On October 21, 2015, the government of British Columbia announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (the “MOU”) with BC Hydro and the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia (“CEBC”). A copy of the MOU is available here. CEBC has served as the main industry representative for BC’s independent power producers for the past 25 years.

The MOU is intended to provide a framework to facilitate collaboration between the three parties to promote the goals of fostering a robust independent clean energy sector in BC, promoting partnerships with First Nations and local communities, and ensuring the delivery of reliable, affordable and clean electricity to ratepayers.

Some of the key terms of the MOU include the following:

  • the CEO and other key executives from BC Hydro and the Minister, Deputy Minister and applicable Assistant Deputy Minister of the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines will meet with the board of directors of CEBC once a year, and delegates from the boards of directors of CEBC and BC Hydro will hold annual meetings to promote greater collaboration between the two organizations;
  • recognition of the importance of BC’s independent power sector, and agreement to promote the benefits of this sector to ratepayers and taxpayers;
  • recognition of the importance of providing First Nations with economic opportunities and helping them realize on such opportunities, and agreement to collaborate with First Nations as long-term partners in the development of clean energy resources;
  • an agreement by the parties to engage collaboratively on a number of issues including:
    • BC Hydro’s review of its Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) and electricity purchase agreement (“EPA”) renewal policy, including with respect to load growth scenarios, supply forecasts, demand side management (“DSM”) and emerging technologies in renewable energy;
    • the establishment of a process for continuously evaluating and improving BC Hydro’s procurement process, including its Standing Offer Program (which we have previously discussed here and here), and reviewing successful procurement policies in other jurisdictions;
    • improvements to existing extension and interconnection policies, including a greater role for independent power producers, in the interest of expanding the province’s power grid;
    • electrification of certain key sectors of the economy as a means of helping to achieve BC’s greenhouse gas reduction and climate change goals; and
    • the advancement of clean energy projects to replace diesel generation in remote First Nations communities.

The MOU is effective until December 31, 2017. Each of the parties to the MOU will appoint two delegates to a steering committee, which will meet at least once each quarter to discuss, prioritize and advance the activities set out in the MOU.