Will Clean Energy Projects in BC be a thing of the past? First Nations Must Respond to BC Hydro's IRP or They May Be.

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation Canoe Creek Project has been a source of jobs and revenue for them.

BACKGROUND:

1. BC Hydro must produce an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that determines how BC Hydro will meet the electricity needs of BC. The plan must be submitted to Minister of Energy every 5 years.

2. BC Hydro has produced the IRP and it is open for comments until October 18th, 2013. Government directed BC Hydro to undertake consultation and this will include First Nations.

4. IRP can be found at www.bchydro.com/energy-in-bc/meeting_demand_growth/irp/document_centre/r.... I recommend reading Recommendation 4 found at pp. 8-23 to 8-26

5. Clean Energy BC is hosting an information session with First Nations on Sept. 23rd at 1 p.m. at their offices at 354 – 409 Granville St. Vancouver, BC to brief First Nations on IRP and discuss strategies to respond to IRP. (I am on the board of Clean Energy BC and am the Chair of the First Nations committee)

KEY ISSUES:

1. The draft IRP affords very little or no opportunity for First Nations despite objectives in Clean Energy Act and the use of First Nation Clean Energy fund. In fact there are to be cutbacks on opportunities.

2. Draft IRP supports Site C, ambitious Demand-Side Management and upgrading existing facilities like Revelstoke and Mica. The IRP also has BC Hydro spending considerable funds to repair some of its facilities (John Hart, Ruskin, etc). LNG is considered, but with the assumption that the majority of the power needs will come from gas-driven compression for creating LNG.

IRP SPECIFIC RECOMMENDED ACTIONS AS IT AFFECTS FIRST NATIONS CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

A. BC Hydro will be negotiating with IPP's to DEFER, DOWNSIZE or TERMINATE Electricity Purchase Agreements (EPA's) for projects in development (not yet constructed)

B. BC Hydro may not renew an EPA of existing/operating projects that are coming to an end. Of those older EPA's, BC Hydro now ASSUMES that 50% of bio energy and 75% of run of the river will be renewed but each will be assess individually.

C. Standing offer Program (SOP) has had CHANGES but still exists. New rules-no cluster projects that exceed 15 MW, delay COD's for up to 2 years(can your project sustain a 2 year delay to go on line? How would this affect you financially? How do financial institutions feel about lending to a project that can have operational delays for up to 2 years?) The SOP stays at a reduced level

D. Despite the points in A-C, BC Hydro say they are continuing to negotiate in good faith with First Nations where there are commitments in place to negotiate EPA's. Otherwise, there is no commitment.

CONCLUSION:

If your First Nation is in process of planning, or developing a Clean Energy project, the IRP will affect you! Take advantage of the consultation period and meet with BC government officials, Ministers of Energy, Environment and Aboriginal Relations and put it in writing to them. Come to the meeting at Clean Energy BC so First Nations can collectively strategize on how to create opportunites in the Clean Energy Sector as has been promised by the government of BC. The IRP will significantly affect the economic opportunities in the energy sector and First Nations must respond. There are other issues in IRP of course but wanted to draw attention to this main issue.

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