The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has again called on the British Columbia government to consider all renewable energy options as it determines whether or not to proceed with a 1.1 GW hydropower project.
‘Wind energy now represents the bulk of BC's lowest-cost, emission-free renewable energy generation opportunities,’ says Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. ‘BC has an abundance of world-class wind sites that can be developed flexibly on a scale that matches changing economic conditions and electricity demand, addresses environmental concerns, and reduces the potential financial risks of new electricity generation to BC ratepayers and taxpayers."
The British Columbia government has given conditional environmental approval to BC Hydro's proposed Site C hydropower project on the Peace River. However, CanWEA says the provincial government must still decide whether Site C is the best investment decision for generating new, large-scale electricity generation.
Hornung says that that wind energy developments already enjoy the strong support of First Nations and British Columbians: "Wind is producing enough electricity to power every household in northern BC and continues to help spread economic benefits to many more BC communities – creating permanent revenue streams and sustainable jobs in local communities – and for First Nations interested in participating in the development and ownership of clean energy projects, that will bring new revenues to their communities."
He adds that despite these numerous advantages, wind energy development in BC faces an uncertain future.
"Investment markets are competitive, and the absence of a clear signal from the BC government to seek more wind energy in its electricity system means that wind energy investors will soon shift resources to more promising markets – representing a significant lost opportunity for British Columbia," he says. "Leadership in clean energy in BC means all electricity supply options – including wind – are considered and assessed to ensure that next-generation power assets offer the greatest benefit at the lowest economic and environmental cost to all British Columbians."