MINISTER of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall in a statement on the final report of the Site C review, which was released on Wednesday by the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), said the government faces an “extremely difficult decision” to determine whether Site C is in the best interests of British Columbians after considering the BCUC’s findings and other issues outside the scope of this review.
She added: “This will be an extremely difficult decision. We inherited a project that was advanced by the previous government without proper regulatory oversight, is now more than two years into construction, employs more than 2,000 people, and on which about $2 billion has already been spent.”
The report notes in “the completion scenario” that “the project is not within the proposed budget of $8.335 billion. Further, the total cost at completion may be in excess of $10 billion as there are significant risks remaining which could lead to further budget overruns. There is a high degree of uncertainty at this time. As such the Panel is persuaded by the analysis performed by Deloitte, which indicated that in a “high impact” scenario the budget may be exceeded by between 20 and 50 percent. In addition there are significant risks that could prevent the project from remaining on schedule and the Panel is not persuaded that it will remain on schedule for a November 2024 in-service date.”
Mungall said: “We are going to take the time we need to make a decision on Site C that works for B.C. families, businesses and the sustainability of our environment and economy.
“As part of our decision-making process, this month the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and I will be meeting with Treaty 8 First Nations impacted by the project. We will also be taking other First Nation interests expressed during the Site C review and other processes into account.
“Given the complexity of the issues involved, and the significant and long-term impacts for our province, this is a decision we take very seriously. We anticipate a decision by the end of the year.”
She also noted: “Our government initiated the BCUC review of Site C to assist us in making the best decision for keeping BC Hydro rates affordable in the long term.
“The BCUC’s findings are based on 620 written and 304 oral submissions from individuals and organizations, and thousands of pages of information on the project provided to the BCUC and made available to the public.”
ANDREW Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party, said: “It is unconscionable that the B.C. Liberals demonstrated such reckless disregard for British Columbians and for sound fiscal management by pushing through such a substantial mega-project without proper due diligence and oversight.
“I am very encouraged that the report indicates that alternative energy sources could provide similar benefits to ratepayers as Site C at an equal or lower cost. I have long argued that the plummeting cost of alternative renewables makes Site C the unequivocal wrong direction for B.C.’s energy future.
“Supporting the development of smaller renewable projects presents a significant economic opportunity for all corners of British Columbia. In recent months our caucus has met with numerous communities across the province who are proposing exciting projects like wind and geothermal that would generate jobs and innovation in their communities using private sector investment rather than billions in taxpayer funds.
“Cancelling Site C will take real leadership. I hope that the B.C. NDP will seize the incredible opportunity before us to develop a 21st Century vision for the future of energy in this province.”
VAL Litwin, CEO and President of the BC Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Site C project provides a 100-year plan to provide reliable, clean energy while building the economy, allowing BC businesses to be competitive at a national and international level.
“Top of mind for the BC Chamber is the number of businesses connected with the Site C project, and the job creation possibilities that come with a project of this size. Approximately 2,000 people are working on the Site C project – with 1,800 people from BC alone – the economic impact is important to our prosperity.”
The BC Chamber of Commerce 2016 Collective Perspective Survey report found that BC’s clean technology sector is ranked as the second most important growth sector over the next 10 years by the businesses that operate in the province. The BC Chamber said it recognizes that advancements in wind and solar energy are encouraging, and play an important role in the energy portfolio, but believes BC Hydro’s Site C is an integral part of the clean-technology industry in the province and will be a driver of economic growth, increased investment, and innovation.
To view the BCUC’s final report on the Site C review, visit: http://www.sitecinquiry.com/