While this year’s project awards under BC Hydro’s Bioenergy Phase 2 Call and Standing Offer Program gave cause for optimism, the clean energy sector has been essentially ‘on hold’ due to the uncertainty generated by the installation of a new Premier and Cabinet in Victoria, reviews of provincial energy and climate change policies and BC Hydro’s operations, and the need to determine the amount of electrical power required to support the government’s new Jobs Plan and the major mining, revitalized forestry and natural gas developments planned for northern BC.
CEBC has been active on all fronts. We provided detailed background material and recommendations to the BC Hydro Review Panel and to the Ministry of Energy’s review of the Clean Energy Act on key issues including the competitive cost of private power, BC Hydro rate increases, electricity self-sufficiency, Demand Side Management, Hydro’s deferral accounts and the economic benefits of BC’s private power projects (Click here for link to Fact Sheets)
. These issues also were addressed in public forums including our major news conference and a UBCM reception, a series of news releases and ‘OpEds’ and meetings with provincial and municipal politicians, business groups, First Nations, unions, environmental groups and major power consumers in the forest and mining sectors.
The Market Development Committee
has taken the lead in identifying the potential demand for electricity from northern mining, shale gas and liquid natural gas projects; and researching transmission requirements and the potential for greenhouse gas offsets through electrification. The Committee also has been active on the export file, organizing with federal Trade Commissioners a workshop on the US Pacific Northwest energy market for BC developers. There also have been separate meetings with BC Hydro, Powerex and US utilities on subjects including reservoir storage and Hydro’s proposed firming tariff.
Meantime, there has been substantive progress toward our objective of establishing and maintaining a ‘social licence to operate.’ A Memorandum of Understanding was signed (please see photo below) with the First Nations Mining Council and five First Nations (Sts'ailes (Chehalis), Kwakiutl, shíshálh (Sechelt)
, Sliammon, Squamish) at the Generate 2011 conference. The MoU provides a foundation for collaboration on mutually beneficial clean energy projects. In April, 11 CEBC representatives met with 10 representatives from Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (ENGOs) and established four task teams to undertake joint fact finding and develop an agenda for common initiatives. A followup meeting was held in mid November. To learn more about these meetings, please call our office at: 604.568.4778.
I fully expect 2012 to be equally challenging. The provincial government will be implementing new initiatives related to the Jobs Plan announced by Premier Clark, including policies related to clean energy development. Proposals for mining, forestry, shale gas and LNG developments in the north will begin to take shape and will trigger opportunities, and challenges, for CEBC Members. The Integrated Resource Plan being developed by BC Hydro under the Clean Energy Act will be tabled by 2012 year end. And 2012 year end also will mark the threshold of a provincial general election scheduled for May 2013.
Your Association will have to continue being very active and engaged on all fronts if it is to continue to influence the decision makers in Victoria and at BC Hydro while further developing working relationships with First Nations, ENGOs and community groups. This will impose substantial demands on our limited resources, and the continued support of our Members through their membership dues, attendance at Conference and volunteer work on our Committees will be absolutely essential.
Paul Kariya, Executive Director
November 25, 2011