Updated BC IPP Supply Map

Earlier this week, BC Hydro released an update in respect of the independent power producers(IPPs) currently supplying electricity to BC Hydro and those projects with EPAs but still under development. 

Keep in mind that the projects BC Hydro lists as IPPs include: Rio Tinto Alcan's hydro project, various forestry company biomass projects and the Waneta Expansion (not your garden variety IPPs, but certainly, "independent" of BC Hydro).

For your information: 

1. BC Hydro IPP supply map;

2. List of IPPs currently supplying electricity to BC Hydro; and

3. List of IPPs with projects in development,

(each current to October, 2013).

Clean Power Call Yields Two Additional Project EPA's

BC Hydro announced today that it will award electricity purchase agreements to two additional projects under its Clean Power Call.  Here is the press release.  Two hydro projects are still under consideration (Box Canyon and Castle Mountain).

These projects are:

Long Lake Joint Venture (a JV between Regional Power Inc. and Summit Power Group) - a 31 MW storage hydro project in Stewart, BC. Here is the Terrace Standard's story on the project.

Pacific Greengen Power - a 45 MW run-of-river hydro project in Harrison Hot Springs, BC

These projects bring the total amount of electricity awarded under the Clean Power Call to 3,188 GWh/year of firm energy, considerably less than the 5,000 GWh/year BC Hydro had requested from developers under the 2008 Clean Power Call. 

Remember, the amount of electricity awarded to date is pre-attrition and BC Hydro is using a 30 percent attrition factor for the Clean Power Call. Under past calls for power, BC Hydro has seen attrition rates anywhere from 0 to 100%. So it remains to be seen which projects and how many ultimately will be built.

Out of general interest, here is a map of the current electricity supply to BC Hydro from independent power projects (as of April 1, 2010). The map does not include the projects awarded EPA's under the Clean Power Call.

British Columbia Introduces Clean Energy Act

Today, the British Columbia government introduced the much anticipated Clean Energy Act into the BC Legislature.

Here is a copy of the first reading of the Act (Bill 17) and here is the government's press release on the annoucement.

Finally, it is worth to check out the government's website for the Clean Energy Act which contains some good background information on the Province's new clean energy plan.

More analysis to come....still need to digest all of this.

It was also great to see the government release a report on the Green Energy Advisory Task Force. It was a pleasure to be a part of this group and happy to see many of the Task Force recommendations now forming part of the new Clean Energy Act. Here is a copy of the full Green Energy Advisory Task Force report.

BC Hydro Makes Additional Awards Under Clean Power Call

Today, BC Hydro added an additional 451 GWh/year of firm energy from four new renewable energy projects awarded EPA's under BC Hydro's Clean Power Call. Here is the press release.

The selected projects are:

These projects bring the amount of energy awarded under the Clean Power Call to 2,901 GWh/year.

BC Hydro advises that 8 projects remain under consideration.  Of note, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources hinted at upcoming future power calls in his statement in the BC Hydro press release.

Prices under the electricity purchase agreements have not been disclosed. However, a range of prices will be made available in BC Hydro's filings with the British Columbia Utilities Commission under Section 71 of the Utilities Commission Act.

Congratulations to all of the successful companies.

BC Hydro Selects 19 Projects in First Stage of Clean Power Call

470 days after it received proposals from 43 proponents for 68 clean energy projects, BC Hydro announced today the results of its 2008 Clean Power Call.

In the first stage of awards, BC Hydro selected 19 projects for electricity purchase agreements (EPA's) comprising 2,450 GWh/year being less than half of the 5,000 GWh/year acquisition target it had requested from developers in the 2008 Clean Power Call. Length of the contracts and financial terms were not disclosed.

Of the 19 projects selected for EPA today, run-of-river and wind projects almost evenly split the generation capacity awarded. This is noteworthy because currently in BC there is only one operating wind park, while there are over 35 run-of-river projects generating to the BC grid. Perhaps BC Hydro may be seeking more wind energy as quality run-of-river projects become more difficult to find.

Here are more details from today's announcement:

14 hydro-electric (run-of-river) projects were selected and will provide BC Hydro with 1,203 GWh of firm electricity per year.  The successful run-of-river developers, projects and respective project capacity are as follows:  

Five wind energy projects were selected and will provide BC Hydro with 1,247 GWh of firm electricity per year.  The successful wind developers, projects and respective project capacity are as follows:
Congratulations to all the developers, whose patience has finally been rewarded.
 
