Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hydro Quebec wangles 500% better deal with NB Power than B.C. Hydro gets from Teck Resources?

B.C. Hydro's amazing purchase of a 1/3 share in the Waneta Dam from Teck Resources has been approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

The decision actually came down a month ago and I missed it - so I just publish this as a matter of follow through to previous blog posts and also to provide a little more insight. And, some may also want to hold this sale up against the NB Power sale to Hydro Quebec., which has been delayed until May to allow for more public debate in New Brunswick.

You can actually go to a BCUC website and read the submissions by the intervenors, which include the City of Trail, the Sinixt Nation, the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre and so forth. Mind you, no guarantee that all the submissions are shown... One of the many submissions to the BCUC proceedings on the proposed purchase was submitted jointly by the B.C. SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION and the Sierra Club B.C.
Although many of the submissions from a variety of parties were opposed to the purchase, this joint submission in favour of the transaction, from two environment-conscious organizations, I felt warranted a closer look. So I've put the link here to the argument, which is relatively easy reading.

Following were the criteria "to be considered" in determining whether the Waneta Transaction would be in the public interest:
a) cost in comparison with feasible alternative
b) need, in consideration of forecasts
c) considerations of clean, green and B.C. origin
d) "opportunity cost" of Teck Resources
e) and the so-called "honour of the Crown" with respect to First Nations issues

In short, in consideration of all of the above, this joint submission found the transaction to be in the public interest. So, read that if you want.

What I find to be the most pertinent part of the argument, and the hardest part to swallow, is the cost.  I get that they are talking "comparables".
So, let's compare: B.C. Hydro is getting access to 167 MW of capacity for $825 million. NB Power had 3,297 MW of installed capacity as of 2008, most of which Hydro Quebec is supposed to be taking over for a revised price of $3.2 billion. So, put simply, HQ pays four times the price and gets 20 times the capacity!

To all appearances, a 500% better deal than B.C. Hydro negotiated with Teck Resources! One New Brunswick hydro station alone, Mactaquac, provides 672 MW of capacity for NB Power. A person truly needs more time to delve into these matters because what meets the eye does not make sense.

Another criteria to note is the 890GWh of energy that B.C. Hydro expects to get from Waneta. I haven't found exactly what the equivalent "energy" figure would be for NB Power.

OK, here is is: NB Power - 07/08 power sold, inside and outside of the province, total: 16,500 GWh. So, the ratio of 20-1 holds true for both capacity and power generated.

No comments: