Update on BC IPP Supply

Last week, BC Hydro released updated information with respect to its supply of electricity from independent power producers (IPPs). IPPs include power production companies, First Nations, municipalities and BC Hydro customers.

There are a wide variety of IPP projects located across the province and include renewables such as hydro, wind, biomass and biogas, thermal (natural gas), waste heat recovery and municipal solid waste.

The current total BC IPP capacity is 3,914 MW which generates 16,585 GWh of energy per year. The largest "IPP" project listed is Rio Tinto  Alcan's hydro project (896 MW / 3,307 GWh/year).

For your information, please find: 

1. BC IPP supply map;

2. List of BC IPP projects currently supplying BC Hydro; and

3. List of BC IPP projects in development.

(current to October 2014)

Update: Bioenergy Phase 2 Call

Just a quick update on our previous post.  BC Hydro announced today that it received registrations from 14 proponents for 19 bioenergy projects in response to the May 31 Bioenergy Phase 2 Call request for proposals.  Names of the proponents or descriptions of the projects have not been released.

According to the release, BC Hydro estimates that the 19 projects represent approximately 500-650 MW of capacity or 3,500-5,000 GWh/year of energy.  BC Hydro is targeting 1,000 GWh/year of energy from the Call. Proposals must be submitted by October 28, 2010.

BC Hydro's Bioenergy Phase 2 Call

From my new colleague, Jenny Kirkpatrick

On May 31, 2010, BC Hydro issued a Request for Proposals in relation to the long term supply of clean or renewable biomass energy generated by new projects in British Columbia (the “Bioenergy Phase 2 Call”).  Those intending to submit a Proposal must first register with BC Hydro and the registration deadline is fast approaching - July 15, 2010 at 4pm.

With the recent announcement of the Clean Energy Act coming into force, it is worth noting that there is a direct effect on the Bioenergy Phase 2 Call insofar as the Utilities Commission Act  ("UCA") is concerned. It is anticipated that BC Hydro will post an Addendum and/or Notice(s) to the RFP website to address modifications to the RFP process required to accommodate all impacts of the Clean Energy Act, including exemptions from certain procedural requirements to which energy supply contracts in British Columbia are normally subject.

Specifically, section 7(1)(e) of the Clean Energy Act exempts, “a bio-energy phase 2 call to acquire up to 1,000 gigawatt hours per year of electricity” from sections 45 to 47 and 71 of the UCA. Those provisions essentially relate to the British Columbia Utilities Commission’s (“BCUC”) approval process for public utility plants or systems, or Section 71 Hearings (as they are known).  Pursuant to section 71 of the UCA, all energy supply contracts are subject to the scrutiny of the BCUC, which determines whether the subject energy supply contract is in the public interest. By being exempt from BCUC’s regulatory process, those intending to submit a proposal in response to the Bioenergy Phase 2 Call will not be burdened with having to file an energy supply contract, in this case the electricity purchase agreement, with the BCUC, nor required to participate in a public hearing convened by the BCUC. In addition, the Bioenergy Phase 2 Call is exempt from the requirement to obtain a “certificate of public convenience and necessity” prior to the construction, operation or extension of a public utility plant or system, as provided for in s. 45 of the UCA. Lastly, the procedural requirements set out in s. 46 and the provisions relating to cease work orders set out in s. 47 of the UCA, do not apply to the Bioenergy Phase 2 Call. As a result, proponents will not have to incur the (often significant) costs associated with meeting these procedural requirements.  Regulatory barriers aside, all of the proponents will have to comply with the RFP's procedural requirements.

Exempting the Bioenergy Phase 2 Call from sections 45 to 47 and 71 of the UCA will likely result in the development of clean energy projects in a more expeditious manner, which in turn will help the B.C. Government meet its objectives as set out in the Clean Energy Act. 

BC's 2010 Throne Speech - Untapping BC's Clean Energy Potential

Today, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia delivered the Speech from the Throne (click to read), which opened the Second Session of the 39th Parliament of British Columbia.  

The 2010 Olympics and the economy were principal topics of course, but the BC government's commitment to revamping the Province's clean energy industry also featured prominently. Below are some of the highlights from the Speech relevant to the clean energy sector:

