True Cost of Site C


Site C is going to cost you money – a lot of money.

BC Hydro currently estimates that Site C Dam will cost $8.8 billion and “projects losing $800 million in the first 4 years of operation.” (Report of the Joint Review Panel, Site C Clean Energy Project, BC Hydro, May 1, 2014)

BC Hydro has already confirmed rate increases between 2014-2018 of 28%. It is anticipated that cumulatively, rate increases over the next 10 years will be about 45% without Site C. If Site C is approved, BC Hydro intends to increase rates even further to recover the costs of Site C.

Site C: BC’s next White Elephant? The energy from Site C is not needed.

After 28 days of hearings and review of 28,000 pages of documentation, the Joint Review Panel concluded that BC Hydro has failed to prove that we need Site C. Further, they emphasized that because there are significant adverse effects, justification for the project must rest on an unambiguous need for the power.

BC Municipal Associations request a thorough, independent review of Site C

In September 2015, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed two resolutions; the first calling for the province to rescind the Order in Council that excluded Site C dam reservoir lands from the Agricultural Land Reserve; and, second, to have the project thoroughly reviewed by the BC Utilities Commission.

Both resolutions were put forward in reaction to the BC Liberal government’s decision to bypass these independent provincial agencies, whose purpose is to ensure that actions such as these are undertaken in the best interests of British Columbians.

More on the UBCM resolutions here.


Alternative sources of power would be more cost effective.

Internationally recognized expert, Robert McCulough states that Site C more than three times more expensive than the best alternative. McCullough stated that the prices BC Hydro used to compare alternatives to Site C were out of date; they have come down significantly since Hydro’s comparison was done.  McCullough was hired by the Peace Valley Landowner Association to prepare a report on a comparison of alternatives to Site C in March 2015.  Read his report here.

The Joint Review Panel also urged BC Hydro to consider using the tremendous geothermal potential in BC as an alternative to Site C. BC Hydro has confirmed that over 700Mw of geothermal power exists in the province, about two-thirds of the 1,100Mw capacity of Site C.

BC businesses are very concerned about how Site C will affect their bottom line.

The Association of Major Power Customers of BC has stated that Site C is not the right project now; citing additional concerns regarding recent rate increases and the accuracy of BC Hydro’s energy forecasts.

“The huge cost [of Site C] will rob the province of valuable resources that could be used to deliver other needed government services as well as burden the BC economy with debt and high electric power rates that will sap our competitiveness.”
– Dan Potts, former executive director of the Association of Major Power customers of BC

The BC Chamber of Commerce states that with regard to Site C, “… the payoff for the province and its taxpaying citizens won’t justify the huge investment required.” (Business Vancouver, editorial, June 3-9, 2014)

In December, 2014, after the BC government announced that they intend to proceed with Site C, Business Vancouver published an editorial citing their concern that the provincial government has left a multi-billion dollar white elephant under the tree for British Columbians.