Paterson’s Perspective by Duck Paterson.

Paterson’s Perspective by Duck Paterson.

OPINION: Let’s get Site C Dam built

Duck Paterson writes in favour of the Site C Dam project

Congratulations to the provincial government for their decision to complete the Site C dam. It makes total sense to continue not only considering the money already spent as well as commitments made.

I realize that this is probably not the most popular decision the province has made but considering what we have just gone through, and are still going through this past year, throwing billions of dollars down the toilet would make the world economists shiver in their boots or die laughing. Our province is hugely in debt right now and it will take years and years to get out of it. So if we don’t need the power right now, we can sell it and help pay down some of the debt.

There are still concerns and issues with Site C. A must, at the top of that list, is coming to agreement and acceptable conclusion with the Treaty 8 First Nations whose traditional territory includes Site C. I hope that as work continues a direct rapport between the province and the First Nation leaders can make things work. There is potential for employment for First Nation members as well as economic benefits for their communities and the whole province.

On an environmental note, researchers at the University of Victoria say “that if B.C. were to shift to electric power for all road vehicles by 2055, the province would require more than double the electricity now being generated.”

According to Hydro Review “At US$0.05/kWh, hydroelectricity remains the lowest-cost source of electricity worldwide, according to a recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, entitled Renewable Power Generation Costs.” With an average life span of 50 to 100 years, large hydro projects are long-term investments that can be upgraded to take advantage of the latest technologies. Whereas wind turbines last 20 to 25 years best and require increased maintenance as the years go on.

There is a push towards wind farms but there are draw backs to those as well. Wind energy is not considered to be reliable. It is a fluctuating source of energy. Electricity from wind energy must be stored with batteries. Wind turbines are a potential threat to wildlife such as birds and bats. Deforestation to set up a wind farm creates an environmental impact. Noise is a complaint with many wind farms that are close to communities. Wind farms are unsightly and a visual blight to the landscape. With that many huge blades going around, when the wind blows, what will be the impact of that?

The Site C reservoir will be comparatively smaller than BC Hydro’s other major hydroelectric projects. It will rely on the existing Williston Reservoir for water storage. As the third project on the Peace River, Site C will re-use the same water flowing downstream from the two upstream facilities and simply pass it along. This will enable Site C to generate approximately 35 per cent of the energy produced at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, with only five per cent of the reservoir area.

Our society will always be needing electricity so the more we generate and the quicker we get to there will help us get off some of the need for fossil fuels.

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