  • The BC government will take a fresh look at B.C.'s regulatory regimes, including the BC Utilities Commission.
  • BC can harness [BC's untapped energy] potential to generate new wealth and new jobs in its communities while it lower greenhouse gas emissions within and beyond our borders.
  • Clean energy is a cornerstone of BC's Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one‑third by 2020.
  • Building on the contributions of the Green Energy Advisory Task Force, the BC government will launch a comprehensive strategy to put BC at the forefront of clean energy development.
  • BC has enormous potential in bioenergy, run‑of‑river, wind, geothermal, tidal, wave and solar energy. We will put it to work for our economy.
  • The BC government will introduce a new Clean Energy Act to encourage new investments in independent power production while also strengthening BC Hydro.
    • It will provide for fair, predictable, clean power calls.
    • It will feature simplified procurement protocols and new measures to encourage investment and the jobs that flow with it.
  • New investment partnerships in infrastructure that encourage and enable clean modes of transportation, such as electric vehicles, hydrogen‑powered vehicles and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas and liquid natural gas, will be pursued.
  • The BC government will support new jobs and private sector investment in wood pellet plants, cellulosic ethanol production, biomass gasification technologies and fuel cell technologies.
  • Bioenergy creates new uses for waste wood and beetle‑killed forests and new jobs for forest workers.
  • A new receiving license will give bioenergy producers new certainty of fiber supply, while a new stand‑as‑a‑whole pricing system will encourage utilization of logging residues and low‑grade material that was previously burned or left on the forest floor.
  • The BC government will optimize existing generation facilities and report on the Site C review this spring.
    • It will develop and capture B.C.'s unique capability to firm and shape the intermittent power supply that characterizes new sources of clean energy to deliver reliable, competitively‑priced, clean power — where and when it is needed most.
  • New conservation measures, smart meters and in‑home displays will help maximize energy savings. New smart grid investments and net metering will provide more choices and opportunities for reduced energy costs and more productive use of electricity.
  • New transmission investments will open up the Highway 37 corridor to new mines and clean power.
  • New transmission infrastructure will link Northeastern B.C. to our integrated grid, provide clean power to the energy industry and open up new capacity for clean power exports to Alberta, Saskatchewan and south of the border.
  • We will seek major transmission upgrades with utilities in California and elsewhere.
  • If the Province act with clear vision and concerted effort now, in 2030, people will look back to this decade as we look to the 1960s today.

With significant investment in green energy being made elsewhere, both in Canada and the US,  we hope that today's Speech from the Throne demonstrates the BC government's commitment to building the Provincial economy in part with the support of the clean energy sector.

BC's Green Energy Advisory Task Force

Following up on the BC Government's August 2009 throne speech and the Premier's announcement on November 2, 2009, today, the BC Government announced the members of, and the terms of reference for, BC's Green Energy Advisory Task Force. 

Here is the weblink for public submissions, which can be made on any of the four task force topics until December 31.
I am very pleased to have been appointed to be a part of a team that will advance BC's long-term vision for green energy.
Reporting directly to the Cabinet Committee on Climate Action and Clean Energy, the Green Energy Advisory Task Force will comprise of the following 4 advisory task force groups:
  • Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Procurement and Regulatory Reform
    This task force will recommend improvements to BC Hydro’s procurement and regulatory regimes to enhance clarity, certainty and competitiveness in promoting clean and cost-effective power generation; and identify possible improvements to future clean power calls and procurement processes.
  • Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Carbon Pricing, Trading and Export Market Development
    This task force will develop recommendations to advance British Columbia’s interests in any future national or international cap and trade system, and to maximize the value of B.C.’s green-energy attributes in all power generated and distributed within and beyond B.C. borders. The task force will also develop recommendations on carbon-pricing policies and how to integrate these policies with any cap and trade system developed for B.C.
  • Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Community Engagement and First Nations Partnerships
    This task force will develop recommendations to ensure that First Nations and communities see clear benefits from the development of clean and renewable electricity and have a clear opportunity for input in project development in their areas. It will work in partnership with First Nations, not only to respect their constitutional right, but to open up new opportunities for job creation and reflect the best practices in environmental protection.
  • Green Energy Advisory Task Force on Resource Development
    This task force will identify impediments to and best practices for planning and permitting new clean, renewable-electricity generation to ensure that development happens in an environmentally sustainable way. The task force will also consider allocation of forest fibre to support energy development and invite input from solar, tidal, wave and other clean energy sectors to develop strategies to enhance their competitiveness.
BC has tremendous green energy potential and we are pleased that the government is taking steps that will help turn British Columbia's energy potential into real economic, environmental and social benefits for all British Columbians.

SDTC Awards $54 Million For Clean Energy Technologies

The Government of Canada, through its foundation Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), announced last week that it is investing $54 million to support development and demonstration of 18 innovative clean energy technologies. A list of all 18 projects receiving funding can be found here

Three projects located in British Columbia received SDTC funding:

  •  Lignol Innovations Ltd.'s Generation 2 biorefinery technology, which aims to make greater utilization of the hemilcellulose derived sugars by conversion to an additional yield of ethanol and other sugar platform chemicals such as glycols.  If successful, this project will further improve the environmental and economic benefits of cellulosic ethanol facilities
  • Saltworks Technologies Inc.'s low energy desalination demonstration. Saltworks is developing a thermal powered (solar or processed heat) desalination system that reduces electrical energy requirements by up to 80%, thereby improving the affordability and accessibility of clean water. 
  • SunSelect Produce (Delta) Inc.'s  wood fired heat and CO2 recovery plant to help accelerate the photosynthesis process in greenhouses. SunSelect's system aims to avoid fossil-fuel based heating and CO2 production by using biomass-based combustion with gas cleaning and CO2 storage.
SDTC also announced that its SD Tech Fund will be accepting Statements of Interest from September 2 to October 21, 2009.  SDTC's SD Tech Fund invests in late stage development and pre-commercial demonstration of clean technologies by Canadian companies. For more information, click here.
You can follow me and the Megawatt blog on Twitter.

