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.

Just Posted

Maple Ridge residents clean up fire pit

Spend the weekend hauling out trash from Cottonwood area

Train horns falling silent in Maple Ridge

30-day transition period underway

Maple Ridge actress in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Melissa Harris part of Bard in the Valley cast.

Square dancers celebrate another July 1 with community

Town ‘n’ Country Dancers hold 33rd annual Canada Day event

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

Fate of accused in Canadian couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbot’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Most Read