Site C: GHG or alternative emissions?

Equipment on standby at the Site C dam in this photo from April 2016 - B.C. Hydro

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Project critics have another research source to back their opposition to the Site C Dam, and it’s a comparative analysis of greenhouse gas emissions of the third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River versus those of alternatives.

The Program on Water Governance finds that Site C does not deliver energy and capacity at significantly lower GHG emissions than the Alternative Portfolio put forward by BC Hydro which included wind energy.

This latest analysis supports the Environment Assessment Joint Review Panel recommendation, dodged by the government and Hydro, for a thorough review by the BC Utilities Commission prior to any decision to proceed with Site C.

However, it also goes beyond the work and findings of the panel commissioned by the federal and BC governments and draws conclusions about the relative GHG emission advantages of the project.

It reviewed the information presented to the panel by Hydro, but it also presents the findings of additional research concerning GHG emissions and claims to fill an important gap cited by the panel in its report, that its limited mandate and resources precluded analysis of key issues.

The Water Governance analysis found that Site C has more significant adverse environmental impact than any project ever reviewed under the history of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

It also rejects the federal and provincial governments stated position that the adverse environmental impacts of the project are justifiable, in part, because it delivers energy and capacity at lower GHG emissions than the available alternatives.

The analysis also touches on the proposed export of Site-C energy to Alberta, noting among other things the purpose of the project, as proposed by Hydro, is to meet BC domestic electricity requirements, and the dam was not evaluated in an export context.

It also questions the potential for exporting Site C energy to Alberta, arguing the cost is high compared to other renewables such as wind and solar which could be better ways for the country to reach affordable climate change goals more quickly.

The full report is available on line at www.watergovernance.ca.