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BC Hydro to cut proposed rate increase following government review

By Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun, August 11, 2011

The provincial panel reviewing BC Hydro’s rates is recommending changes that will cut the increase the utility is seeking by about half by reducing staff, deferring capital projects and changing the way it sends capital projects out to bid.

Review of BC Hydro, June 2011

Alterra Power Announces a 10% Increase in the Firm Energy Allotment of the Toba Montrose Energy Purchase Agreement

Press Release, Alterra Power Corp. July 28, 2011

VANCOUVER, July 28, 2011 /CNW/ - Alterra Power Corp. (TSX: AXY) announces that the Toba Montrose General Partnership ("TMGP") has exercised a one-time right in its energy purchase agreement with B.C. Hydro to increase its firm energy allotment by 10%. This increase is effective June 1, 2011.

The exercise of the right does not require the delivery of more power, but because the firm energy allotment is the highest priced tranche of the energy purchase agreement, the increase in power priced under that allotment is expected to result in an average annualized net revenue increase from TMGP of 2.4%. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Will 'Super, natural B.C.' be here for your kids?

James Walker, Times-Colonist, July 24, 2011

Province needs a 50-year vision to protect wilderness and wildlife

The province's auditor general has highlighted the need for improvement in the monitoring of environmental assessment projects and much more due diligence.

Even with such improvements, questions remain about the credibility of the assessment process.

B.C.ʼs Prosperity Mine assessment seriously flawed: new study

News Release, Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research, July 20, 2011

Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research(Smithers) A new independent report commissioned by the Smithers-based Northwest Institute (NWI) has found serious flaws in the provincial environmental assessment of Taseko Minesʼ proposed Prosperity Mine in B.C.ʼs west Chilcotin region.

Black day for green jobs: Feds prepare to cut environmental agency

By Amy Minsky, Postmedia News, Vancouver Sun, July 20, 2011

OTTAWA — The federal government will slash funding to the environmental agency that evaluates potentially harmful policies and projects before they get the green light.

And if the trend in declining funds and employees continues, Canada could experience a series of environmental disasters, as government loses access to valuable information about proposed resource projects — whether it's shale gas extraction, offshore drilling or big hydroelectric projects, critics say.

Deal aims to resurrect B.C.’s Bute Inlet hydroelectric project

JUSTINE HUNTER, Globe and Mail, Jul. 14, 2011

Hoping to resurrect an ambitious run-of-the-river project that would rival the capacity of BC Hydro’s proposed Site C dam, Alterra Power will sign a partnership agreement with the Homalco First Nation on Friday, handing the tiny band $1.5-million in exchange for an agreement that would allow the Bute Inlet hydroelectric project to proceed in its traditional territory.

Minister confirms that Panel will be reappointed if Bute project resumes

Ministre de l'Environnement
Minister of the Environment
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0H3

Jul 14, 2011

Friends of Bute Inlet

Dear Ms. Keller:

Thanks you for your email message of February 21, concerning the proposed Bute Inlet Hydrolectric project (the Project).

As Bute Hydro Inc. (the proponent) does not currently intend to move forward with the Project through the environmental assessment process, I disbanded the review panel (the Panel) on March 18. The Panel members are therefore released from their obligations under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

The environmental assessment of the Project is not, however, being terminated. Should the proponent decide at a later date to proceed with the Project, I will appoint a new Panel to conduct the review.

Please note that my decision is available to the public through the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's public registry Web site at


signed for

The Honourable Peter Kent, P.C., M.P.

Click here to download a copy of the signed letter

Government policies forcing up Hydro costs

By Marvin Shaffer, Times Colonist, June 9, 2011

Utility forced under legislation to buy more power than it needs

If it is not already a fundamental law of economics, it should be: When government says we must pay whatever it takes, we inevitably pay too much. So it is with the B.C. government's energy policies.

CBC Almanac with Auditor General John Doyle and Calvin Sandborn

CBC Almanac's Mark Forsyth talks with Auditor General John Doyle and UVic's Environmental Law Centre's Calvin Sandborn about the Auditor General's critical report entitled An Audit of the Environmental Assessment Office's Oversight of Certified Projects, July 8, 2011.

Click here to download the podcast


Host Mark Forsyth makes reference to other reports which echoed the Auditor General's concerns with the Environmental Assessment Office monitoring and assessment. One is the Forest Practices Board's report entitled Forest Resources and the Toba Montrose Creek Hydroelectric Project. The complainants were Friends of Bute Inlet and Sierra Club of BC.

Environmental scrutiny falling short in BC: Auditor General report

By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, July 8, 2011

A public office entrusted with monitoring environmental compliance in multi-billion-dollar industrial projects around the province is not doing its job, a scathing report by the Auditor General of B.C. said Thursday.

Rather than meet its mandate to oversee the implementation of such approved projects, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office often delegates that role to other ministries and “does not formally track certified project conditions and commitments for compliance,” the audit report found.

Big project watchdog too lax, audit says

BY JUDITH LAVOIE, Times Colonist, July 7, 2011

John DoyleEnvironmental Assessment Office failing to watch for harm: report

B.C.'s Environmental Assessment Office is failing to adequately monitor major projects such as mines, power plants and tourist resorts, says B.C. auditor general John Doyle.