BC Throne Speech - A Major Boost For Green Energy

Today, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia delivered the Speech from the Throne (click to read) to open the 2009 Legislative Session: 1st Session, 39th Parliament of the BC Legislature.

For BC's renewable energy sector which has been looking for a new commitment from the BC Government, the Throne Speech was most definitely that.

Here are the specific renewable energy highlights direct from the Speech: 

·         Green energy will be a cornerstone of British Columbia's climate action plan.

·         Electricity self-sufficiency and clean, renewable power generation will be integral to our effort to fight global warming.

·         The BC Utilities Commission will receive specific direction.

·         Phasing out Burrard Thermal is a critical component of B.C.'s greenhouse gas reduction strategy.

·         Further, this government will capitalize on the world's desire and need for clean energy, for the benefit of all British Columbians.

·         Whether it is the development of Site C, run-of-river hydro power, wind, tidal, solar, geothermal, or bioenergy and biomassBritish Columbia will take every step necessary to become a clean energy powerhouse, as indicated in the BC Energy Plan.

·         Government will use the means at its disposal to maximize our province's potential for the good of our workers, our communities, our province and the planet.

·         While these forms of power require greater investment, in the long run, they will produce exponentially higher economic returns to our province, environmental benefits to our planet and jobs throughout British Columbia.

·         High-quality, reliable, clean power is an enormous economic advantage that will benefit every British Columbian in every part of this province for generations to come.

·         Ready access to clean, affordable power has been a huge strategic incentive to industrial development in British Columbia.

·         We will build on past successes with new strategies aimed at developing new clean, renewable power as a competitive advantage to stimulate new investment, industry and employment.

·         Growing knowledge industries like database management and telecommunications will increasingly look for new places to invest and create jobs that have clean, reliable, low-carbon, low-cost power.

·         New energy producers will be looking for long-term investments leveraged through long-term power contracts that give them a competitive edge in our province.

·         B.C.'s multiple sources of clean, renewable energy are far preferable to reliance on other dirtier forms of power.

·         We will open up that power potential with new vigour, new prescribed clean power calls and new investments in transmission. New approaches to power generation, transmission and taxation policies will create new high-paying jobs for British Columbia's families.

·         A new Green Energy Advisory Task Force will shortly be appointed to complement the work of the BCUC's long-term transmission requirement review.

·         That task force will be asked to recommend a blueprint for maximizing British Columbia's clean power potential, including a principled, economically-viable and environmentally-sustainable export development policy.

·         It will review the policies, incentives and impediments currently affecting B.C.'s green power potential, and it will identify best practices employed in other leading jurisdictions.

·         We will promote biomass power solutions and convert landfill waste into clean energy that reduces harmful methane gas emissions.

·         The government has mandated methane capture from landfills to ensure we deal responsibly with our own waste and convert it to clean energy where practicable.