The bulk of the work has only now begun. Immediate next steps for the above developers are hearings before the British Columbia Utilities Commission pursuant to Section 71 of the Utlities Commission Act and raising capital to help finance construction of these projects.
 
Those developers with projects still remaining in the Clean Power Call who were not awarded EPA's today (there are 28) will take comfort in BC Hydro's statement that it expects to select additional projects for EPA awards in late March.
 
Given that only half of the expected capacity of the Clean Power Call has been filled by today's 19 EPA awards, there is certainly more to come on this good news story for the BC renewable energy sector.
 
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Breaking News: Clean Power Call Awards

Just announced by BC Hydro, 19 projects have been selected for an award of an electricity purchase agreement under BC Hydro's Clean Power Call.

More to come.

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.

Update: BC's Clean Power Call - BC Hydro Narrows the Field

BC Hydro announced today that it has narrowed the field of proponents for its 2008 Clean Power Call and intends to award EPA's in December.

According to BC Hydro's press release, of the 68 proposals submitted in the response to the Call: 

  • 21 were eliminated either through proponent withdrawal, they did not meet the CPC requirements or were considered too high a risk;
  • 13 were identified as the most cost-effective and are now moving forward with direct post-proposal discussions with BC Hydro with the goal of signing electricity purchase agreements (EPA's); and
  • 34 still remain possible, provided the proposals are made more cost-effective.

Names of any of the 13 proponents or projects were not disclosed, but here is a list of the 47 projects that remain in the Call.

Of interest, here is the Vancouver Sun's story on the announcement.

As its press release indicates, BC Hydro intends to award EPA's in December and then plans to file the agreements with the BCUC in early 2010 for final approval pursuant to Section 71 of the BC Utilities Commission Act.
 
The Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources summed up these next steps and what it means to the province most appropriately:
 
Clean, renewable energy continues to be a cornerstone of B.C.'s Climate Action Plan. At the same time, the development of a clean energy sector will create jobs and new economic opportunities in B.C. 
 
The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the development of a renewable power industry will mean B.C. will have more allowances to allocate to the cap and trade system, which is good for B.C.'s economy.
BC Hydro's announcement today and the impending award of EPA's under the Clean Power Call is welcomed good news for the renewable energy sector. But more importantly, the opportunity that clean power represents is great news for the future of our Province.
 
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BC's Bear Mountain Adds 102 MW to Canada's Current Installed Wind Energy Capacity

Following up on my earlier blog post, the Bear Mountain Wind Park is now officially open, online and generating electrons to the British Columbia power grid, bringing Canada's total current installed wind energy capacity to 2,956 MW.

The $200 million Bear Mountain project located near Dawson Creek, BC was completed on time and on budget. With a total capacity of 102 MW, the park will produce enough energy to power most of BC's South Peace region. Under the Government of Canada's ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program, the project will receive a one cent per kilowatt-hour incentive over the next ten years, in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The project includes green attributes, which AltaGas can trade or sell to third parties. One of those third party purchaser's is Bullfrog Power.
 
The Canadian Wind Energy Association recently made the following announcements regarding the development of wind energy in Canada:
  • 523 MW of new installed capacity in 2008;
  • 2009 will be a record year for wind energy development in Canada with new installed capacity from wind energy projects totalling 790 MW; and
  • By the end of 2009, Canada will have 3,159 MW of installed capacity with wind developments operating in every province for the first time.
Click here for a map of Canada's current installed wind capacity (as of November, 2009).
 
With 19 wind projects bid into BC Hydro's 2008 Clean Power Call, British Columbians can expect more of their electricity to come from the natural power of the wind.
 
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BC Government Direction on Burrard Thermal & Clean Power Call Update

Yesterday, the British Columbia government clarified to the BC Utilities Commission its intention to end BC Hydro's reliance on the Burrard Thermal Generating Facility for its energy needs. See the attached press release.

Here is the Order-in-Council (Special Direction No. 2).

Oct 30 Update: Here is the Vancouver Sun's story on the matter.

The announcement states that effective immediately Burrard Thermal will no longer be used for planning purposes for firm energy. It will only be used for up to 900 megawatts of emergency capacity.
 
The Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister also stated that “in providing this direction, BC Hydro will replace the firm energy supply from Burrard Thermal with clean, renewable and cost-effective energy”. [Read: Clean Power Call and future power calls]
 
The government also re-affirmed its commitment to clean and renewable energy as a cornerstone to the Province's climate action plan that will propel the green economy. Electricity self-sufficiency and clean and renewable power generation are integral components to the Province's effort to reduce its carbon footprint and fight global warming.
 
Key in all of this to the renewable energy industry is that the government's decision on Burrard Thermal will allow BC Hydro to acquire 6,000 GWh of cost-effective, clean and renewable power. This will include up to 5,000 GWh from the Clean Power Call and up to 1,000 GWh from the Phase 2 Bioenergy Call for Power.
 
This is some much needed clarity and good news from the BC government to the clean energy sector.  And just in time for next week's annual IPPBC Conference where the Premier and Minister Lekstrom are both scheduled to speak.  Based on this annoucement, there should be plenty to talk about.  I'll be there and will provide my report on Megawtt.
 
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California's New Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard - Good News For BC's Green Energy Exports

On Saturday, California's aggressive renewable energy standard passed in the State Legislature.  Governor Schwarzenegger will veto the Bill (SB 14) and instead signed an executive order on Tuesday this week which will require California utilities to obtain 33% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020 (the most stringent standard in the US). The long awaited and much debated Bill failed to gain the Governor's signature for a number of reasons, but most importantly to those of us outside the State, because of the so-called "buy California" provisions contained in the Bill, which would have prohibited California utilities from purchasing out-of-state power from such places as British Columbia.
 
With the executive order, the Governor, among other things, eliminated from the Bill the so-called "protectionist policies" which in essence allows California utilities to purchase electricity from outside the state. This is extremely positive news to renewable energy industry in BC as the Governor's executive order follows quite nicely with the BC government's recent throne speech which highlighted the province's export potential for renewable energy generated within British Columbia. Now it appears that BC will have a willing buyer for its surplus green energy in the California state utilities. Next up, signing some EPA's with the California utilities and building the transmission infrastructure.
 
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Clean Power Call, Port Electrification and Ontario's First Nations Green Energy Funding

Clean Power Call Update
 
On August 24, BC Hydro provided an update to its Clean Power Call. According to the update, BC Hydro will now call on the proponents to assess the status of their consultations with First Nations to date, effectively delaying the EPA awards under the Clean Power Call. The decision to review First Nations consultation stems from the two decisions made by the BC Court of Appeal last February in the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council v. B.C. (Utilities Commission) and Kwikwetlem First Nation v. British Columbia (Utilities Commission). Additional information on this new requirement will be posted on BC Hydro's Clean Power Call website as it becomes available. Also in the update, BC Hydro "anticipates that any EPA awards will occur in the Fall of 2009", which is a welcomed hint of certainty to the renewable energy industry and the billions of investment dollars waiting for the results of the Clean Power Call.
 
Port of Vancouver Goes Electric
 
It was announced this week that the Port of Vancouver is now able to provide direct electricity hook-ups to cruise ships, making it only one of three ports in the world (Juneau and Seattle) with such capability. Now when a cruise ship docks in the Port of Vancouver, instead of running the diesel engines for power, it be able to plug into the BC electricity grid, which is supplied for the most part by renewable energy. This is great news in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (it will reduce GHG emissions by 39,000 tons annually) and certainly a boost to the renewable energy industry in the Province. It is also another step towards making Vancouver one of the world's greenest cities. Kudos to the partnership between the federal and provincial governments, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, BC Hydro and the Port of Vancouver.
 
Ontario's New First Nations and Renewable Energy Programs
 
The Ontario Government announced today that is launching two new programs for First Nations and Metis communities interested in developing and owning renewable energy facilities, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric projects. Under the $250 million Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program, Aboriginal communities will be eligible for loan guarantees from the Ontario Government to assist with equity participation in renewable energy generation and transmission projects. The Aboriginal Energy Partnerships Program is designed to build capacity and participation by providing funds for community energy plans, feasibility studies, technical research and developing business cases and create an "Aboriginal Renewable Energy Network". Ontario is showing tremendous leadership in the area of green energy these days, and these two new Aboriginal programs will certainly be welcomed by the renewable energy industry as a means to facilitate more Aboriginal participation in green energy projects, which is a good thing.

 

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.
 
