MLA Report: With the right leadership, we can build the energy future we want

There are few places in British Columbia that are more connected to power generation than Columbia River – Revelstoke.

There are few places in British Columbia that are more connected to power generation than Columbia River–Revelstoke. Home to considerable power projects like Revelstoke Dam, and part of the affected area of the Columbia River Basin, we understand this industry, and live daily with its benefits and consequences.

British Columbians have long benefitted from being owners of much of the power generated within this province, and through BC Hydro, a Crown Corporation that has traditionally provided significant dividends to the public purse, we have received access to consistent, low cost power.

Unfortunately, over the last 14 years under the BC Liberals, British Columbians have watched the cost of hydro skyrocket as government forced our Crown Corporation to make decisions that were not in the best interest of either BC Hydro or BC ratepayers.

It is time for British Columbians to make a new choice; a choice for better management of this precious resource, and better energy policy that protects rate payers, manages for sustainability, protects farmland, and moves us toward a green energy future.

Put forward by the BC NDP, PowerBC is a better plan for a brighter future for British Columbia. I believe that BC’s energy policy must be bold and progressive. We can protect BC Hydro customers from rising rates, produce good-paying jobs close to home, respect First Nations land title, and launch careers in clean energy and retrofit construction, maintenance, manufacturing and high-tech engineering.

PowerBC is about retrofitting public buildings, homes and businesses for energy efficiency, resulting in reduced energy costs and community-based jobs.

PowerBC is about maximizing current capacity in existing dams such as the Revelstoke Dam. Forward-thinking engineering built this structure for future capacity. We can still add one more turbine in Revelstoke Dam which would generate 500 megawatts of new capacity and create 390 person-years of skilled trades employment.

PowerBC is about making significant investments in clean energy. British Columbia is particularly well suited to produce renewable energy and could be an exporter of not only renewable energy, but of renewable energy technology.

Columbia River–Revelstoke has already embraced a diversity of energy production options that range from the SunMine in Kimberley to the bioenergy facility in Skookumchuk. Across British Columbia, there are tremendous opportunities for geothermal, wind, tidal and solar generation.

With the right leadership, we can build the energy future we want. If you want to learn more about PowerBC, go to bcndpcaucus.ca/powerbc.

Norm Macdonald is the MLA for Columbia River–Revelstoke. He can be reached at 1-866-870-4188 and norm.macdonald.mla@leg.bc.ca.

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