MOU between B.C., BC Hydro and independent clean energy will strengthen communication, Ministry says

By on October 22, 2015
Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett. Photo: Government of British Columbia

Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett. Photo: Government of British Columbia

DAWSON CREEK – The Clean Energy Association of British Columbia (CEBC), BC Hydro and the government of B.C. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which outlines more collaboration between the three bodies, the Ministry of Energy and Mines announced today.

The purpose of the MOU is stated as supporting “a stronger relationship between CEBC, BC Hydro and Government.”

CEBC represents independent power producers (IPPS) in B.C., which provide significant amounts of power to BC Hydro through purchase agreements across resources such as wind, hydro, biomass, natural gas and solar power.

It has represented the sector for 25 years, and currently has 160 members from a variety of developed and developing energy technologies; the amount of energy provided to BC Hydro from independent power suppliers is growing, according to the Ministry statement.

About 25 per cent of B.C.’s current power supply comes from independent power projects.

“At this moment, clean energy companies are responsibly, reliably, and affordably keeping the lights on in 1.5 million homes throughout the province and bringing billions of investment into the economy – the result of a longstanding relationship between our sector, the province, and BC Hydro,” said Kariya executive director of CEBC.

“This agreement opens up clear channels of communication so that we can continue to deliver clean power to British Columbians, while providing more certainty for investors and our member clean power companies.”

The proposed Site C project is briefly mentioned in the MOU as an example of BC Hydro’s infrastructure development, stating: “… BC Hydro continues to upgrade and expand existing infrastructure and with government’s approval, is constructing Site C.”

David Haslam, a Ministry of Energy and Mines spokesperson, confirmed that this MOU will not affect any policy around the proposed dam.

“Should the need for energy increase more than BC Hydro expects, for example due to expanded industrial activity or electrification initiatives coming out of the Climate Leadership Plan, BC Hydro will purchase more power from IPPs,” Haslam wrote in an email to Northeast News.

The Climate Leadership Plan is a Ministry of Environment Initiative currently in the works to address B.C.’s Climate Action Plan.

This MOU, signed by Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of BC Hydro, and Kariya, will “facilitate collaboration on key issues to strengthen British Columbia’s competitive advantage of reliable and affordable clean electricity and support continued investment and growth in the independent power sector” the Ministry statement reads.

“The private renewable power industry has grown into an essential component of British Columbia’s reliable electricity network of diverse generation and provincewide transmission and distribution,” said Bennett.

“IPPs are highly valued by First Nations, by local government and by the B.C. public. It is my goal that we maintain and grow the IPP industry in B.C. in the context of affordable electricity rates and good management of our highly regarded system.”

The MOU is valid until Dec. 31, 2017.

Key components include “improving procurement practices” for acquiring power from clean energy sources and improving communication with First Nations around the stewardship of clean energy resources.

The MOU recognizes that collaborative work with First Nations groups is advantageous to the development of B.C.’s clean energy resources, Haslam wrote: ” … This will support the Clean Energy Strategy in BC Hydro’s 2013 Integrated Resource Plan to expand the acquisition targets under its Standing Offer Program for smaller projects under 15 megawatts with an emphasis on First Nations Participation.”

Representatives from each group will meet at least quarterly to take part in workshops about new and innovative technologies in the renewable energy sector.

The MOU states that BC Hydro and government will not cease dealing with other renewable power associations which are not signatories to the agreement.

Stacy Thomas

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