Today, Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister responsible for Core Review, directed BC Hydro to release its draft Integrated Resource Plan (the IRP) to the public and carry out another round of public consultation with the public, stakeholders and First Nation.
The draft IRP provides a 20-year outlook of how BC Hydro expects to reliably and cost-effectively meet the anticipated future electricity needs of the province through conservation and acquisition of sufficient generation and transmission resources. The Clean Energy Act (the Act), which was introduced in 2010, obligated BC Hydro to submit an IRP by December 2, 2011 or within 18 months of the Act coming into force. The BC government first extended the due date for the IRP in May 2011 to allow BC Hydro to incorporate findings from a government review.
BC Hydro released an initial draft of the IRP for public consultation in May 2012. The BC government subsequently announced on November 2, 2012 that it would delay the submission of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to Cabinet until August 3, 2013 – three months after the provincial election – due to uncertainty of electricity requirements for prospective liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in northern BC.
BC Hydro submitted the revised draft IRP to Minister Bennett on August 2, 2013. At the Minister’s direction today, BC Hydro has made the draft IRP available for review here. BC Hydro will carry out consultations from September 3 to October 18 and re-submit the plan to government by November 15.
The draft IRP includes a lengthy list of recommended actions. A few notable recommendations include:
- Focus on conservation initiatives and aim to save 7,800 gigawatt hours of energy per year by 2021 – equivalent to a 75% reduction in new electricity demand.
- Build the Site C hydroelectric project, as analyses of alternative portfolios demonstrate that Site C provides the best combination of financial, technical, environmental and economic development attributes and is the most cost-effective way to serve long-term capacity demands.
- Manage costs associated with its current portfolio of electricity purchase agreements (EPAs) and select the most cost-effective plan to meet customer needs by reviewing independent power projects not yet in commercial operation and renewing cost-effective EPAs.
- Although it has adequate energy to meet the initial electricity requirements of liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities (about 3,000 gigawatt hours per year) until fiscal 2021, BC Hydro should explore clean or renewable supply options and be prepared to advance a clean energy procurement process as required to meet LNG power needs that exceed existing and committed supply.
- Advance reinforcement of the existing 500 kV transmission line from Prince George to Terrace to support BC Hydro in its ability to serve energy needs from the emerging LNG industry in Northern BC.
More information about the IRP can be found on BC Hydro’s IRP website.