In a highly critical report, released Thursday, Doyle said the EAO, which is supposed to provide oversight of major projects, cannot assure the public that it is guarding against harmful environmental impacts from projects that have been approved.

Auditor slams watchdog’s lack of oversight

WENDY STUECK, Globe and Mail, Jul. 07, 2011

A provincial watchdog agency that oversees projects such as dams, mines and power plants is not doing enough to monitor and regulate projects it has approved, says a report by British Columbia Auditor-General John Doyle.

And along with shortfalls that include a lack of routine site inspections and vague wording of commitments that companies are supposed to keep, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office is falling down on its obligation to share information with the public, Mr. Doyle concluded.

Bottled water ban turns capital into 'blue community'

By Bill Cleverley, Times-Colonist, Postmedia News, June 18, 2011

Victoria is banning the sale of bottled water at its facilities.

Victoria councillors have backed a motion by Coun. Marianne Alto designating the city a "blue community" that supports publicly owned water supplies, bans bottled water at civic facilities and recognizes water as a basic human right.

Millions laid out in Tahltan deal

Staff Writer, Terrace Standard, June 08, 2011

THE TAHLTAN Nation stands to gain more than $500 million in benefits over the lifetime of three run-of-river hydro electric projects being built on its traditional territory, Tahltan leaders estimate.

The money would flow in the form of cash bonuses, revenue sharing, jobs, contracts with Tahltan companies and scholarships from Calgary-based AltaGas which is spending close to $1 billion on the three projects.

BC Hydro needs more flexibility in planning for the future

By Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, June 10, 2011

Easing the self-sufficiency requirement would reduce pressure on electricity rates

When the B.C. Liberals enacted their Clean Energy Act a year ago, they touted it as a route to "green energy, renewable energy," and above all, "electricity self-sufficiency."

The latter goal, No. 1 on the list of energy objectives, obliged BC Hydro to establish self-sufficiency in electricity by mid-decade and to acquire a healthy surplus by 2020.

Forest Practices Board Questions Oversight for Private Power Projects

Sierra Club BC and Friends of Bute Inlet call for new regulations to protect B.C.’s environment FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 9, 2011 Victoria, BC. ---Sierra Club BC is calling for tighter government regulations for independent power projects after today’s Forest Practices Board report reveals uneven environmental standards and inadequate government oversight for “run of river” private power projects.

Clean Energy Act is what needs renewing

By Marvin Shaffer, Vancouver Sun June 7, 2011

Government's cost-be-damned policies play significant role in forcing BC Hydro costs and rates higher

If it is not already a fundamental law of economics it should be: When government says we must pay whatever it takes, we inevitably pay too much. So it is with the B.C. government's energy policies.

Alberta's water not for sale: Renner

By Keith Gerein, Edmonton Journal With Files From Darcy Henton, Calgary Herald, May 12, 2011

Nestle chair's comments raise fears that H2O to become commodity

A controversy over water management has boiled up in Alberta over a media report in which the chairman of a major food company suggested the province is looking at the idea of allowing water to be traded and sold on an exchange like a commodity.

Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project puts Bute Inlet on the 2011 Endangered Rivers List

News Release, Outdoor Recreation Council, April 18, 2011

11. Bute Inlet rivers and streams

Bute Inlet’s major rivers and tributaries are among the most productive watersheds remaining in the world, with healthy and diverse anadromous fish populations and a wilderness environment that also supports an abundance of terrestrial wildlife. They are also highly vulnerable.

California renewable energy bill is signed

By John Holland and Adam Weintraub, The Associated Press, The Modesto Bee, April 12, 2011

Big hydro projects not included as renewable sources

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill affirming the state's goal of getting at least a third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts are well on their way toward the mandate, thanks mainly to wind turbines, but they failed in their bid to have large hydroelectric systems counted.

Governor Brown Signs Legislation to Boost Renewable Energy

News Release, CA Governor Brown, April 12, 2011

MILPITAS– Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. today signed SBX1 2, which requires one-third of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources. The legislation increases California’s current 20 percent renewables portfolio standard target in 2010 to a 33 percent renewables portfolio standard by December 31, 2020.

Run of River wouldn’t replace dam

By Robert Mangelsdorf, Maple Ridge News, April 12, 2011

The provincial government is looking at decommissioning the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam. (THE NEWS/files)

If B.C. Hydro decides to tear down the Ruskin Dam, the Upper Pitt run-of-river project won’t be relied upon to make up for that lost power generation.

IPP’s to cost BC Hydro almost $1 billion annually by 2014

By Jesse Ferreras, Whistler Pique, March 22, 2011

Increase to help BC Hydro pay for rising energy costs

BC Hydro's investment in green energy is expected to cost it almost $1 billion by 2014.

Plutonic's Bute project to get full scrutiny

Courier-Islander, March 23, 2011

Canada's Environment Minister, Peter Kent, confirmed Thursday that the stalled Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project will remain subject to Canada's highest level of environmental assessment.

Plutonic Power and General Electric, partners in the mega private "green" power development, have shelved immediate plans but continue to claim Bute Inlet is in their sights.

Tapped Out

Todd Butler on Canada's water sellout. Click to play

We walked w. Alex!