On December 11, 2017, the B.C. government announced its decision to complete construction of BC Hydro’s 1,100-megawatt Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), concluding that cancelling the project mid-construction would have imposed a $4 billion burden on provincial taxpayers, comprising $2.1 billion already spent and an estimated $1.8 billion in termination and site remediation costs. The B.C. government also confirmed that the capital cost estimate for Site C has been updated to $10.7 billion from BC Hydro’s original estimate of $7.9 billion.
A copy of the B.C. government’s press release, which includes links to relevant background materials, is available … Continue Reading
On February 21, 2017, BC Hydro released new figures for its Standing Offer Program (“SOP”) and Micro-Standing Offer Program (“Micro-SOP”) showing that it has assigned nearly all of the available annual volume for projects with target commercial operation dates (“Target CODs”) in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. BC Hydro had previously allocated up to 150 GWh/year of available energy volume for each of these Target COD years (under both the SOP and Micro-SOP), on a first-come, first-served basis. The newly-published figures show available energy volumes of zero, three, eight and zero GWh/year for projects … Continue Reading
Updates to the Standing Offer Program (SOP)
On March 4, 2016, BC Hydro released a new version (Version 3.1) of its SOP Rules to address feedback it received during First Nation and stakeholder consultation meetings and focus group discussions conducted over the last few years. The SOP offers small-scale, clean energy projects in British Columbia with capacities between 100 kW and 15 MW the opportunity to enter into energy purchase agreements (EPAs) with BC Hydro. An EPA requires the project developer to sell all energy from the project to BC Hydro for a term of 20 to 40 … Continue Reading
On October 21, 2015, the government of British Columbia announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (the “MOU”) with BC Hydro and the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia (“CEBC”). A copy of the MOU is available here. CEBC has served as the main industry representative for BC’s independent power producers for the past 25 years.
The MOU is intended to provide a framework to facilitate collaboration between the three parties to promote the goals of fostering a robust independent clean energy sector in BC, promoting partnerships with First Nations and local communities, and ensuring the delivery … Continue Reading
Following a stakeholder consultation this summer, the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines is planning to exercise its authority under the Utilities Commission Act (British Columbia) (the “UCA”) to exempt two transmission projects, the North Montney Power Supply (“NMPS”) project (proposed by Alberta-based ATCO) and the Peace Region Electricity Supply (“PRES”) project (proposed by BC Hydro), from review by the BC Utilities Commission (the “BCUC”) under Part 3 of the UCA. Among other things, this exemption would relieve BC Hydro and ATCO from the requirement under section 45 of the UCA to obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity … Continue Reading
The federal government announced on February 19, 2015 that accelerated capital cost allowance (CCA) treatment would apply to certain property used in liquefaction facilities for the domestic and export liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets and for LNG storage. The new measure signals the federal government’s support for Canada’s emerging LNG industry, and follows a concerted lobbying effort by LNG project proponents and industry associations.… Continue Reading
On February 10, 2015, BC Hydro announced that it is making available yearly target energy volume information to help developers with project planning under its Standing Offer Program (SOP). As part of the “Clean Energy Strategy” included in BC Hydro’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan, the SOP’s annual target energy volume was increased from 50 GWh/year to 150 GWh/year.… Continue Reading
On February 4, 2015, the B.C. government released the final report of an independent review of the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), the independent governmental regulatory agency that regulates British Columbia’s natural gas and electricity utilities, intra-provincial pipelines and universal compulsory automobile insurance.… Continue Reading
On December 16, 2014, the B.C. government approved BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), concluding that the 1,100-megawatt hydroelectric project represents the province’s most affordable and reliable long-term source of clean power, saving ratepayers an average of $650 to $900 million each year over the first 50 years of its project life compared to a portfolio of independent power projects backed up by natural gas-fired generation.
A copy of the B.C. government’s press release, which includes links to relevant background materials, is available here.… Continue Reading
On November 26, 2014, BC Hydro announced that it has amended its Standing Offer Program (SOP) rules to make existing generation no longer eligible for participation in the SOP. BC Hydro states that the amendment is in line with BC Hydro’s 2013 Clean Energy Strategy contained in its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is focused on providing opportunities to the clean energy sector for new project development. It also specifically noted that the changes are in consideration of the fact that the SOP’s pricing is intended to reflect the costs associated with new, rather than existing, clean energy projects. … Continue Reading
On October 21, 2014, the British Columbia Government tabled Bill 6, the Liquefied Natural Gas Income Tax Act. The Bill will be considered at the Legislature’s next sitting.… Continue Reading
British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett addressed the province’s independent power producers at the opening of Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver on October 16, 2014. Speaking in the wake of the announcement earlier in the week that the Site C clean energy project (Site C) has received environmental approvals from the B.C. and federal governments, Minister Bennett confirmed that the B.C. government has not yet made a final investment decision with respect to Site C and is in the final stages of a “due diligence” process that includes comparisons to other potential alternatives, including a … Continue Reading
The B.C. and federal governments have granted environmental approvals to BC Hydro for its Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak announced on October 14, 2014 the issuance of an environmental assessment certificate (EA Certificate) for Site C, concluding that the project is in the public interest and that its benefits outweigh the risks of significant adverse environmental, social and heritage effects. In addition, federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq issued a decision statement (Decision Statement) approving Site C, declaring that the significant adverse environmental effects that Site C is likely to cause are justified in … Continue Reading
Today, the report of the joint federal-provincial panel (the Joint Review Panel) appointed to review BC Hydro’s proposed Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) was publicly released, following its submission to the federal and BC governments on May 1, 2014. A copy of the full report is available here; a copy of the report summary and list of recommendations is available here.
