of the outcome,” said Robert McCullough. “Sunk costs are never considered in economic decisions, because these costs are fixed, regardless of what decision is made. In the case of Site C, British Columbia Hydro has spent approximately a fifth of the $9 billion dollars needed to build the hydroelectric project. The dollars are spent and cannot be recovered whether the dam is completed or not. Part or all of the remainder – approximately $7 billion dollars – can be saved if a less expensive alternative is selected.”

“There is simply no good reason to throw good money after bad,” said PVLA President Ken Boon.

Date:               September 28, 2017

To:                   British Columbia Utilities Commission

From:              Robert McCullough, Eric Shierman, Robby Gottesman

Subject:          Question 58 – The Sunk Cost Fallacy

The following is an excerpt from the report:

Question 58 in the preliminary report appears to suggest that sunk costs are a consideration and ought to be included in an assessment of the cost of terminating Site C and replacing Site C with a portfolio of renewables.

It is well accepted that sunk costs are not considered in such decisions.

A sunk cost is a past expenditure that cannot be recovered.  Economic theory states that sunk costs are never considered in economic decisions, because these costs are fixed, regardless of what decision is made.  The famous professor and jurist, retired U.S. Appeals Judge Richard A. Posner, commented in his study of the economics of law:

We commit the “sunk costs” fallacy, or throwing good money after bad. That is, in making decisions, we frequently ignore the adage of letting bygones be bygones; we are unable to ignore costs that, having already been incurred, cannot be altered by the decision.[1]


[1] Economic Analysis of Law (7th Ed.), 2007, U.S. Appeals Judge (retired) Richard A. Posner, page 17.
Click the image below to download the unabridged report (3 pages):
To download the full McCullough Report, and to read all other expert reports submitted by PVLA and PVEA to the BCUC Site C Inquiry, please visit: www.peacevalleyland.com/sitecinquiry.
Robert McCullough is Principal of McCullough Research in Portland, OR, and for over thirty-seven years has advised governments, utilities, and aboriginal groups on energy, metals, paper, and chemical issues. He has testified repeatedly in state, federal, and provincial courts as well as before Congress and regulatory bodies. His testimony in front of the Senate Energy Committee is credited with initiating the Enron trading investigations during which he worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and three western attorney generals. He has consulted for U.S. and Canadian clients on hydroelectric issues in many states and provinces, including on many occasions, presenting on issues before Canadian regulators.
In 2014, Clean Energy BC commissioned KPMG to prepare a report on the jobs and economic benefits from a portfolio of renewable energy including wind power. Clean Energy BC then compared numbers from B.C. Hydro’s Site C projections on job creation and economic benefits to those set out in the Final Draft KPMG Report: Economic and Social Impacts of the Clean Energy Sector in B.C.

At the time of the release of the report, media outlet, Energetic City, covered the report and Clean Energy BC’s comparisons. An abstract of that article is below.

Energetic City reported the following:

A comparison by CEBC of economic-impact numbers from a new KPMG study, and numbers from B.C. Hydro’s Site C projections, are said to show greater returns from a portfolio of smaller projects in employment income, both during construction and in later operation. It is also said to show a bigger over-all contribution to the B.C. economy.

“It’s clear that a cost-effective diversity of clean-energy projects situated throughout B.C. has a far greater positive impact on BC jobs and the economy, especially for First Nations than does B.C. Hydro’s Site C mega project up on the Peace River in northeastern B.C.,” Executive Director of Clean Energy B.C., Paul Kariya said in a written statement.

Taking the KPMG results, CEBC went on to make additional comparisons between a clean-energy portfolio and BC Hydro’s published Site C project benefits. CEBC found:

  • Total contribution to B.C.’s GDP during construction would amount to approximately $4.3 billion (KPMG), compared with $3.2 billion from Site C.
  • The contribution to B.C.’s economy during operations would be $90 million a year (KPMG) compared with $7 million from site C.
  • Total labour income from construction of the clean-energy portfolio would come in at $2.9 billion (KPMG), compared with B.C. Hydro’s estimate of $2.2 billion for Site C.
  • Total employment income from operations of the clean-energy projects would amount to $45 million a year (KPMG), compared with only $4.9 million at Site C.
  • The clean-energy projects would rack up a total of 45,200 person-years of fulltime-equivalent employment during construction (KPMG), while Site C would offer 33,000.
  • During operations, after construction, the clean-energy projects would mean 695 person-years of employment (KPMG), compared with only 160 from Site C.
  • Over a 40-year time period, total employment from operations adds up to 27,800 FTE person-years from the smaller projects (KPMG), compared with 6,400 from Site C.
  • Many of the economic impacts would be local in nature leading to widely distributed direct and indirect economic benefits. Jobs and incomes would support First Nations and a variety of rural and urban communities throughout B.C.
A copy of the Final Draft KPMG Report can be found here, or by clicking the image below:
The report was never finalized because KPMG terminated its relationship with Clean Energy BC.
Statement from Ken Boon, PVLA President:

“This 2014 Clean Energy BC and KPMG analysis of jobs and economic benefits from Site C vs. renewables like wind energy is just as true now as it was then. This is another BC Hydro promise that rings hollow – the truth is cancelling Site C and building more renewable energy will create many more, not less, well paid short and long term jobs for British Columbians.”

For more information, including all past reports go to www.peacevalleyland.com/sitecinquiry.
PVLA Site C Inquiry Reports

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