BC government confirms decision to phase out Burrard Thermal
The BC government reiterated its commitment to green power and energy self-sufficiency last week. In a special directive issued to the British Columbia Utilities Commission ("BCUC"), the government ordered BC Hydro to phase out the Burrard Thermal station and to accelerate its generation procurement plans to ensure the province is self-sufficient by 2016.
On October 28 Blair Lakstrom, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, confirmed that the government has ordered BC Hydro and the BCUC to stop considering Burrard Thermal in planning the provinces long term supply of firm energy. Effective immediately, Burrard Thermal is to be used only for up to 900 MW of emergency capacity.
The Vancouver Sun quotes Lekstrom as saying, "Burrard is antiquated technology in an airshed that is pretty difficult to manage. When we think about the air quality, running this just doesn't make sense."
The government also ordered BC Hydro to bring an additional 5,000 GWh of clean power online through internal projects and procurements from independent power producers. This accords with the original draft of the Long Term Acquisition Plan, which provided that 5,000 GWh should be procured through clean power calls. Additionally, the government has ordered BC Hydro to procure 1,000 GWh of biomass power (likely from the Phase 2 Bioenergy Call).
The government's directives directly contradict the controversial decision of the BCUC regarding BC Hydro's Long Term Acquisition Plan (discussed here).
As further evidence of the province's renewed commitment to green power, the government announced on November 2 that it will implement its Throne Speech promise to establish a Green Energy Advisory Task Force. The task force will include groups focused on:
After several months of uncertainty, it appears that the province is again on track to become an energy self-sufficient province powered by green energy. IPPs are no doubt looking forward to moving projects forward under BC Hydro's the existing and planned clean and bioenergy power calls.