Thursday, February 5, 2009

BC Citizens for Green Energy

BC Citizens for Green Energy is a group of people lobbying for more green energy production in BC, specifically they are strongly supporting run of the river hydro and wind power.

The group is clearly from the business side of the political spectrum and are also quite scrappy in taking on people opposing green power projects. This makes them quite different than the BC Sustainable Energy Association, who seem to be completely avoiding the debate about green power projects.

The campaign against green power projects in BC is getting weird. There is a wildly strong NIMBY thing going, there is also anti-business thing going on, and there is finally a strain wanting us to not use more power. Very little of the campaign against the green power projects makes much sense, but there really is no one taking on the wild and bizarre accusations against the projects.

If the goal is to reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by power production, there are few things better than the host of run of the river power projects suggested for BC. Without these, realistically there will need to be natural gas power plants in BC, site C and coal plants. At the moment we are dependent on power from Alberta and the US to make up the shortfall at home, this can not go on forever.

The campaign being mounted by groups like Western Canada Wilderness Committee needs to be examined for the implications of what they are saying. If WCWC, and related people, get their wish, the carbon footprint of people in BC will rise dramatically, each Kw/H of imported power adds about 500 grams of CO2. Right now we import close to 15% of the power we use, a CO2 impact of about 750kg per household, or about 1.8 megatonnes. If this rises to 25%, that will add another 500kg per household.


Anonymous said...

You might want to fact check that 15% number. I don't believe it is that large and if I recall correctly BC is often a net exporter as in 2008.

I have to also wonder about our down stream benefits under the Columbia River Treaty. How does it relate to the import balance numbers I see tossed around? Do we import more power than we sell under the treaty? Since BC suffered the enviromental and social consequences shouldn't we at least get to claim that power as ours? Maybe we already do.

Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of transparency in this debate.

Bernard von Schulmann said...

I may be wrong on the amount we are importing in any given year, but the data I looked at did not indicate that we have been a net importer at any point in the last eight or nine years.

In many years BC sells power to the US for a lot more than we buy it from them. We have been net importers but made a profit on the dealings.

I am not sure about the downstream power, as far as I understood we were getting the power, it is worth 1245 Mw/H. Though how it is accounted for I do not know.

My main point is that the power we bring into to BC is much more likely to be produced from a source that has CO2 emissions and therefore will increase our carbon footprint.