BC Wind Power, Waneta Dam Hearings, Haida and NaiKun and Biomass EPA's Approved

Wind Turbines Are Spinning in BC (finally!)
British Columbia's first wind energy facility opened earlier this month in Dawson Creek. The Bear Mountain Wind Park, which is owned by AltaGas, when completed will consist of 34 turbines and generate enough electricity to power 38,000, homes. The project has an EPA with BC Hydro under the 2006 Power Call and will receive up to $20.5 million from the the Government of Canada's ecoENERGY For Renewables Program. This marks a significant milestone on the Canadian renewable energy landscape. Now each of Canada's 10 Provinces can claim to be generating electrons to their respective electricity grids from the power of the wind. A monumental moment indeed. Those in British Columbia can purchase electricity from the Bear Mountain Wind Park, through Bullfrog Power.
BC Hydro's Purchase of 1/3 of Waneta Dam before BC Utilities Commission
This week marks the start of the public hearing stage for BC Hydro's proposed purchase of a 1/3 interest in Teck Metals Ltd.'s Waneta Dam in Trail, BC . BC Hydro is seeking an order from the BCUC under s. 44.2(1) of the BC Utilities Commission Act that the proposed for $825 million purchase is in the public interest. In its submission to the BCUC, BC Hydro characterizes the Waneta Dam as a significant hydro electric generating facility that has produced safe, reliable power for Teck for over 50 years. If the purchase completes, BC Hydro believes it would gain access to 167MW of capacity and 890 GWh/year of energy. This is an interesting proposal for BC Hydro.  In BC there are only a handful of privately owned dams, and rarely, if ever, are these dams available for purchase. So, BC Hydro buying an existing asset which can supply base load power to the grid and storage capacity, seems to follow quite well with the Province's energy self-sufficiency objectives. The hearing process which will take place over the course of the fall, will examine, among many other things, the cost to acquire the interest in the dam and aboriginal consultation and/or accommodation. This will be very interesting to follow.  Here is the link to the BCUC's webpage on the BC Hydro Waneta Transaction.
NaiKun and the Haida Nation sign Investment MOU
Last week, NaiKun Wind Energy and the Haida Nation signed a memorandum of understanding which could give the Haida nation a 30% ownership stake in NaiKun's proposed $2 billion wind power project off the coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands. NaiKun currently has a proposal into BC Hydro as part of the Clean Power Call. Kudos to NaiKun and the Haida Nation who continue to show tremendous leadership on the business relationship between first nations and independent power producers. Here's the Vancouver Sun's story on the deal.
EPA's for Four Bioenergy Projects Accepted By BCUC
Following up on my earlier blog posts (here and here) on Phase I of BC Hydro's Bioenergy Call for Power, electricity purchase agreements between BC Hydro and the four successful projects have now been accepted by the BCUC. They are: Canfor Pulp Ltd. Partnership's project in Prince George, PG Interior Waste to Energy Ltd.'s project also in Prince George, Domtar Pulp and Paper Products Inc.'s project in Kamloops, and Zellstoff Celgar Ltd. Partnership's project in Castlegar. Together, the four projects will generate a total of 579 GWh/year of electricity, or enough to power more than 52,000 homes. Here is BC Hydro's press release. Biomass energy is certainly a welcome boon to BC's forest industry. Great to see BC Hydro buying more of it. Here is the latest information on the Phase II of the Bioenergy Call.
You can follow me and Megawatt on Twitter.

Green vs Black - The Canadian Hydro vs TransAlta Face-Off

There is an interesting battle playing out in the Canadian energy marketplace and it doesn't involving the oil patch. This time, it's big coal TransAlta seeking to buy Canadian renewable energy pioneer Canadian Hydro Developers for $4.55 per share. 

Canadian Hydro, founded by renewable energy pioneers, John and Ross Keating is a true leader in its field, operating wind, hydroelectric and biomass projects in BC, Alberta and Quebec. In June, it added the 198MW Wolfe Island wind farm to bring its operating total to 694 megawatts with another 252 megawatts in late-stage development.  Canadian Hydro Developers truly is a great Canadian renewable energy success story.

TransAlta is a giant power generator, which operates over 50 power plants (over 8000 MW) mainly from coal but with some wind energy (248MW).

TransAlta's hostile takeover notice came in last Monday. By Thursday, Canadian Hydro's CEO, Kent Brown and the board of directors asked that shareholders reject TransAlta's hostile bid, calling it "inadequate" and TransAlta's timing "purely opportunistic."  On Friday, Mr. Brown appeared on the Business News Network and made a compelling case for shareholders to reject TransAlta offer. Here is the 8 minute video link. 

On August 6, 2009, Canadian Hydro's board of directors issued a directors circular to all shareholders regarding TransAlta's offer. Here is the August 6 press release.

Those in the renewable energy industry are watching this story very closely. Could this the first move by coal and oil & gas in an attempt to take over the renewable energy sector and control the growth of clean and green energy in Canada? I see this hostile bid as TransAlta's way to green itself, to buy clean energy assets in order to offset CO2 emissions ultimately acting as a hedge against upcoming cap-and-trade laws. An interesting plan for sure. Perhaps it is thought to be cheaper to buy the green assets now, rather than purchasing the carbon offsets later? If that is true, then it is possible that Canadian Hydro is undervalued today.

There are so many questions, that only time will be able to answer. At least for now, the decision rests in the hands of the Canadian Hydro shareholders to do nothing or tender their shares.

You can now follow Megawatt and me on Twitter.

In the news: Ski Resort Wind Turbine, US Climate Bill Passes House and a $100M Geothermal IPO

Lots of renewable energy news this past week. Here's what I find interesting:

1. Vancouver Wind Turbine: Grouse Mountain Ski Resort situated high above the City of Vancouver will soon be home to a single 1.5 MW wind turbine which will be used to provide the busy ski hill (and local hiking hotspot) with approximately 20% of its energy.  The 65 metre wind tower which be built at the very top of the mountain and be visible from places across the lower mainland, will also accept visitors who will be able to ride an elevator to a viewing area 58 metres up. Now that's very cool. Commercial operation is expected right around the time of the Olympics, in early 2010.  You can read more about the details in the Vancouver Sun's recent article and commentary.  Well done, Grouse Mountain on your green energy project. This will be a great chance for people to appreciate the opportunity in British Columbia to harness the wind for our electricity. 

