To the Editor:
This letter is in response to your sister paper the Pipeline News and relates to the article on Natural gas verses Site C:
Every day we see ads on TV praising the benefits of BC’s natural gas – the wonder fuel – clean, plentiful, dependable, use to heat our homes, fuel our industries, and adding billions of dollars of revenue to the BC economy.
Our government is prepared to pump natural gas to the coast, liquefy it and ship to Asian markets, where it will benefit Asian economies. Yet, it cannot be used to generate electricity here in BC because the BC Liberals “Clean Energy Act” limits new gas fired power plants to just 15 megawatts. On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to burn our gas in Asia to generate electricity, but not in this province, even though Minister Coleman keeps talking about diversifying the uses of natural gas.
What is the Liberal’s “alternative” to gas fired power plants? Site C of course even though it is only 52% efficient (in comparison to 92% for the Shepard Centre) unaffordably expensive and extremely dirty during the 7-10 year construction phase. There will be literally millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases being released into our atmosphere during that period.
The big question is, can Hydro actually afford to build Site C being already $20 billion in debt. Add to this $180 million plus spent on preparatory work and on the pro Site C spin and propaganda campaign, so fondly called “consultation”. Furthermore, there will be huge amounts of interest to be paid on the costs of Site C along, before the first Kilowatt of power is actually produced. In addition, the existence of 27 deferred accounts, is a clear indication of difficulties in meeting its financial obligations. This is a frightening scenario, which could well lead into bankruptcy. Should that happen, it would mean that BC taxpayers would come to the rescue, or our politicians in their infinite wisdom would break up BC Hydro in order to meet their debt obligations.
It is disturbing to read the absurd responses coming from Coleman’s ministry in the Pipeline News story.
As reported and documented by James Waterman, the following reasons were given by a Ministry of Energy spokesperson “against” a natural gas powered system:
Natural gas power generation might not be logistically practical in BC. Surely, if Site C is “practical”, a gas powered system should be at least the equivalent or much greater.
Generally speaking, it is preferable to build a power system close to transmission, pipelines and a demand centre. All the electricity that will be generated by Site C has been earmarked to be used to get natural gas to China, via LNG. If Site C is in the “right location” a gas powered system will also be in the right location. In fact, it could be built in the BEST location possible.
It is preferable to build a natural gas fired power plant at sea level for the sake of combustion efficiency. Calgary(where the Shepard Centre is built) is located at a higher elevation than Fort St John. If Calgary can operate a plant 92% efficiency, so can we here in BC.
Land zoning and site access are also issues, as well as the ability to obtain and discharge water used for cooling the facility. Water may be more of a pressing issue in Calgary than it is here, as the gas industry already withdraws thousands of cubic metres of water from the Williston Reservoir daily, and if the Shepard facility can recycle its coolants, so can BC.
It is self-evident that the Ministry “reasons’ given above are utterly lacking in logic, indicating a high degree of incompetence.