“Environmental blah blah” is how retiring NDP MLA Corky Evans describes the privatization of B.C.’s waterways under the guise of addressing climate change. So-called “green” run of river hydro projects, also known as independent power projects or IPPs, divert water into a pipe several kilometres long and then into a turbine before returning it to the same watercourse downstream.
Among the over 500 streams and rivers staked by private companies so far, the Plutonic Power and General Electric Bute Inlet Project plans to divert and dam 17 streams and rivers, while constructing 445 kilometres of transmission lines, 314 kilometres of roads, and 104 bridges. Across the inlet from me, the Sea-to-Sky corridor has stakes for 110 streams and rivers.
How did this happen? The 2002 B.C. Energy Plan forbade our formerly very profitable Crown corporation B.C. Hydro from producing new sources of hydroelectricity. Further, BC Hydro will now be forced to buy energy from the new private producers at $120 megawatts per hour for which they will receive $60 in the market. Well, you know Gordo and privatization: BC Rail, BC Ferries, healthcare.
What about local opposition? Silenced in June 2006 when Campbell passed Bill 30 to retroactively abolish local zoning authority over them.
Who supports the run of river projects? You mean apart from speculators and Liberal-led astroturf orgs like BC Citizens For Green Energy? Well, there’s David Suzuki, economist Mark Jaccard, and environmental activist Tzeporah Berman who started the foundation PowerUp Canada just to promote them.
And why are we doing this again? To sell our “green” energy to the US. says Berman, through what Gordo referred to at the last PNWER summit as “electric transmission corridors.”
Coincidentally, Suzuki, Jaccard, and Berman all made media headlines in the last few days criticizing the NDP for not supporting Gordo’s “gas tax.” Not that they support Gordo, they say, just “his environmental leadership.” That would be the Gordo who gutted the BC Environment ministry and supports fish farms, the Gordo of Gateway Pacific and twin Enbridge pipelines from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat, the Gordo of expanding the oil and gas industry in the north and building more roads and bridges instead of light rail and public transit, the Gordo of offshore drilling and renewed tanker routes . . . that Gordo.