On November 1, the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) released its Final Report to the Government on the Inquiry Respecting Site C, the most controversial energy project in the province. (A 20-page Executive Summary is here) . BCUC concurs with previous criticisms that B.C. Hydro’s forecast for electricity demand had been “excessively optimistic”, and that the project is likely to run late and over budget – possibly costing more than $10 billion. In his Submission to the BCUC in August, Revisiting the Economic Case for Site C, CCPA Economist Marc Lee discussed many of these same concerns, and also raised the issue that the scope of the BCUC inquiry should be expanded to consider Site C’s environmental effects and the implications for First Nations . All Submissions and documentation are available at the Inquiry website.
The BCUC Final Report does not make recommendations, but presents detailed information on the costs of three alternatives: continuing and completing the project, terminating it, or suspending it. The report also considers the potential of alternative, renewable energy options of wind, geothermal, and industrial conservation. It concludes that suspending the project and re-starting it later is too expensive an option, leaving the provincial Government to decide: continue, or terminate Site C. The government response states that “we anticipate a decision by the end of the year.” CBC News presents some of the range of reaction to the BCUC report in , “ ‘I think it would be devastating for our whole community’: report raises local anxiety about Site C’s future” . DeSmog Canada published a detailed summary, along with background information about the many protests and objections, at “Site C Dam Over Budget, Behind Schedule and Could be Replaced by Alternatives: BCUC Report” . (November 1)