2. US Climate Change Bill Passes:  The US Clean Energy Act (Waxman-Markey Bill) was approved by a House vote of 219-212. The current version of the bill would mandate that 15% of the US electricity come from renewable sources by 2020.  It also sets the framework for a cap and trade system with the goal of reducing overall US greenhouse gas emissions by 17% from 2005 levels by the year 202, and 83% by 2050. The potential impact of this legislation is monumental. However, before you get too excited about it, remember the bill now goes on to be voted on in the Senate, where anything and everything can happen. For some great commentary on the bill, check out Alan Durning's post on Sightline. As for Canada's climate bill? Well, sadly, there is nothing to report. Canada is waiting it out and will piggy back on the American climate bill.  Interesting policy.

3. Geothermal Energy Company IPO: Vancouver based, Magma Energy Corp. a geothermal energy company with operations in the United States and South America, this past week reportedly raised $100 million in an initial public offering of the company's shares, which are expected to begin trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on July 7 (MXY.TO).  This is great news for the geothermal energy industry, which is truly one of the best renewable energy resources available on account of its reliability and base load capability but has always been under appreciated, until now perhaps. For more information on Canada's geothermal potential, check out CanGEA.  

FYI - You can now follow Megawatt on Twitter.

UNBC to Use Renewable Energy to Heat Campus

The University of Northern British Columbia, located in Prince George, BC has selected Vancouver based, Nexterra Energy Corp. to supply and install a turnkey biomass gasification system to heat UNBC's campus and anchor its new Northern Bioenergy Innovation Centre.

According to the press release issued last week, Nexterra's system is part of a $14.8 million bioenergy program that includes upgraded road and utility infrastructure, a new building and a "living laboratory" for bioenergy research and development. The Nexterra gasification system will convert locally-sourced wood residue into clean-burning "syngas" that will displace up to 85% of the natural gas currently used to heat the campus. The project, which is jointly funded by the federal and provincial governments, is expected to begin in June 2009. It will be complete by mid 2010 and construction will support approximately 150 jobs.

By using wood residue to displace natural gas, UNBC will reduce its fossil fuel consumption by 80,000 GJ/year, the equivalent of natural gas required to heat over 700 homes in B.C. The new system will also reduce the university's carbon footprint by approximately 3,500 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking 1,000 cars off the road.

This is a great story about the future of British Columbia. Here we have a BC based company supplying its homegrown green energy technology to a BC university, with the fuel for the plant coming from the local forest industry. I call this a win-win for the people of Prince George and the Province of British Columbia.  Not only will Nexterra's system help provide a much needed market for local forest waste and foster further research and innovation in the growing renewable energy sector, UNBC's decision to replace natural gas with biofuel to heat its campus will also contribute in the critical fight against climate change.

The way I see it, when there are viable non-GHG emitting alternatives to traditional sources of energy, let's just simply use them. UNBC's initiative is just another example of fresh forward thinking, something we all expect out of an institution of higher learning.

The BC Energy Plan: Report on Progress

Last week, the BC Government released a report on progress of its 2007 BC Energy Plan.  The report shows just how far the Province has come in a little over 2 years since the introduction of the BC Energy Plan and demonstrates the Province's environmental leadership and many initiatives in the clean energy sector.

Some of the renewable energy specific highlights in the report include:

The Province should be properly recognized for doing many of the right things to encourage the development of a green economy on many different fronts throughout British Columbia. While there is much work still to be done, the foundation has been laid and businesses have stepped up and invested millions of dollars, and created thousands of jobs as a result of the Energy Plan. So, yes, a green focused economy works very well for British Columbia.

First Nations vs IPP Critics, Electric Cars, BC Net Imports or Exports and the Oslo Experience

Two BC First Nations Lash Out at IPP Critics.The Shishálh Nation (Sechelt) and Klahoose First Nation recently sent a scathing letter to six organizations which have been vocal in their opposition to independent power projects located within the Nations' traditional territories.

While severely critical of the tactics employed by the opponent groups, the March 20, 2009 letter also re-affirms that, as the historical stewards of their traditional lands, First Nations are quite involved in the environmental review process of IPP projects located within their tranditional territories. The letter says essentially "back-off critics, we have this under control. And show us our proper (and court ordered) respect". I can definitely see their point. There is no group better situated to act as environmental watchdog on IPP projects, which are typically located in more remote communities, than the various First Nations. So, I think it's important to listen to what is being said here. See also the Vancouver Sun's recent article on the subject.

