VICTORIA - Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister responsible for Core Review, is directing BC Hydro to release its draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and undertake a final round of consultation with First Nations, key stakeholders and the public.
The draft IRP includes BC Hydro's recommended actions to meet an expected 40 per cent increase in the province's electricity demand over the next 20 years while keeping rates affordable.
From the time BC Hydro was created more than 50 years ago, British Columbia has built some of the most ambitious hydroelectric projects in the world. Generations of British Columbians have benefited from the foresight of these historic investments. Today, our population is growing, our economy is expanding and new technologies are advancing every day. Through the IRP process, BC Hydro is planning now to meet the province's future electricity needs.
The plan's recommendations ensure that BC Hydro will be able to support the unprecedented economic potential in British Columbia's north, including the development of the liquefied natural gas industry. In addition, the plan prioritizes conservation so that customers have the ability to reduce their electricity bills through a range of programs and incentives that help them use less electricity.
BC Hydro produced an initial draft of the IRP for public consultation in May 2012. Additional consultations, which will take place from Sept. 3 to Oct. 18, 2013, will provide the opportunity for comments on changes that have been made to draft IRP since that time. Government has also directed BC Hydro to seek additional feedback on the variables that can impact electricity forecasts and on its contingency plans to address those variables.
Following these consultations, BC Hydro will re-submit its IRP for consideration by government by Nov. 15, 2013.
Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett and Minister Responsible for Core Review -
"Predicting how much electricity B.C. will need over the next 20 years is a difficult challenge, particularly with resource industries like liquefied natural gas and mining positioned for the largest expansion since the days of WAC Bennett. This is why it is so important for BC Hydro to hear more from First Nations, key stakeholders and the public about our future electricity needs.
"The feedback received through this consultation process will inform the final plan that BC Hydro will submit for government's consideration this November."
President and CEO, BC Hydro, Charles Reid-
"BC Hydro has carefully considered the many trade-offs required to serve our 1.9 million customers while planning for the electricity needs of future generations.
"The IRP renews our commitment to conservation to provide customers with the ability to reduce their electricity bills and addresses the province's long-term electricity requirements which we will meet with clean, renewable and cost-effective supply options."
To read BC Hydro's draft IRP or to participate in the consultation, visit: http://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/meeting_demand_growth/irp.html
A BC Hydro backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Energy and Mines and Responsible for Core Review
BC Hydro's draft 2013 Integrated Resource Plan
BC Hydro's draft Integrated Resource plan (IRP) provides a long-term look at how BC Hydro will meet British Columbia's electricity needs.
BC Hydro submitted the draft plan to the minister of energy and mines and minister responsible for core review on Aug. 2. The Clean Energy Act requires a plan be submitted at least once every five years.
The draft plan includes recommended actions to cost-effectively meet the forecasted electricity needs of the province over the next 20 years, including supporting the development of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry.
The draft plan was developed through consultation with the public, stakeholders and First Nations in 2011 and 2012. BC Hydro gathered input through in-person meetings, open houses, workshops and feedback forms.
After reviewing the current draft of the plan, the minister of energy and mines and minister responsible for core review has asked BC Hydro to consult further on the content. BC Hydro will seek additional input from First Nations, key stakeholders and the public from Sept. 3 to Oct. 18 and re-submit the plan to government by Nov. 15.
The plan recommends:
- A continued focus on electricity conservation. The draft plan provides a strategy on how BC Hydro can save 7,800 gigawatt hours per year by 2021 - that's the equivalent of reducing new electricity demand by approximately 75 per cent. The IRP also supports a range of programs and incentives that will give customers the ability to reduce their electricity bills by using less electricity.
- Planning for the future by building Site C. The draft plan recognizes that Site C - a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River - would meet the long-term energy needs of customers with cost-effective, reliable and renewable electricity.
- Supporting LNG. The draft plan demonstrates that BC Hydro has adequate energy supply to meet the initial electricity requirements of LNG facilities - about 3,000 gigawatt hours a year - through to the 2021 fiscal year, and is prepared to serve additional LNG requirements as they emerge.
- Taking variables into account. Forecasting electricity demand is challenging, and contingency plans need to be in place in case demand grows faster than expected or if planned resources don't become available when expected. There are many variables that can impact the growth of demand, such as changing customer behaviour, technology shifts, global-energy markets, economic trends and climate change.
Electricity demand is expected to grow by 40 per cent over the next 20 years prior to electricity conservation efforts.
- Twenty years ago, B.C.'s population was 3.5 million people. At that time, total electricity use in the province was 46,000 gigawatt hours a year.
- Today, B.C.'s population is 4.6 million people and total electricity use in the province is 57,000 gigawatt hours a year.
- Twenty years from now, the population is expected to grow to 5.7 million people and total electricity use, without conservation measures, is expected to increase to 80,000 gigawatt hours a year.
More information about the Integrated Resource plan and the consultation process can be found at: http://www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/meeting_demand_growth/irp.html
Ministry of Energy and Mines and Responsible for Core Review