BC Hydro has been tossing around the idea of issuing a call for power focused on 'near commercial' technologies for a while now. Near commercial technolgies include both hydrogen fuel cell plants and tidal/wave power, two sectors which are poised to take off, but with the exception of a test project at Race Rocks, have not had an opportunity to enter into the commercial realm.
As recent as early February, a BC Hydro spokesperson admitted that a near commercial call was still a possability, but would ultimately depend on the BC Energy Plan. Well that plan was released today, and a the BC Government announced its intention to instruct BC Hydro to explore to new power calls.
The first call will focus on biomass facilities that utilize waste wood, and is poised to take advantage of the millions of Bone Dry Tonnes of wastewood that are burnt in beehive stacks in BC every year without producing any power and the estimated 1 billion Bone Dry Tonnes of wastewood that will result from the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation. Coincidentally, the BC government also stated that beehive burning is not an option on a go forward basis in their Throne Speech earlier this month.
The second call will be an open call for small (under 10MW) non-firm sources of energy. These sources include wind, ocean (tidal and wave), run-of-the-river hydro and solar. Prices are to be set at the same price as was offered in the most recent call for power.
To further help near commercial technologies, the soon to be formed "Innovative Clean Energy Fund" will be used partially to help market, showcase and develop 'near commercial' renewable technologies and commercial renewable technologies that have the potenital to be exported abroad. As for the wood matter call, a new Bioenergy Strategy will be implemented to help develop the bioenergy market. This initative should also benefit the development of bioenergy from other sources such as agricultural crop residue, organic municipal waste and animal manure.
As always, we will keep on top of these developments on this blog as more details on the Calls for power or any other 'enabling' legislation is released.