BC to Pioneer New Electric Car: BC Hydro, the Province, the City of Vancouver and Mitsubishi Canada today announced that the i MiEv, the first production-ready, highway capable electric car will be on BC streets before the end of 2009.  It all starts with leadership and BC Hydro and the City of Vancouver are doing a great job of it with this technology. If electric cars are going to be the way of the future (which I believe they are), it is going to take considerable community cooperation to install the massive infrastructure required. Working together on projects such as this one, will only serve to hasten the advent of the electric car age.  I think that the i MiEv is a very slick car. I can't wait to get one.

Is BC an net importer or exporter of electricity? University of British Columbia Professor George Hoberg and Forestry student Christoper Mallon tackled this interesting question by analyzing data from numerous sources and they made some interesting finds. You can download the report here. The conclusion: it depends on the year, but the trend for the Province as a whole (not simply just BC Hydro) is towards net importing.

Oh, those (maybe not so) crazy Euros.  Now, we all can't be building wind farms and run-of-river projects can we? Sometimes green energy can be a plain nasty business. Check out what Oslo, Norway will soon be using to power their public transit system. Lovely. And cheap too! 

Facts on Independent Power Production in British Columbia

Yesterday, the British Columbia Government, Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, issued a press release entitled "Facts on Independent Power Production" (click to download a copy), to correct misleading claims about electricity generation in the Province. It's a must read for anyone who is interested in green energy in British Columbia.  

The comprehensive press release deals with many of the falsehoods being spread by opponents to independent power producers and specifically addresses, with facts, the following topics: 

  • What it means to BC to be "electricity self-sufficient"
  • BC Hydro's on-going role in the BC Energy Plan
  • Costs to ratepayers for long-term IPP energy purchase contracts
  • The non-privatization of BC Hydro
  • Local input and environmental review of IPP projects
  • BC rivers remaining in the public's control
  • The possible future export of power by IPP's
  • The export/import debate
  • The number of current water power applications and what these mean
  • The total number of IPP's operating in BC and the investment they have brought
  • First Nations support of IPP projects

This release is very good timing given the current political climate and the unfourtunate, mostly politically motivated, backlash against the IPP industry. Hopefully, the facts will help educate the public about IPP's and we can then move to a proper dialogue on how we as a Province can use our incredible natural endowment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reverse the damaging effects of climate change.  To do anything short of that would be a disgrace.

BC Hydro Bioenergy Call - Phase II Announced (1,000 GW/h)

Today, BC Hydro announced its much anticipated Phase II to its Bioenergy Call for Power.  You can read the BC Hydro news release here and you can check out the Bioenergy Call website for more information, or you can continue reading.... 

Under Phase II, BC Hydro will conduct a two-stream call process. The first stream is a competitive call for larger-scale biomass projects. Any form of biomass will be eligible and it will include wood waste sourced from new forest tenure enabled through provincial legislation in May 2008. The target is to acquire 1,000 GW/h per year of energy through this stream.  Good news for all of that roadside debris.

The second stream will focus on innovative, community-level electricity supply solutions using biomass. Through a request for qualifications (RFQ), BC Hydro will seek to identify at least two such projects that can provide cost-effective electricity for ratepayers, as well as other quantifiable, local benefits such as improved reliability.

BC Hydro also listed some new Q&A's which are typically updated by BC Hydro throughout the Call period. Here are some of the highlights:

Eligibility? Criteria for each stream are currently under development. More details will be provided by BC Hydro before the end of March 2009.

Timeline? More details on both streams will be released by BC Hydro by the end of March 2009. Draft documents for the first stream are expected to be issued in May 2009, while a schedule for the second stream is expected to be released by April 2009.

You can see our report on the results of the Phase I of the Bioenergy Call where four projects were successful.

BC Hydro's Report on Bioenergy Call Phase I

As part of the 2008 LTAP Hearing, BC Hydro released a document entitled "Report on Bioenergy Call Phase I" (caution: it's a large document). The report is a very interesting read about BC Hydro's recent Bioenergy Call Phase I awards, where four EPA's were issued to proponents.

In the Report, Chapter 1 provides the context of the Phase 1 RFP by reviewing and describing how the Phase 1 RFP aligns with the BC Government's 2007 Energy Plan and Special Direction No. 10 to the BCUC.

Chapter 2 provides a summary of the Phase 1 RFP implementation, including an overview of the evaluation of proposals, selection of optimal portfolios and the Phase 1 RFP award.

Chapter 3 includes a brief overview of the First Nations, stakeholder and proponent engagement process.

Chapter 4 sets out the justification for the volume of energy awarded in the Phase 1 RFP.

Chapter 5 demonstrates the cost-effectiveness of the Phase 1 RFP awards. 

