Minister unmoved by power producers’ plea

Energy Minister Rich Coleman expects to decide this fall on changes to B.C.'s clean energy legislation, including a possible reduction in independent power purchases by BC Hydro.

Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman

VICTORIA – Energy Minister Rich Coleman expects to decide this fall on changes to B.C.’s clean energy legislation, including a possible reduction in independent power purchases by BC Hydro.

Coleman said in an interview he plans to have recommendations for cabinet within weeks on the findings of a review panel of senior officials this summer. The review identified several ways for BC Hydro to hold electricity rate increases to less than four per cent in the next two years, including a change to the definition of self-sufficiency in clean energy imposed by the B.C. government, to take effect in 2016.

Independent producers want the province to maintain the target of self-sufficiency from domestic sources to meet demand even in low-water years. Last week, the Clean Energy Association of B.C. warned that cutting back on domestic supplies may lead B.C. to import more electricity, promoting further development of coal and natural gas power plants in North America.

Coleman said he met with association representatives, and he believes their concerns are premature. Between population growth and new industrial customers, BC Hydro projects a 40 per cent increase in electricity demand in the longer term, and there will continue to be room for independent producers in that growth, he said.

“I get their concerns, but we’ve got to run this corporation,” Coleman said.

Association president Paul Kariya also argued that BC Hydro is expecting the spot market price for electricity to rise by 50 per cent in 10 years and double current rates in 20 years. Reducing domestic supply could result in more costs as well as more greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

“That part of their argument I don’t buy,” Coleman said. “If we change the definition of self-sufficiency, that would mean that Hydro by our definition has all the power it needs. They don’t need to go to the spot market.”

The review team, led by Premier Christy Clark’s deputy John Dyble, also suggested reducing BC Hydro’s workforce, streamlining bids for construction and deferring some capital works to save money.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rain in Sunday forecast for Okanagan-Shuswap

Environment Canada calling for 15-20 millimetres in regions

Arena served Summerland for 26 years

Warm winters meant short ice seasons in early 1950s

Keremeos winery co-owned by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C.’s provincial health officer is part of the original ownership group of Clos du Soleil in Keremeos

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

Kelowna councillor creates campaign to help small businesses, charity

Made In YLW aims to support local businesses affected by COVID-19

UPDATE: B.C.’s Central Kootenay issues evacuation orders for hundreds of residents due to flooding

An evacuation alert covers all areas except the Cities of Castelgar and Nelson

PHOTOS: Thousands gather at Vancouver Art Gallery to protest racism

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Morning Start: How long did the Rodney King riots of 1992 last?

Your morning start for Monday, June 1, 2020

Number of students returning is a wild card as B.C. schools reopen Monday

A common model will see other teachers work four days a week in class then the fifth remotely,

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

PHOTOS: Okanagan residents capture epic lightning show

A look at some of the best shots of the storm on May 30

Most Read