The economy of Site C versus natural gas

By on January 22, 2016

Letters to the EditorJan 9/16  letter to editor

The new year is beginning on a very rough economic note: the down turn in the  oil and natural industry  along with the economy in general has gone far south by any standard.

News of major slow downs in China and India have also  lead the news stories in recent weeks. So, according to Premier Clark, even if we haven’t got a single LNG facility up and running here in BC , at least we have Site C up and running or…..so would Madame Clark have us believe.

The push for a  Site C looks sugar coated and inviting . Madame Clark encourages us to look at the “positives”.  She  has convinced many British Columbians that we need more “home grown” or made in BC jobs.  Site C, according to her will offer just that.

But, here are a few interesting  facts: At the height of building a Site C mega dam project,  approximately 1500 jobs will be needed. Sounds like a lot for a project costing BC taxpayers a cool $9 Billion dollars?

Yet, just months ago, the Shepard Energy facility in Calgary quietly became operational producing electricity (using natural gas)  for the local residents of Calgary .  At the height of its construction, the Shepard had 2,630 jobs for a variety of construction related activities. The total  cost of the project to the rate payers of  Alberta is $ 1.4 Billion dollars.

Ah….but Site C  must  be producing much more energy than a Shepard Energy natural gas powered facility, you must be thinking….?. Wrong: The Shepard Centre will be producing 6500 GWh of electricity/year  compared with  a Site C project of 5100 GWh/year  of electricity.  That’s 22% MORE energy from a natural gas powered Shepard Energy facility than a Site C would produce.

So,  Calgarians  will get 22% MORE energy from natural gas than a Site C project will produce at a savings of $7.6 Billion dollars. And…..the Shepard Centre also utilized an ADDITIONAL  1130 home grown  jobs for their project in comparison with Site C.

So, here in BC we get 1130 fewer jobs,  LESS energy from Site C and we get to pay $7.6 Billion dollars MORE?

You must be thinking that there is  something wrong with the math. After all, our BC politicians would not be trying to pull the wool over our eyes?

Perhaps this is precisely the time to ask your MLA what this government is thinking when it comes to managing our energy and fiscal  needs.   

It is time for transparency and accountability from the BC Liberal government about the Site C project.

One Footnote: Shepard Energy customers will be  guaranteed 8 cents per KWh until 2020.  Meanwhile , BC Hydro customer rates continue to skyrocket each and every year well above the 8 cent threshold.

Mike Kroecher,

Rick Koechl

Charlie Lake , BC

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