Two separate court challenges of the federal and provincial environmental assessment approvals for the Site C hydropower project in British Columbia have recently been dismissed by the federal and BC appellate courts. The two appellate courts separately upheld earlier decisions of the BC Supreme Court and the Federal Court which had dismissed applications for judicial review by the Prophet River First Nation and the West Moberly First Nation (the First Nations) of the provincial and federal environmental assessment decisions approving Site C. The First Nations argued that the approvals infringed their treaty rights under Treaty 8 and that there was … Continue Reading
McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Power Group has launched the 2nd edition of its publication, ‘Canadian Power – Key Developments in 2016/Trends to Watch for in 2017’. The publication provides a detailed overview of significant developments in the Canadian power sector over the past year, as well as emerging trends that will be relevant in the coming year. Content includes in-depth regional analyses of developments in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec, as well as commentary on the impact of specific issues on the power sector, such as recent M&A activity and developments in aboriginal law and environmental regulations … 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
The National Power Group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP is pleased to introduce Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 /Trends to Watch for in 2016. This publication provides an unprecedented overview of the most significant developments in the Canadian power industry and highlights key trends to watch for. In addition to providing a detailed review of developments in each region, we look at developments in key areas of national scope, including project finance, environmental, regulatory and aboriginal law matters.
A full pdf version of Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 / Trends to Watch for in 2016 can be accessed … Continue Reading
This post provides an update on the latest developments in the litigation proceedings involving BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). Please see our earlier posts on July 21, August 14, and September 2 for additional background on the proceedings.
At the outset, we note that on November 25, 2015, BC Hydro and the BC Government announced the awarding of a $1.5 billion construction contract for Site C to Peace River Hydro Partners (which includes Petrowest Construction, ACCIONA Infrastructure Canada Inc. and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.). There will be an emphasis on hiring local … 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
This post provides an update on the latest developments in the litigation proceedings involving BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), and a summary of the current status of each of the judicial review applications that have been filed to date. Please see our earlier posts on July 21st and August 14th for additional background on the judicial review proceedings filed in BC Supreme Court and Federal Court.… Continue Reading
This post provides an update on recent developments in the litigation commenced in respect of BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). Please see our earlier post for an overview of each of the Federal Court and Provincial Court proceedings.… Continue Reading
This article provides a consolidated overview of recent developments in the six judicial review proceedings challenging the governmental approvals of Site C. Please check our blog for future updates on key developments in the proceedings.… 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.
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
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
Our prior instalment considered the changes that the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (“CETA”) will have on procurement by public utilities. We will now look at the extent to which the obligations imposed by CETA on procurements by public utilities will be limited by minimum monetary thresholds and certain special exceptions.
Under all procurement treaties including CETA, only procurements which exceed a certain monetary value are subject to the treaty’s obligations. Under CETA, only those procurements by a covered public utility that exceed $630,000 will be subject to its requirements. Procurements by utilities below that threshold will not be subject … Continue Reading
In their assessment of the Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), the Joint Review Panel (the Panel) considered the potential impact of Site C on Aboriginal rights and treaty rights, along with the possible effects of the project on the cultural and economic well-being of First Nations. It identified 24 groups claiming an interest in the Local Assessment Area, as well as 6 other Aboriginal groups with potential interests who did not participate in the review process. Overall, the Panel determined that Site C would likely cause significant adverse effects on fishing opportunities and practices and on hunting and … Continue Reading
As reported in our earlier blog, the Joint Review Panel (the Panel) appointed to review BC Hydro’s proposed Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) recently released its report to the public. In addition to assessing the project costs associated with Site C and BC Hydro’s methods for analyzing load forecast and demand, the Panel put forward a number of conclusions and recommendations in relation to the environmental and aboriginal impacts of Site C. Part 1 of this blog presents an overview of the key environmental findings of the Panel, while the Panel’s findings on the potential impacts to … Continue Reading
On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Woodfibre Natural Gas Limited (Woodfibre) announced its plans to use electricity from BC Hydro to power the compression of natural gas at its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant near Squamish, B.C. According to Woodfibre, the decision not to use traditional natural gas-fired compression will decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.
The Woodfibre LNG project is owned and operated by Woodfibre, a corporation established in British Columbia with offices in Vancouver (headquarter) and Calgary. Woodfibre is planning to develop its the Woodfibre LNG project on the former Western Forest Products pulp mill in the Squamish … 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
For the first time Canadian “Public Utility Companies” will have their procurement processes, evaluation methodologies and contract awards subject to international disciplines under the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (“CETA”) between Canada and the European Union. This is a historic change because public utilities, such as Hydro Québec, BC Hydro, the Ontario Power Authority, Toronto Hydro, have previously been exempt from international standards and disciplines. The North American Free Trade Agreement, World Trade Organization Agreement on Government Procurement and in some cases even the Agreement on Internal Trade exempt utilities from their procurement disciplines. … Continue Reading
On March 11, 2014, the BC government introduced the Water Sustainability Act into the Legislature for first reading as Bill 18 (Bill). If passed, the Water Sustainability Act will replace and modernize BC’s century-old Water Act.
As noted in our prior blog post, the introduction of formal legislation is the culmination of over four years of consultations and follows on the heels of a detailed legislative proposal (Legislative Proposal) on the statute released by the government on October 18, 2013. … 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