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The BCUC Says What?...in its LTAP Decision

The BCUC's decision on BC Hydro's 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan released on Monday shocked the BC renewable energy industry as the BCUC rejected BC Hydro's 2008 LTAP, calling it "not in the public interest" and ordered that BC Hydro deliver a new LTAP no later than June 30, 2010. 

While the BCUC's decision spells uncertainty for the Provincial Government's 2007 Energy Plan, its related greenhouse gas reduction targets and the renewable energy industry as a whole, it is not, in my view, a death knell to BC's climate plan and the developing green energy economy. It is a set back, most definitely, but hopefully, and I fully expect it to be, a temporary one. 

Currently in this Province, there are billions of investment dollars eagerly awaiting the results of BC Hydro's clean power call - to build run-of-river, wind and biomass power projectsThe 43 proponents in the CPC bid a total of 17,000 GW/h per year of clean GHG reducing green energy projects into the Call. The Provincial Government cannot, and I expect it will not, ignore this, especially in the current economy. 

It is interesting to see the BCUC essentially remain status quo on the electricity make-up of the Province, even proposing that the capacity of BC Hydro's Burrard Thermal natural gas fired generation station be increased, putting Ol' Wheezy's social license to the test, in my view BC Hydro's Clean Power Call is not dead.  Specifically, here's what the BCUC's decision said about that: 

That notwithstanding, it is clear that BC Hydro has the scope, with or without Commission endorsement, to enter into such EPAs as it contemplated in the 2008 CPC. The Commission Panel finds that the appropriate forums within which the prudency of BC Hydro's decisions, and expenditures in that regard, if any, should be canvassed are, respectively, a section 71 proceeding and a revenue requirements proceeding, pending its next LTAP Application.

Clearly, the future of the CPC remains in the grasp of BC Hydro, and its sole shareholder, the Provincial Government. In my view, there is nothing in the BCUC's decision that would prevent BC Hydro from completing the CPC in the ordinary course, although I would expect it to pursue the lesser 3,000 GWh rather than offered 5,000 GWh, based on its arguments in the LTAP.  How it gets there, I think also depends in part on how much BC Hydro and the various CPC proponents are prepared, in the short term, to argue the merits of their respective projects at a section 71 (of the Utilities Commission Act) hearing or future revenue requirement application. A section 71 hearing before the BCUC on each EPA awarded was always part of the CPC. But now, given the BCUC's decision, the section 71 hearings would take longer and be slightly more contentious.

The way I see it, this is the opportunity to put the BC Government's green energy and climate change policies into law in this Province. In fact, given the BCUC's decision, now is the time for a comprehensive but specific renewable energy and climate change piece of legislation, such as Ontario's Green Energy Act, which would spell out in clear, the government's green energy and climate change goals. If British Columbia is truly going to be a renewable energy powerhouse, now is the time to show it. It is painfully obvious that the current blend of government policy, special directions from cabinet and spotty legislation has failed, and it must be corrected immediately with direct and comprehensive legislation. And while we're at it, let's also get the federal government on board with a national green energy law.

So where are we at now? At this stage there are too many questions which need answers from BC Hydro and most importantly, the Provincial Government. The Province simply cannot allow BC Hydro cancel the clean power call, even in light of the BCUC's decision. What is clear and hasn't changed is this: the BC Energy Plan and Special Direction No. 10 requires the Province to be electricity self-sufficient, plus 3,000 GW/h of insurance, by 2016, and the Province's climate plan mandates a reduction of GHG emitting electricity generation. Your typical large scale renewable energy project takes approximately 4-6 years to build, so to put the CPC on hold, for even short time, would put the Province's electricity self-sufficiency goals and its climate agenda in serious jeopardy. I highly doubt the Province will let that happen. Stay tuned, there is certainly more to come on this most interesting and developing story.

Here is some of the commentary on the BCUC's decision:

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The BCUC's Decision on BC Hydro's 2008 LTAP

Click here and download the BC Utilities Commission's decision on BC Hydro's 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan which was released yesterday.

Here are some additional comments on the decision.

BC Hydro's 2008 LTAP - BCUC Decision Coming Soon

The Tyee is reporting on its blog that the BCUC is expected to release its decision on BC Hydro's 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP) on Monday July 20.  You can click here for the BCUC's LTAP webpage for more information.

Once the BCUC releases its decision on the 2008 LTAP, BC Hydro will release the results of the Clean Power Call within four weeks following the date of the BCUC's decision on the 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan. How do I know that? Because BC Hydro said so.