BC's February 2009 Throne Speech - The Green Energy Agenda

For our report on the August 26, 2009 Throne Speech (A Major Boost to Green Energy), click here.

The BC Government today delivered its Throne Speech, outlining its political agenda for the upcoming year, and you can't help but notice that an election is coming on May 12, 2009. 

It was no surprise, but energy was among the major topics addressed on in the speech calling it "another core competitive advantage for British Columbia".  The Government sees a green energy economy as a catalyst to creating rural jobs, reducing greenhouse gases and transforming forestry in the Province.  Apparently, green energy is central to the future economic success of our Province. Can't really disagree with that.

Below are some of the more interesting energy related quotes (see pages 21-27 of the Throne Speech): 

  • "Our government will build on its Clean Energy Plan with new direction to BC Hydro and to the British Columbia Utilities Commission."
  • "Independent power production will continue to create new jobs in rural communities."
  • "We will open up new opportunities for private investment to create jobs and meet our needs."
  • "We can become global leaders in wind, run-of river, tidal, geothermal, wave, solar and other forms of clean, renewable power and leading-edge transmission technologies."
  • "An integrated, expanded transmission plan that encourages small scale power projects, economic opportunity and jobs throughout B.C. will be set by year end."
  • "Energy opportunities will transform the future of forestry in British Columbia with clean, carbon-neutral bioenergy, fueled by biomass from beetle-killed forests."
  • "Our government will pursue a major expansion in transmission capacity that will create thousands of new construction jobs and reduce energy loss through transmission."
  • "The goal of a Northeast Transmission Line will be pursued."
  • "More work will be done this year to advance the dialogue on Site C to decide its merit."

It only gets more interesting from here. Tomorrow is budget day.






BC Bioenergy Network funds two wood waste pilot projects

Yesterday, the $25-million provincially funded BC Bioenergy Network announced it is awarding almost $5 million in funding to two biomass pilot projects in British Columbia. 

The BC Bioenergy Network has awarded $1.82 million in funding to Lignol Innovations Ltd. and a further $3 million in funding to Nexterra Energy Corp.  Lignol uses biorefining technology to turn wood waste into fuel-grade bioethanol and biochemicals. Nexterra develops systems that turn wood waste into clean, renewable heat and power using biomass gasification technology.

The BC Bioenergy Network was established in April 2008 through a $25-million provincial grant. It is an industry-led association that is encouraging the development of world-class bioenergy research and technology, pilot and demonstration projects with industry and communities in key biomass resource areas. The BC Bioenergy Network has identified the following technology areas for funding support: solid wood residues, pulp and paper residues, harvesting and pelleting, agriculture residues, municipal wastewater, municipal landfill waste, municipal solid waste and community heating electricity greenhouse systems.


Continue Reading...

Generating Green Power and Jobs in BC: A video look at independent power production in British Columbia

For anyone who is curious about what the green power industry is doing in British Columbia, you need go no further.  Today, the Independent Power Producers Association of British Columbia (IPPBC) released a new video, entitled "Generating Green Power and Jobs in BC" which provides a unique look at the independent power production industry in BC. 

“The video contains ‘on location’ footage of run-of-river hydro, wind power, biomass, geothermal, and energy-recovery-generation projects around the province. It includes comments from ‘green collar’ IPP workers, mayors, First Nations project participants, energy expert Dr. Mark Jaccard and IPPBC Directors.” said Steve Davis, IPPBC President. 

You can view the very slick 10 minute IPPBC video by clicking here

I would guess that most people have never seen a biomass facility or run-of-river power plant, or even understood the complex process of making green energy, so I must commend IPPBC for undertaking the important but necessary task of educating the general public on the work of the IPP industry. 

In addition, for more information about independent power production in the Province, IPPBC has also prepared some excellent fact sheets on the following green energy topics (which we have included for your downloading pleasure):

BC Bioenergy Call for Power - Phase One Results

BC Hydro today released the results of phase one of its Bioenergy Call for Power.  The first phase of the Call was for projects that are immediately viable and do not need new tenure from the Ministry of Forests and Range. The results stem from proposals submitted pursuant to an RFP issued February 6, 2008 by BC Hydro. 

In all, 4 bioenergy facilities will use forest-based biomass, including sawmill residue, logging debris, trees killed by mountain pine beetle, and other residual wood, to generate electricity. The four projects will generate a combined total of 579 gigawatt hours of electricity annually, or enough to power more than 52,000 homes. It's about time that these projects got off the ground.  As I've blogged before, renewable energy projects will definitely help the forest industry in the Province of British Columbia and by turning what would otherwise be waste into valuable electricity, the industry is doing its part in contributing to the Province's electricity self-sufficiency goals, while at the same time creating rural area jobs.

