Rafe Confronts Dix on LNG, Fracking, Enbridge


Rafe Mair pulls no punches in this, the second of a two-part interview with BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix – grilling the potential future premier of BC on Liquid Natural Gas, fracking, the proposed Enbridge pipeline and salmon farms. Will the NDP stand up to Harper over Enbridge and open net pen aquaculture? Why do they favour LNG – and how do they reconcile their support for it with the controversial fracking process that would supply it with much of its gas? Watch and find out!


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.

21 thoughts on “Rafe Confronts Dix on LNG, Fracking, Enbridge

  1. Why can’t I get the same rate as run of river producers when I put solar panels on my house. Why do they get generous contracts and individuals who want to feed into the grid off of their homes get back less than they are charged. If run of the river projects are so good they should economical at current rates. Signing contracts based on possible future rate increases does not make sense, as new technologies are making power generation cheaper. Run of the river projects are being paid for by BCers and we should own them once they are paid off. Let the companies keep the profit from design and construction but if we are going to pay for them we should own them.

  2. I am sure my lying eyes told me that ROR is only profitable during spring freshets…and that we buy that power at inflated prices (cost of building the turbines) but that we continue to pay the high prices all year long which of course means we (BCH) actually lose $$’s.
    I think we should be investing in geo-thermal but that would cut out the private company’s.


  3. My goodness David you string a line of lies. For your information I attended a puhlic presentation by David Ince. Manager of Market Forecasting and Warren Bell, Manafer, Strategic Planning, both from BC Hydro. In front of 35 witnesses they stated that the incrmental cost of new generation in BC is about $130 per MWhr. They also agreed that the industrial rate for large customers was about $35. It takes only a fool not to understand that if you build generation for new industrial customers the rest of us will be subsidizuing these new customers by about $90 per Mwhr. I asked Warren what BC Hydro would be charging these new industrial customers and he would not answer. If you think the likes of the Northern Gateway folks plan to pay $130 I have some moose pasture to sell you at a great price.
    David made it clear that the first two groups of customers, residential and business, had demands driven by the economy and population. Pure vanila forecasting. Not so for industrial customers. David qualifies the heck out of this part of the new forecast because he knows it highly speculative, not a risk for Hydro shareholders.

  4. Motorcycle guy – in the past 11 years, BC Hydro had to import power 9 of the years, and one year it was neutral. Only one of the past 11 years have BC Hydro been in positive territory. Obviously BC Hydro is very short on power to service the province and now with the industrial demanding phenomenal quantities of power, BC Hydro will have a larger deficit.

    Billions of dollars of ratepayer/taxpayer money has gone south to pay for dirty American coal and gas fired plants belching GHGs. If you don’t care about global warming, well I do.

    At least you should care for all the jobs exported south. But I doubt that you care either. All you care for is state ownership of our oil, gas, copper, logs, and electricity, even though you are paying twice as much for BC Hydro new power compared to private power.

  5. @Motorcycleguy – Not really. If there is excess hydro capacity in the province, we do not have to import dirty American coal fired power.

    You are wrong about “lower domestic consumption”. Page 33 of the 2011 annual report of BC Hydro says domestic consumption increased from 50,233 to 50,607 GWh, and domestic revenue increased from $3,289 to $3,438.

    And wrong again on imports. BC Hydro may import more power than needed in a year so that it does not run down its reservoirs, which makes sense. But if BC Hydro does that every year, the reservoirs are going to get full quickly and the water will spill, wasting taxpayer money!! You cannot be a net importer for 8 years and then claim we had enough reserved energy for all 8 years. Mathematically that is impossible without spilling.

    Yes, industrial users will lead growth in power demand, and BC Hydro needs to supply that. That is why it needs private power producers because it is twice as expensive for BC Hydro to generate its own new power.

  6. Hugh – don’t count too much on Waneta dam — it is a 50 year old structure that needs to be rebuilt in many places. $841 million paid for something that is close to the end of its life.

    “Installing new turbines” — LOL, you see that is the problem with people who opinionate on energy, economic and business matters but have their degrees in English or Arts/Video — Adding a turbine does not increase the energy produced by a dam — just increases the power. And we know that BC Hydro dam’s are rarely if ever full.

    BC Hydro buys about 1/4 of its power from Alberta which is almost 100% dirty power. Mid-C can be dirty up to 65%, depending on the time of the season.

    And finally you say spot price is $19 there. Well, that is spot price. Now try getting a 40 year contract like what BC Hydro has with IPPs, from the spot market. Good luck, you won’t find one, and if you do it will be very expensive. And then lets say you found a 40 year contract and you demand that it be firm with liquidated damages — good luck, and the price will be even higher! And then ask for it to be 100% clean, and more good luck, and the price now just went up, and then ask for 100% green – GOOD LUCK!