July 27 Update: 4:50 pm. Here is the decision

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2,775 MW - Canada's Installed Wind Energy Capacity

With the recent completion of the 197.8 MW Wolfe Island EcoPower Centre off the coast of Kingtson, Ontario by Canadian Hydro Developers, Canada now has 2,775 MW of installed wind energy capacity, or enough power to meet the annual needs of 840,000 homes, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association. 

Where is all of this wind energy in Canada?  Check out this map of Canada's current installed capacity.  Note that Ontario is now the leading province with 1,162 MW of installed capacity and BC currently has no operating wind farms. The Province's goose egg in the wind energy department will be changing very soon with the Bear Mountain wind farm project  just south of Dawson Creek nearing completion. The turbines there are expected to be spinning in late fall. Should be quite a sight. 

You should be hearing a lot more from BC wind energy developers in the coming months. Collectively, they bid 19 wind projects into BC Hydro's clean power call. And, as I blogged about last week, Grouse Mountain is working to install a single 1.5 MW wind turbine, which will serve a dual role - part electricity generator (up to 20% of Grouse Mountain's annual requirements) and part tourist attraction (it will have an elevator to an observation deck).

And just to touch on when the results of the clean power call may be released by BC Hydro - barring a major shocker, it will happen after the BCUC releases its decision on BC Hydro's 2008 LTAP.  When that will be is anybody's guess. It could happen any day now. With billions of investment dollars waiting to be spent in this province, one hopes that the BCUC's decision will come sooner rather than later and that BC Hydro's much awaited decision on the CPC comes immediately thereafter, so we can all get to work on building the green energy projects the province so desperately needs.

BC Hydro's 2008 LTAP - The Written Arguments Are In

The written arguments are now in and and only the final oral hearing remains (scheduled for June 1, 9am at the BCUC in Vancouver) in the matter of BC Hydro's 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP).  BC Hydro and an incredible 13 intervenors submitted written arguments to the BCUC in what has been a very thorough and hotly contested examination of the future of electricity generation in this province. If you are interested in reading the arguments, you can access all of them here, through the BCUC's excellent website.

June 2 Update: To view the BCUC transcripts from the June 1 Oral Phase, click here and go to the bottom of the page and click on "Transcript Volume 16 Oral Phase June 1, 2009".

July 15 Update: The Tyee is reporting on its blog that the BCUC is expected to release its decision on Monday July 20.  BC Hydro is expected to then release the results of the Clean Power Call no later than 4 weeks after the BCUC LTAP decision.

With the 2008 LTAP, the BCUC faces one of its most important decisions in recent memory. To the renewable energy industry in BC and the 68 proponents who bid 17,000 GWh's per year bid in to the Clean Call for Power, its decision whether to approve BC Hydro's request for a pre-attrition target of 3,000 GWh/year from last year's CPC is absolutely critical.  The breadth of the next series of renewable power generation depends on it.

BC Hydro's 3,000 GW/h request has been mired in controversy after the lunacy late last year. BC Hydro, for its part, is holding firm on the 3,000 GWh/year, while IPPBC and Nai Kun Wind Energy Group Inc. each presented arguments against this revised call volume. Of note, Nai Kun, went so far as to argue a pre-attrition CPC volume of 9,000 GWh/year.  The thing is, there is plenty of opportunity out there to fill that volume, and BC Hydro's DSM's program success is hard to measure, so I just wonder if the BCUC will reject BC Hydro's reasons for reducing the CPC volume on the basis of short-sightedness or whatever, or if it will simply acquiesce.  It's in their hands.

The BCUC's final decision on the 2008 LTAP is expected in late-June.  An entire industry and millions of investment dollars await, on pins and needles.....

June 30 @ 5pm Update: OK, so the end of June was not to be. I'll go on the record as saying a decision on the 2008 LTAP is expected anytime. 

The LTAP decision drives the clean call and helps shape the Section 5 Inquiry. We are all waiting for the LTAP decision.

Miners get Ready for Cap-and-Trade

The release by the Obama administration of the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) should have all Canadian mining companies examining their carbon footprint.  Under the current Obama plan, the US federal government will set caps on C02 emissions for many industrial sectors.  Companies that clean up and live below their quotas will generate carbon credits, which can then be banked, sold or traded to other businesses who exceed their carbon caps.  Obama's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 83 percent of 2005 levels by 2050 and in so doing, is expects to generate $645 billion in revenue between 2012 and 2019.  In the next round of international climate talks scheduled for December in Copenhagen, Canadian mining companies (and other companies in carbon intense sectors) should expect that the U.S. will begin insisting that other countries meet the U.S.'s C02 emission standard.
 
The first step in addressing emissions is for businesses to tally up how much C02 they are currently emitting, which is no easy task especially when this must include the cost of bringing materials to and from a project site.  Forward looking Canadian mining companies have sensed changes to the regulatory landscape and several of these companies, Barrick Gold, Goldcorp and Newmont Mining, have recently been highlighted in a report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (a non-profit organization based in the UK, which acts as an intermediary between shareholders and 3,000 of the largest corporations in the world, whose goal is to encourage private and public organizations to measure, manage and reduce emissions and climate change impacts) their carbon emission disclosure policies.
 
Among the index of Global 500 companies, Newmont Mining was the sole Canadian mining company recognized, while among S&P 500 issuers, Barrick Gold and Goldcorp were the sole Canadian representatives.
 
For these companies, the keys to their carbon strategies were greater energy efficiency and using renewable energy, which resulted in cost savings.  These savings will ensure that regardless of how cap-and-trade regulations evolve, these companies will benefit from their carbon reductions.  Another important consideration is that as dwindling resources push companies into ever more marginal areas, government and community relationships will become essential to success, and companies that can establish themselves as stewards of the environment will have more social and economic capital to work with when trying to develop projects in these areas.
 
 

 

 

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.

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.

The Brookfield Plan - An Independent Electricity Procurement Entity

As part of the BCUC's hearing on BC Hydro's 2008 LTAP, Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. submitted a Letter of Comment to the BCUC regarding British Columbia's current electricity procurement process. The commentary is drafted in the context of the Clean Power Call and ultimately calls for an independent electricity procurment entity.  For any proponent of renewable energy in the Province, the letter is definitely worth a read.

Brookfield has vast experience in developing renewable projects in North and South America so it speaks from a position of authority when it criticizes the apparent conflict of interest which exists in British Columbia with BC Hydro acting as buyer, developer and producer of energy and capacity.

The letter specifically identifies four areas of conflict of interest in the Clean Power Call's RFP document which could help shape BC Hydro's development efforts and make BC Hydro's project's appear better. These four areas are:

  1. Knowledge of IPP pricing in context of possible Site C development;
  2. Length of bid process resulting in higher bid prices;
  3. Non-standard risks: non-firm energy pricing and shortfall liquidated damages; and
  4. Subjective evaluation of proposals.

I believe that it is extremely beneficial to the Province's power industry when the experiences in other jurisdictions are brought to the attention of Government, BC Hydro, the BCUC and the public at large. So I commend Brookfield for filing the Letter of Comment with the BCUC. What will come of it, who knows? But it is better than not to have at least considered the issues.

March 20 Update: Here is a link to today's story in the Vancouver Sun on the Brookfield Plan, which includes some comments from Government.

March 24 Update: The Vancouver Sun's Energy Hotlines Blog, written by its energy reporter, Scott Simpson, has provided some further update on the March 20 news story. Here is the link to the blog post.

BCUC Oral Public Hearing Information Guide (2008 LTAP)

As previously advised, starting on Thursday, February 19, 2009, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) will commence oral public hearings on the approval for BC Hydro's 2008 Long-Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP). 

This week, the BCUC kindly provided participants with some information to assist them by explaining the process. As the BCUC states, the information letter is also "for others who simply want to observe the proceedings, make a statement about the Application, or submit a letter of  comment, this document will also help." 

Here is the BCUC Oral Public Hearing Procedural Information Guide.

The hearings will be held

  February 19, 2009
09:00 AM
Commission Hearing Room on the Twelfth Floor
1125 Howe Street
Vancouver BC

Electricity Showdown at the BCUC

 

BC HYDRO 2008 LTAP HEARINGS

 

 

Main Event:      February 19, 2009 - Oral Public Hearings 
                              (expected to last one month)

Undercard:

  • February 10, 2009  - BC Hydro responds in writing to BCUC Staff and Intervenors Information Requests  (click here for a link to all filings with the BCUC in respect of BC Hydro's 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan)
  • February 13, 2009 -  BC Hydro Direct Testimony and Rebuttal Evidence, if any

 Location:         BC Utilities Commission

Participants:

Decision: 

  • BCUC decision is expected in June or July

 

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):

Another Update: Clean Power Call - BC Hydro "Clarification" Letter

BC Hydro released a letter today which was filed with the BC Utilities Commission in connection with its 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan (LTAP) and its recent evidentiary update with respect to target volume for the Clean Power Call.  You can read a copy of BC Hydro's January 12, 2009 letter here and check out the BC Hydro Clean Power Call website here.

