As noted in our earlier blog post, BC Hydro recently released its revised draft Integrated Resource Plan (“IRP”) for public comment.

In reviewing the revised IRP, we noted that BC Hydro had updated its forecasts regarding provincial energy demand over the coming years.

Shown below is a comparison chart of the annual energy and peak demand forecasts from the August 2013 IRP as compared to the May 2012 IRP.  Note that the comparison periods do not match precisely because the May 2012 IRP referenced five-year milestones starting in F2016 and ending on F2032, whereas the August 2013 IRP references five-year milestones starting in F2017 and ending on F2033 (e.g. one year later at each five-year milestone).  The change in reference periods arises as the revised IRP is being submitted one year later and because it is now based on BC Hydro’s December 2012 Load Forecast rather than the December 2011 Load Forecast that formed the basis for the May 2012 IRP.

Notwithstanding these differing forecast periods (and ignoring the forecasted impact of proposed liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) projects), the August 2013 IRP predicts that BC Hydro’s annual energy and peak capacity demands will be significantly lower than predicted in the May 2012 IRP.  These predicted decreases in energy and capacity demand become even greater when revisions to estimated LNG-related demand described in the August 2013 IRP are taken into account.

While total annual energy demand and total peak capacity demand are both forecasted to be lower, the general trend of growth in energy demand and in peak capacity requirement has remained roughly the same between the May 2012 IRP and the August 2013 IRP.  This reflects the fact that while the 2008 recession and ensuing economic downturn have depressed energy and peak capacity demand, BC Hydro expects both annual energy demand and the peak capacity demand to resume growth generally consistent with the manner forecasted earlier, albeit at lower levels at each milestone year due to their lower starting points in the current year.

Table of August 2013 IRP and May 2012 IRP Comparison of Energy and Peak Demand Forecasts

Click here to view table.