The Joint Review Panel was mandated by Canada’s Minister of the Environment and BC’s Minister of Environment to assess Site C’s potential environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects.… Continue Reading
British Columbia’s new liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector was particularly lively in the weeks since our mid-December update. To keep our readers up-to-date, we have prepared the following brief summary of recent notable LNG sector activity.… Continue Reading
On November 26, 2013, the BC government confirmed its approval of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP provides a 20-year outlook of how BC Hydro expects to reliably and cost-effectively meet the anticipated future electricity needs of the province through conservation and acquisition of sufficient generation and transmission resources.… Continue Reading
The BC government has announced a 10 Year Plan for BC Hydro in which the province aims to minimize rate increases while allowing BC Hydro to reinvest in its aging assets and infrastructure. As we noted in a prior blog post, Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review, previously indicated that BC Hydro rate increases were imminent in view of the ongoing refurbishment of BC Hydro’s heritage generation facilities.… Continue Reading
A new federal-provincial study has concluded that naturas gas reserves contained in the Montney Formation that straddes British Columbia and Alberta are more than double than previously estimated, equivalent to 145 years of supply at Canada’s current consumption levels.
Prepared jointly by Canada’s National Energy Board, the Alberta Energy Regulator, B.C.’s newly-created Ministry of Natural Gas Development and the B.C. Oil & Gas Commission, the study assesses for the first time the unconventional petroleum resource potential of the Montney Formation. The study’s findings include the following:
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- the ultimate potential for unconventional petroleum in the Montney Formation is estimated at 12,719
On October 16, 2013, the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) released its white paper on energy policy in BC (White Paper). The White Paper provides an overview of BC’s energy development history and highlights the implications of three key shifts which drive the requirement for further policy reform:
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- the shale gas revolution, which has altered continental natural gas pricing and created a new export opportunity to feed Asian demand.
- climate change, which requires coordinated approaches to energy development.
- electricity marketplace change, which requires a new understanding of how future electricity needs will be met when upgrades of existing assets
British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett addressed the province’s independent power producers at the opening of Clean Energy BC’s annual conference in Vancouver on October 28, 2013. While confirming that there are currently no plans for a power call in the province, Minister Bennett acknowledged that his ministerial mandate specifically contemplates working with the clean energy sector to ensure that there remain significant opportunities for renewable energy companies to provide power to British Columbia, and made a number of observations, including:
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- policymaking continues to occur in a fluid and dynamic economic environment;
- electricity rates will need to
An internal BC Hydro Rates Working Group document leaked to the press suggests that residential, small business and industrial electricity users may face a 26.4% increase in their rates from 2014-2016. The document, dated August 23, 2013, attributes the required rate increase to a rise in BC Hydro’s revenue requirement from an estimated $3.8 billion in 2014 to $4.8 billion in 2016. … Continue Reading
As noted in our earlier blog post, BC Hydro recently released its revised draft Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) for public comment.
In reviewing the revised IRP, we noted that BC Hydro had updated its forecasts regarding provincial energy demand over the coming years.
Shown below is a comparison chart of the annual energy and peak demand forecasts from the August 2013 IRP as compared to the May 2012 IRP. Note that the comparison periods do not match precisely because the May 2012 IRP referenced five-year milestones starting in F2016 and ending on F2032, whereas the August 2013 IRP references … Continue Reading
The recently re-elected BC Liberal government presented its Throne Speech on June 26, 2013, and followed up with its June 2013 Budget Update on June 27, 2013. Although it was first presented in February 2013, the budget did not pass before the provincial election was called and required updating once the Legislature re-convened.
Not surprisingly, the Throne Speech focused on the energy sector and highlighted the economic opportunities surrounding the government’s plan to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry focused on exports to Asia. To this end, the BC government has created a new Ministry of Natural Gas Development, … Continue Reading
In its recent throne speech, the BC government predicted that the LNG industry could add $1 trillion to the provincial GDP over the next 30 years. The Province intends to launch a new “Prosperity Fund” that would accumulate over $100 billion in LNG royalties during this timeframe. Such funds would be used to pay down the $56 billion in provincial debt, and perhaps eliminate the provincial sales tax and invest in education, social services and infrastructure.
The BC government also released a one-year update to its 2012 LNG strategy in the days preceding the throne speech. According to the update, … Continue Reading