The four projects are:

  1. Canfor Pulp Ltd. Partnership's PGP Bio Energy Project in Prince George, BC;
  2. PG Interior Waste to Energy Ltd.'s proposal also in Prince George, BC;
  3. Domtar Pulp and Paper Products' Kamloops Green Energy Project in Kamloops, BC an
  4. Zellstoff Celgar Ltd. Partnership’s Celgar Green Energy Project in Castlegar, BC

Phase II of the Call is still in the development stage as BC Hydro is continuing to work with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources as well as the Ministry of Forests and Range in designing the next phase of the Call.  BC Hydro will continue to provide updates as more information is developed. You can check the BC Hydro website for more information. Here's the link for Phase II.

Update: Clean Power Call - List of Proposals

Today, BC Hydro released the list of proposals it received to its Clean Power Call RFP.

BC Hydro reports that it received 68 proposals from 43 registered proponents.  A total of 71 entities had previously registered as proponents with BC Hydro in August. In aggregate the 68 proposals represent a total firm energy output of approximately 17,000 GWh/year from 45 hydro projects, 19 wind projects, 2 waste heat projects, 1 biogas project, and 1 biomass project. 

This marks the end of the beginning for many proponents as the long road to actually supplying this new electricity to the grid will take years to come to fruition. Kudos to the BC renewable energy industry for bidding into a very difficult call, in extraordinarily challenging financial markets. Now the hard work begins with EPA's to be negotiated and BCUC to be convinced of the merits of the call.

Power Overload - BC Hydro's Clean Power Call Oversubscribed

Earlier this week, independent power producers in British Columbia responded overwhelmingly to BC Hydro's Clean Power Call, with over 17,000 total gigawatt hours being proposed in the RFP. BC Hydro intends to accept only 5,000 gigawatt hours (or enough electricity to power 500,000 homes). 

As the Vancouver Sun reported, independent power projects proposed to BC Hydro in the response to the Call include the expected run-of-river and wind, but also waste heat, biogas and biomass power projects, demonstrating the range of power sources available in the Province.

It is great to see independent power producers in the Province step up in significant numbers to provide British Columbians with a variety of clean, green and sustainable power options for their electricity. With the Call being oversubscribed, electricity consumers can be assured of competitive prices for new power as the Province moves towards self-sufficiency by 2016.

BC Hydro's timeline puts final evaluation and electricity purchase agreements awarded in mid-April to June 2009.

ICE ICE Baby -- BC invests in Biofuels through ICE Fund

The BC Government announced today that it will invest $10 million through the Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund process to support the production of liquid biofuels with demonstrated low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The ICE Fund, which was introduced in 2007’s B.C. Energy Plan, was created to accelerate the development of new energy technologies to help BC move towards greater energy self-sufficiency and it's financed by a levy on electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and piped propane.

Eligible projects for today's Call for Applications for Liquid Biofuels from Biomass will include those applying both conventional and second generation technologies.  All projects have to demonstrate that the fuel will result in significant GHG emissions reductions (at least 60%) relative to conventional petroleum-based fuels.

The closing date for applications to the Call for Applications for Liquid Biofuels from Biomass will come quickly -- it's just over a month away at 2:00 pm Pacific Standard Time on January 7, 2009.

For more information, click on the links below:

In the news this week - British Columbia Renewable Energy

  • In a newspaper editorial by Harvie Campbell of Pristine Power, British Columbia's massive forest industry is poised to take a leadership role in bioenergy. By using BC's abundant timber residue, bioenergy technologies can take the forest industry's "leftovers" to create renewable power that is GHG neutral. The economic and environmental benefits of bioenergy are significant.  To me, this makes too much sense and no doubt it is a welcome opportunity in many communities across British Columbia that are facing new challenges with the forest industry. The solution may just be as simple as diversification into renewable energy.
  • Terasen Gas opts for Compressed Natural Gas Vehicle Program (CNGV) to promote clean, efficient natural gas vehicles as an energy alternative in B.C.'s transportation sector. Just another example how the private sector is innovating to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • BCTC files with BCUC for proposed 500 kv, 255 km transmission line from Merritt to Coquitlam, BC.  The line is needed to service the growing population of Vancouver's Lower Mainland and if approved is expected to be completed by 2014.  You can expect many more new high-voltage transmission lines to be built in British Columbia in the next decade.
  • Wind, Water, Tide and Garbage will power Vancouver Island say proponents of alternative energy on Vancouver Island.   With less than a week remaining before proposals are to be submitted to BC Hydro in response to the Clean Power Call, British Columbia can expect to see a series of clean power projects coming online in the next few years.
  • Applause for BC's Carbon Tax at the Global Climate Summit in California. British Columbia is the only jurisdiction in North America to have a carbon tax.  While it has proven to be a political lightning rod here at home, leadership at the highest political levels on reducing greenhouse gases is few and far between in North America.  Reminds me of a quote:

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein