It would appear that a deal between BC Hydro and Alcan is back on.
This deal, which was originally rejected by the BCTC last year because it provided power that was more expensive than power generated by thermal stations, has been modified to provide for power through to 2034 and a lower price per kilowatt. In addition, the compliance cost of thermal plants with the B.C. Energy Plan's zero net greenhouse gas policy has likely increased the cost of thermal to make other sources cheaper. The big question is, is large hydro really greenhouse gas neutral? Many of the dams in B.C. were created without first clearing the valley's of biomass, leading to methane off-gassing from the rotting biomass in the reservoirs. Regardless of whether or not the hydro is greenhouse gas neutral, the energy policy does not state that hydro projects will have to purchase offsets. This deal would potentially bring another 2000 GWh/yr on to the grid in B.C., enough to power 200,000 homes.