The Site C dam project is moving along at full speed as the province tries to get it to the point of no return so the project would have to completed.
Meanwhile, there are increasing questions about what the power of the dam would cost, or if it’s even necessary at a time when demand is flat.
Proponents say we’ll need the power by 2024 so we need to build the dam now.
One of the people in the province who knows a great deal about the Site C dam is Dr. Harry Swain, the former chairman of the Site C review panel with a PhD. in economic geography and 22 years of federal civil service under his belt.
Swain has now become an outspoken critic of the 8.8 billion dollar dam, and he joined Jon McComb to discuss his recent conclusion that the dam is not necessary and not economically viable.
He says the power should only be built when we need it, and should we need it wind and solar energy, as well as small scale hydro projects are available at a moment’s notice at prices which are highly competitive.
“One of the greater advantages of building smaller projects is that you can build them so that they are pretty much 100% used the moment they come on stream. The problem with a very large project like Site C is that you spend, you know, 9 billion dollars and then you wait for a period of time until demand increases to take up all the power that you’re producing.”
Swain says in that period of waiting, the province then has an asset that isn’t yielding anything or making any money.
BC Hydro’s load forecasts continue to be optimistic and yet, says Swain, ever since 2005 demand has been flat. He says within a month or so a rate hearing is coming up and they’ll produce a new rate forecast, which could paint a different picture.
LISTEN to the full interview here:
— With files from Alaska Highway News