January 15 Update:  The Globe and Mail reported today on BC Hydro's recent LTAP clarification letter. In the article, BC Hydro CEO Bob Elton confirmed BC Hydro's support for purchasing green power from independent power producers at cost-effective prices.  For now, it appears the proposed cut to the size of the Clean Power Call from 5,000 GWh/year to 3,000 GWh/year has been scuttled, at least in public documents it has. How much green power BC Hydro decides to purchase from the Clean Power Call remains to be seen - results from the Clean Power Call RFP are expected in the late Spring.

This is a very interesting olive branch letter; one that clearly reinforces the challenges BC Hydro faces in forecasting the Province's future power requirements in the current economic environment, while at the same time also supports renewable power and independent power producers in the Province. The low carbon economy is coming to British Columbia and what that means to the Province's electricity requirements is yet to be seen. There is no doubt that opportunities abound for clean power generation in British Columbia, and if the price is right, BC Hydro will be buying.

I wonder what happened over the past few weeks between the Crown and her power corporation.... 

In the news today - BC Hydro's LTAP Clean Power Call Cut

The Vancouver Sun reported today, in two separate articles, on BC Hydro's recent decision to reduce its long term acquisition of clean power.  You can read about the cause and effect of BC Hydro's decision here and the political and economic consequences for British Columbia here

Jan 8 Update. The Vancouver Sun followed up today with a full editorial on the subject of BC Hydro's decision to cut the Clean Power Call by 40%. 

I continue amazed at BC Hydro's decision to reduce the Call, and apparently, so are a lot of people. All in all, it is shaping up to be a very interesting next few months in British Columbia, with the BCUC decision on BC Hydro's LTAP (revision included) and the upcoming Provincial election, where the power game is most definitely at play. Stay tuned, there is sure to be plenty more to come.

In other news, British Columbia is not alone in its green power pain, as the Calgary Herald recently reported, many renewable energy businesses in other parts of Canada are feeling the pinch of the worldwide economic slowdown.  No surprise here:  lower oil prices and a tight credit market have proven not to be a friendly combination for renewable energy companies (or for most companies for that matter).

The good news is that the downturn is not expected to last forever. Renewables will once again be in high demand. The current down period may be seen as a due diligence and R&D opportunity to invest in new renewable technolgy, in industries where it is not yet commercially feasible for large scale electricity generation. I'm thinking specifically of solar and ocean power. Because once the economy turns, demand for power will increase, and those who are best situated to supply this new power, will find themselves ahead of the curve.

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.

IPPBC Annual Conference in Vancouver

The Independent Power Producers Association of British Columbia kicks off its 2008 Annual Conference tomorrow in Vancouver, BC.  As the independent power sector ramps up for the 2008 Clean Power Call with proposal submissions due to BC Hydro on November 25, 2008, you can be certain that the Clean Power Call will be the hot topic of conversation among the 500 plus delegates attending the 2 day conference.  But there are 3 other power calls from BC Hydro that will also garner some attention: the Bioenergy Call, the Standing Offer Program and the Remote Community Electrification Program.

The IPPBC 2008 Conference, attended by industry leaders, First Nations representatives, government officials and alternative energy entrepreneurs, will focus on two general areas: Calls and Context, and Bidding.  Day one of the conference will include panels addressing electricity, transmission and public policy, and project permitting.  Day two will focus on matters relating to bidding on, and construction, of IPP projects, First Nations and IPP's, project finance and a very interesting panel discussion on future electricity, such as electric vehicles, big batteries, ocean energy and renewable markets. 

With its vast river systems, geothermal fields, wind capacity, miles of coastline, developed forest and agricultural industries, British Columbia has significant natural resources to be a world leader in producing power from green sources.  With the recent calls to power, independent power producers are stepping up in great numbers to meet the increasing demand for alternative energy with tremendous determination and innovation. 

We will be attending the IPPBC Annual Conference and you can read our report about it on Megawatt later in the week.