AbeBooks.com. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.
Feed on

As I make my way around the province I find the following the greatest area of misunderstanding (a misunderstanding fostered and encouraged by the government and the private river people) to be that private power will help take care of BC’s energy needs.

When lawyers see a statement like “fish live in water therefore I must visit the North Pole” they call it a non sequitur; literally “it does not follow”.

The Campbell government and the power producers have a pronounced a classic non sequitur in the private power debate. They say “British Columbia needs or will need power therefore we must have private ‘run of river’ projects.”

Remember that electricity in bulk cannot be stored and must be used as it is created. BC Hydro “stores” electricity by creating a reservoir behind its dams which can be used to turn their generators. For all intents and purposes, private river plants do not have the ability to store significant amounts of water. In fact they boast of the fact that they don’t create reservoirs. They must, then, rely upon the quantity of the river flow. The amount of energy produced by private power must come from the Spring run-off; when the height of the river drops, as it does after run-off, little if any electricity can be created.

It does not, then, follow that if we need power we can use private river projects because the vast majority of power created by private projects comes at the same time BC Hydro’s reservoirs are full thus have no use for private river power.

In short, the only use for private power is export which is what Donald McInnis, CEO of the Plutonic/General Electric partnership freely admits.

The new minister of Energy, Blair Lekstrom, has said this in a letter to several newspapers: NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement) “is not part of our energy mix”. This abysmal ignorance should alarm us all. Whether or not we get involved with NAFTA is not a matter for Mr. Lekstrom to decide but happens automatically when you ship power over the border. It must be realized that NAFTA is calculated to help the corporate world. TIt’s not a matter of whether or not NAFTA applies but HOW it applies. For the minister to have made such a statement shows either abysmal ignorance or egregious arrogance or both and it indicates one more time that the Campbell government has no time for honestly putting its schemes before the public.

If Gordon Campbell is re-elected the enormous Bute Inlet project of Plutonic/General Electric will be approved – 17 rivers involved – and with that precedent there’ll be no way to turn down future private power applications. BC will be in the business of being the biggest supplier of energy in the western United States and river after river will become suppliers of that power. The profits of that power will not go to the people of BC but to shareholders, like Warren Buffet at General Electric.

If you plan to vote Liberal or Green beware of what the consequences will be.

2 Responses to “River Privatization Just Produces Power That We Don’t Need”

  1. Hugh says:

    According to their 2008 Annual Report, BC Hydro has 89 agreements with private IPPs (EPAs) to buy 14,860 GWh of electricity per year. Of this, in 2008, 7,765 GWh was delivered.

    This means, I assume, that there is 7,095 GWh/year of power to come from IPPs now under construction.

    The Report also says BC Hydro in fiscal 2008 was a net seller of 1,161 GWh of electricity (p. 17). With new IPP power coming online in the next year or so, it seems to me that Hydro’s electricity surplus may well become bigger.

    Hydro’s electricity surplus has to be exported. If prevailing rates are low, Hydro may end up exporting that surplus at a loss. Am I understanding this correctly?

  2. Monika Forberger says:

    Dear Rafe:
    I met you many years ago through my dear old friend John Massey, and I recall how actively and vigorously you pursued the “Saving the Skagit” project. Congratulations. I can never drive through southern BC without saying “Thanks, John.” And I guess I should add, “Thank You, Rafe.”
    I was sent an e-mail about the possible loss of our hydro resources to American big business, thanks to NAFTA. I shall certainly disseminate the message to as many people as I can. I am personally not a supporter of the NDP, but I understand that right now we need to send “Greedy Gordo” a REAL message about our own rights, and the rights we MUST pass on to future generations.
    Water is our most precious resource — let’s make certain we have enough for our own needs for millennia, not just a couple of decades.
    Thanks for keeping up the GOOD FIGHT!

Leave a Reply