Opinion: BC Hydro needs more flexibility in planning for the future



by Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun, June 10, 2011

When the B.C. Liberals enacted their Clean Energy Act a year ago, they touted it as a route to "green energy, renewable energy," and above all, "electricity selfsufficiency."

The latter goal, No. 1 on the list of energy objectives, obliged BC Hydro to establish self-sufficiency in electricity by middecade and to acquire a healthy surplus by 2020.

But nowhere in the 42-page Act did the Liberals specify how self-sufficiency was to be measured. Instead they beat around the bush, leaving the precise definition to be determined later, by cabinet order.

The Liberals introduced the legislation late in the session and after a few days of debate, they imposed closure, leaving no time (a mere three minutes) for the clause-byclause scrutiny that sometimes yields a better understanding of the meaning of specific provisions.

Thus, when the house adjourned in June of last year, electricity self-sufficiency was defined only in general terms as weaning the province off dependency on electricity imports and establishing a surplus that might provide a basis for exporting power in the future.