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Why is it called Site C?

The name dates back to the late 1950s when a predecessor company of BC Hydro was exploring the hydroelectric potential of the Peace River. While sites had been identified for the future locations of the W.A.C. Bennett and Peace Canyon dams, further exploration was done to identify locations between Peace Canyon and the Alberta border. In 1958, Sites A, B, C, D and E were identified. By 1978, the current Site C location was confirmed as the best option for a third dam on the Peace River.

Why don’t you use natural gas to generate electricity instead of building Site C?

Natural gas has a role to play in electricity generation in B.C. However, there are some considerations that are important to take into account.

B.C. Government Policy: The Clean Energy Act requires BC Hydro to maintain a portfolio that is 93 per cent clean or renewable (except for resources needed to supply exporting LNG facilities). The remaining 7 per cent of BC Hydro’s portfolio can be used for non-renewable options, such as natural gas. However, the amount of new natural gas that could be developed in the same time frame as Site C is currently limited because natural gas and diesel generation would represent approximately 6 per cent of BC Hydro’s system in that timeframe.

Cost Profile and Price Volatility: While a natural gas-fired facility would have lower upfront capital costs compared to Site C, its operating costs would be relatively higher and subject to market fluctuation of fuel costs. This leads to a higher level of uncertainty in the cost of energy for natural gas-fired facilities over the long-term.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Site C would produce among the lowest GHG emissions compared to other forms of electricity generation in B.C. per unit of energy produced. Fossil fuel sources, such as a natural gas-fired facility, would have significantly higher levels of GHG emissions.

Have you looked at alternative resources that could be built instead of Site C?

Yes. The Site C Environmental Impact Statement includes an analysis of alternatives, including both clean and thermal generation options. BC Hydro concluded that portfolios including the Site C project provide the best combination of financial, technical, environmental, and economic development attributes for the amount of energy and dependable capacity that Site C would provide.

Do we really need Site C?

Yes. B.C.’s electricity needs are forecast to increase by approximately 40 per cent over the next 20 years as the economy expands and the population grows by more than a million people. The electricity needs of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities would further increase demand.

As extensive as BC Hydro’s electricity supply is, it will not be enough to meet future electricity demand. Hydroelectric projects are complex and require a long lead time. BC Hydro is building Site C now to ensure it is available to meet customer needs in the long-term.

How can I find out about business opportunities with Site C?

All procurements for the Site C project will be posted on BC Bid. In addition, interested businesses can sign up to the Site C Business Directory. Registered companies receive updates, via email, on potential business opportunities as they arise, as well as notifications about events.

There are three ways you can keep informed about Site C procurement opportunities. They are:

Is Site C being built for the LNG sector?

The Site C project would be required with or without an LNG sector. However, new LNG facilities are expected to accelerate the need for new electricity-generation resources in B.C., such as Site C.

It is also important to understand that BC Hydro has an integrated electricity system, and electricity is not pinpointed to any specific customer group. This means that all BC Hydro customers — residential, commercial and industrial — would benefit from the electricity generated by Site C.

What is the impact on rates from the Site C project?

There is no effect on today’s BC Hydro rates from Site C, as costs are deferred until the project begins generating electricity. This ensures that the costs for Site C are paid by the ratepayers who are benefiting from the project.

Site C costs will be amortized over a long period to mitigate the rate impacts on customers. The amortization period and rate impacts would be determined through a future regulatory process with the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Site C has a lower cost per megawatt hour than most other clean electricity generation options, which will help BC Hydro maintain competitive electricity rates in the future.

What are the benefits of Site C?

The Site C project has many important benefits for B.C.:

  • Site C will help meet future electricity needs by providing enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in B.C.
  • It will be a source of clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity for more than 100 years.
  • Site C will produce among the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions, per gigawatt hour, compared to other electricity generation options.
  • The project will facilitate the development of clean and renewable energy sources by providing a reliable back up to intermittent resources, such as wind.
  • Site C will generate approximately 35 per cent of the energy produced at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, with five per cent of the reservoir area.
  • Site C will create approximately 13,000 person-years of direct construction employment.