The future of reliable and local power will be determined in just a few weeks and it’s critical BC Hydro gets this decision right.
BC Hydro’s draft integrated resource plan (IRP) released earlier this year placed the long-term future of the Island Generation facility in Campbell River in jeopardy by indicating BC Hydro did not see the facility as part of the future power supply mix for British Columbians.
They’ve failed to put forward a credible plan to replace what Island Generation provides in terms of meeting Vancouver Island’s need to have reliable power available. BC Hydro can’t afford to get this wrong. Right now, Island Generation represents more than 33 per cent of Vancouver Island’s generation capacity. It has been called on to operate in 31 per cent of all hours to the end of November, and operated in 76 of the 91 days when the underwater transmission lines bringing power from the mainland were down. Without Island Generation, where will that power come from?
Time is running out. BC Hydro is expected to file its final plan with the BC Utilities Commission by the end of the year.
The power grid isn’t something we all think about when we switch on the lights, but for the past few months, residents in Campbell River and Vancouver Island, as well as from the Lower Mainland, have been making their voices heard through the Keep Island Generation campaign and urging BC Hydro to recontract with Island Generation.
BC Hydro has acknowledged as much in a report that it released on the feedback they’ve received regarding the draft IRP.
The report highlighted comments from the City of Campbell River expressing support for recontracting of the facility. During council meetings, councilors themselves have been very clear regarding their support, and the need to ensure local and reliable power.
But it’s not just elected officials. Nearly 270 individual submissions came in from people in and around Campbell River area as of October 15 “supporting the renewal of Island Generation’s Electricity Purchase Agreement.” One submission BC Hydro highlighted was from an individual who said that they “fear this decision will make our energy grid less secure. Island Generation makes sure we have power when we need it.”
And they are right to be concerned.
The benefits of Island Generation are obvious. It has been there for Vancouver Island and BC during extreme weather events and transmission challenges. It’s reliable and local. It provides Campbell River $1.5 million in annual property taxes that help fund transit, roads, and other core municipal services. It’s a proud supporter of local non-profits and charitable initiatives in the community. It provides good jobs and benefits for the local supply chain.
Vancouver Island and the City of Campbell River are stronger as a result of this facility. We have heard from hundreds of folks who want to see this facility stay online for Vancouver Island, not just for the short term but for the long term.
There’s not much time left to get this right. Our campaign at www.keepislandgeneration.ca has seen significant support. There’s still time to show your support and highlight the importance of BC Hydro including a commitment to recontract Island Generation as part of its final plan.
Senior Vice President, Planning, Stakeholder Relations and Chief Sustainability Officer