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Cummins Con candidate comes to colossally incorrect clean energy conclusions

May 30, 2012

In recent weeks, the boys in the BCCGE mailroom have been diligently scouring the internet and newspapers looking for signs of the next outbreak of “public versus private” propaganda dressed up as environmental issues.

But the boys weren’t quite ready for what they encountered on Monday; namely, a highly misinformed opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun by Cummins Cons candidate Rick Peterson.

For those not fully up to speed on B.C. politics, it’s not completely true that all Cummins Cons are political extremists who believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs and humans once walked the Earth together. Only some of them appear to believe these things.

But we digress…

Rick Peterson’s opinion piece in the Sun starts off well enough: He states that the BC Liberal government “is pitching Asian investors and buyers on an ambitious plan for a string of proposed LNG plants on the province’s north coast,” with the first three plants to be up and running by 2020.

Everyone knows this is true and LNG is proving to be a great opportunity for B.C. to develop more of its untapped renewable energy resources.

Peterson then asks how the province plans to come up with “the huge amounts of electricity required to compress, cool, and liquefy the gas for these new LNG plants.”

That’s certainly a fair question and it’s one that we here at BCCGE asked when we first heard about the province’s LNG plans.

However, Mr. Peterson goes off the rails rather quickly after noting that “BC Hydro simply doesn’t have the capacity to provide even close to the amount of power required for these [LNG] projects.”

Yes, it’s true that BC Hydro does not currently — in the sense of “right now at this precise moment in time” — have the capacity with its existing energy generating and transmission infrastructure to provide the massive amount of electricity that will be needed to power the planned LNG plants .

But that won’t be the case by the time the LNG plants are actually up and running a few years from now.

And therein lies the deep flaw in Peterson’s whole argument.

As everyone knows, the Site C dam is actively being pursued by BC Hydro and it’s going to add a significant amount of new clean generating capacity to the province — and the energy will all be firm energy.

Moreover, there is already talk of another major BC Hydro Clean Power Call (CPC) as early as this fall — a power call directly resulting from the increased energy BC Hydro will need to power the planned LNG projects along with various other new industrial developments in B.C.’s north, notably new mines.

To say the least, Mr. Peterson seems to have a very poor understanding of B.C. energy issues and he’s completely wrong in claiming that BC Hydro and province have no plan for powering the planned LNG plants or for meeting the province’s other clean energy needs.

Mr. Peterson would have done well to do a bit of research before embarking on such a grossly misinformed opinion piece.

We could go on critiquing Peterson’s off-base oped, but suffice it to say that his opinion piece basically degenerates into a rant about the province’s carbon tax and suggestions of a BC Hydro conspiracy plan to import coal-fired electricity from Alberta and Washington State to power the planned LNG plants.

(News Flash for Mr. Peterson: BC Hydro has been importing coal-fired electricity for decades — some of it through routine energy trading and some of it, unacceptably, to meet B.C.’s own domestic electricity needs.  That’s partially why BC Hydro turned to the private sector and independent green energy producers decades ago to help expand B.C.’s domestic clean energy supply and get B.C. off a growing dependence on imported coal-fired electricity.)

So, contrary to what Mr. Peterson seems to believe, there is a clear plan for powering B.C.’s nascent LNG industry and that plan is very clearly built around B.C.’s unparalleled renewable energy resources not imported coal-fired electricity. In fact, B.C.’s unparalleled renewable energy resources are a big part of what makes B.C. so highly attractive to Asian markets as a supplier of LNG.

And just for the record: Humans and dinosaurs never walked the Earth together. That only happens on the Flintstones.

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