Audio: Damien Gillis on CHLY’s ‘Sense of Justice’


Listen to this feature chat on Nanaimo-based CHLY’s Sense of Justice show with host Rae Kornberger. The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis discusses private river power, oil tankers, and making the environment a key issue in this pivotal year for BC politics.

Click here to listen – choose the “2011/01/12 a discussion of IPP’s” in the top left corner of the audio player. It my take a few seconds to load.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

9 thoughts on “Audio: Damien Gillis on CHLY’s ‘Sense of Justice’

  1. Sustainable,a few points before we close off this discussion 1. To be clear, let me say “800 diversions applied for,” as opposed to “800 applications for diversions”; 2. You repeat the official script, which is all about dumping on Hydro’s “mismanagement” of the resource – I encourage you to read the work of our contributing economist, Erik Andersen, on this subject: and his excellent television interview: ; 3. Re: Alcan, The BCUC’s finding (as I put it in my radio interview) was that the proposed private power ales agreement “that need has not been established, the price is unreasonably high, and LTEPA+ is not a sound commercial arrangement”. That1400% profit number is in a supporting document listed as evidence in the Commission’s final report, as opposed to in the report itself. ; 4. I’m simply not buying your downplaying of the number of applications. I am concerned by every potential project inasmuch as each one represents and environmental and economic threat to this province.

  2. Damien – have you seen the BC Hydro 2010 annual report? It says that dividend payments to the province was only $ 47 million.

    Now the replacement cost of all the dams and switchyards and transmission lines for BC Hydro is about $ 90 billion. Therefore, the profitability of BC Hydro is only:

    47 / 90,000 = 0.05% !!!

    A properly managed corporation would have profitibility of about 9.00% – and BC Hydro is 0.05%.

    A properly managed competitive corporation would be transferring 9% * 90 B = $ 8,100 million a year to the province – not just $ 47 million ! The difference goes to line some pockets.

    What do you have to say in defense of wasteful inefficient uncompetitive BC Hydro?

    Also note that BC Hydro pays only $14 a MWh in taxes, water license fees, dividends, to government. BC Hydro pays NO local taxes – no property taxes, no HST, nothing.

    run of river IPPs pay more than $50 a MWh in taxes and water license fees, plus HST and property taxes to government.

    Who do you think pays for our education and healthcare costs? Competitive and efficient IPPs or dead-weight bloated unionized monopolistic BC Hydro?

  3. Damien Says: “800 applications. I said applications. 650 rivers, over 800 individual diversion points. Yes it is a BIG DEAL.”

    You are wrong. An application is for a SINGLE stream. It may have mutiple points of diversion but it is a single project and single application. Of the 650 applications (not 800 applications), only 5% will ever get built. That is about 33 projects. 33 projects out of 290,000 streams in BC is NOT a big deal. You seem to lack a sense of proportion. That is about 1% of 1% !

    Not sure why you censored this post. I changed it to proportion. What was so libellous about this post?

    Also note that two-third (2/3) of EPAs are cancelled because the IPP cannot perform to the price offered in the BC Hydro ultra-competitive process where there is only one buyer, and hence all sellers cut their margins to zero.

  4. Wrong again Damien – you deleted three of my comments and not two. I will repost them after I remove any objectionable parts.

    Your comparison between the Upper Pitt project and Klinaklini is so disingenious and unknowledgable.

    Klinaklini itself (namely the dam and reservoir) falls WITHIN park boudaries. There is no other configuration that will work. So Klinaklini is finished – dead – kaput.

    On the other hand Upper Pitt did not itself fall within boundaries, but the transmission did. There are many ways to re-route transmission lines – it is not like the intake or powerhouse or penstock that must be tied to the stream.

    Furthermore, Upper Pitt is dead – not because of the transmission line, but because five or more of the eight streams have salmon. DFO will NEVER agree to that.

    Keep on playing your pathetic Don Quixote role battling dead projects.

    And there is NOT “billions involved”. The profit margins are non-existent in this industry when 70 proposals are made to BC Hydro and only 13 proposals are accepted. BC Hydro makes sure that the price paid for the power is absolutely the minimum possible – that is the result of a competitive process with one buyer.

  5. Sustainable, two of your comments have been removed for reasons of libel – which we do not tolerate here. Watch your language and allegations if you wish to continue posting here. Re: you comments about the Klinaklini project, you may be perfectly satisfied that it is dead, but I, not being the ignoramus that you suggest, am not. Run of River Power repeatedly claimed that if they didn’t receive the park boundary adjustment they required to build their 8-river Upper Pitt project (requiring the bisecting of Class A Pinecone-Burke Park), that the project wouldn’t be feasible. The day after it was rejected by then Environment Minister Barry Penner, they were already changing their story. I’ve learned enough over the years observing this racket that as long as there’s billions involved, there’s no such thing as “dead”.

  6. Damien says: “The longest diversion proposal is for 17 km for the Klinaklini project. I was quite clear that diversion lengths RANGE from several kilometers to over 10.”

    Hey ignoramus – the Klinaklini project is dead! The province put a park around klinaklini and there is no water license there! What a laughing stock propagandist. At least you could educate yourself to the facts.

    Show me an existing or planned run-of-river project that is “over 10 km”. Water license applications not accepted (besides there are none). As usual you have no source.

    Aren’t you ashamed of yourself that each and every of your assertions is wrong?

  7. Damien – this is the link to the 2007 BCUC decision on Alcan.

    This document does not state that BCUC asserts Alcan’s profit margins are 1400%. Are you sure it is not one of the nonsense that Shaffer says? Why is it that you are avoiding to give a proper source for your claim?

    Can readers assume that you are lying about Alcan, if you continue to refuse to produce your source?

  8. 800 applications. I said applications. 650 rivers, over 800 individual diversion points. Yes it is a BIG DEAL. A very big deal. $50 Billion in liabilities is also a BIG DEAL.

    BC Hydro has consistently delivered in significant dividends to the province – prior to this program, int he region of $700 million/year – as much as a billion one year.

    The longest diversion proposal is for 17 km for the Klinaklini project. I was quite clear that diversion lengths RANGE from several kilometers to over 10.

    You misquote and misrepresent me at every turn.

    The 1400% number is in the original BCUC decision on the Alcan private power sales proposal – circa 2007 (the application was scuttled as it was revealed that Gordon Campbell himself had shares in Alcan!). Of course, they were forced to review the application again in 2008, after which they approved it, under considerable duress from this government – and contrary to the wishes of the town of Kitimat, who opposed the approval in court.

    Do you work in the private power racket?

  9. Some more lies that Damien keeps on repeating, despite corrections to these lies.

    There is NO 800 projects in BC. There are about 650 STAKES (costs only 8,000 dollars to sake, but 100,000,000 dollars to build !!!) which stake means reservations for people to evaluate the possibility of a project. Of these, only one in ten gets their water license and one in twenty gets built. So these 800 STAKES on 290,000 streams in BC may translate into 40 projects. No big deal.

    Another lie is that BC Hydro pays profits to the province (no it does not – BC Hydro is loss making). IPPs pay a lot more taxes than BC Hydro. In fact IPPs paid SIX times more taxes and water license rental fee (per MWh) to the government than BC Hydro did when it was profitable.

    Another lie is that IPP projects are 10 km to 15 km of diversion. The average diversion is about 3 km and which is only 5 to 10% of the length of the creek. Big deal.

    Damien, you were unable to provide link to Alcan making 1400% profit. The BCUC document never said such thing and you never provided your source. You made it up.

    Can I assume that you have no sources for the above and that you are a habitual liar?

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