  7. and one more thing…

    BC Hydro Electric Load Forecast 2010/11 ”sales to the oil and gas sector is expected grow to be about 20 percent of total industrial sector load over the next 10 years.”

    Proof industrial users are the driving force for increased production.

  8. From the 2011 report “ generation levels for year ended March 31, 2011 were 6 per cent lower than in the prior year, due to lower water inflows “ Do IPP’s that drain alpine lakes have some method of creating more water in a low water year? It is inherent that if dependent on hydroelectricity we will have to rely on other sources at some points in time. If the water is frozen for BCHydro it is frozen for a lake draining IPP.

    From the 2011 report “transfers to energy deferral accounts reflect higher than planned domestic cost of energy…as increased market energy purchases were required due to low water inflows, lower domestic revenues due to lower consumption” BC Hydro is says consumption is lower domestically, so who is using the power?

    From the 2001 annual report “fiscal 2001 the most successful financial year in the history of BC Hydro. In fact, we actually ended up as a net importer for the year, as staff conserved our stored water by purchasing as much electricity as possible in anticipation of the potential low water year to come.” BC Hydro imports to make money, not because they have to.

  9. David, I was informed that BC Hydro’s capacity will be back to its normal range. Add to that the Waneta power, and the fact that BC Hydro is installing new turbines, there doesn’t seem to be much need for the $hundreds of millions worth of power from IPPs.

    Also, much of the power imported from the US is clean hydro and wind power. Mid-C price is $19/MWh right now.

  10. Martin, BC Hydro is not selling power to California. BC Hydro is actually importing huge amounts of power because it is very short on power, and can’t build new dams because they are hugely expensive and environmentally a disaster.

    Take a look at BC Hydro’s 2011 annual report. Power consumption in BC was 50,607 GWh. But BC Hydro could only supply 39,675 GWh — that is a deficit of 11,000 GWh — costing 550,000,000 dollars of capital to import that power in the form of dirty coal fired pollution generating, GHG spewing American coal power. That money should stay in BC and create jobs here, and not sent south to create more coal jobs and contribute to global warming.

    Not sure where you get the mythology that BC Hydro is a net power exporter? Can you explain please?

  11. Adrian Dix was trying to suck and blow at the same time in 2nd video. The public needs to make it very clear to Dix what they want.

  12. British Columbia should get back Hydro from California and then we dont need any other source of power. Businesses will flock back here as the price for other fuel goes up. Electricity has and is B C’s ace in the hole. Stop screwing around with this crap and but bc ers to work producing clean energy.

  13. He didn’t need to say “from heritage assets”, David – it’s implied! You’re the one distorting things here. BC Hydro can and does make its power for in the region of 1/10 what private power hucksters like yourself bilk it for. Period. Knock it off with Site C; we don’t need it – it’s entirely going as corporate welfare power to Shell’s proposed LNG plant in Kitimat, according to Premier Clark herself. Take your private power boosterism and spurious comments elsewhere. You’ll get no sympathy here.

  14. Damien, please stop the distortion and weaseling.

    On the Dix video, part 1, Rafe did not say “heritage assets” anywhere. He said that BC Hydro can make the same power from 1/2 to 1/10 of the cost. He did NOT say “from heritage assets”.

    Any viewer, in particular the kind of uninformed leftist emo viewer that you wish to seek, wouldn’t have the foggiest idea that Rafe is talking about heritage assets. Even Dix had no idea – I would think he is honest enough to correct Rafe? Or probably not.

    And Rafe inserted this ambiguation on purpose. He well knows that he is wrong, that the average viewer will construe that to be an apples to apples comparison, while he left himself an escape clause to later have you claim apples-to-oranges.

    Damien, you are not being sincere or honest. I really can’t expect that from a propaganda artists whose only goal in life is to ideologically dupe viewers.

    In any case, when I got the time, I will show you where your apples-to-oranges comparison is factually wrong when a life-cycle cost analysis is performed.

  15. Damien, you say we should compare apples (new plants) to oranges (heritage plants). Philosophically that is wrong.

    But I will get back to you when I include the cost of BC Hydro’s billions of debt on heritage assets, and the humongous operating costs, and the past costs of these assets on BC citizens — 😀

    Since you are an “environmentalist”, shall I add the cost of environmental destruction by heritage assets that we are still paying for these costs? ;)) As you know the biggest cost today is environmental assessment, which we all pay for.

    If BC Hydro did not need that power, why did they have to import 8,000 GWh of dirty power from Americans like GE, and why did they build Aberfeldie at a loss, and why are they building Site C and John Hart at a loss?

    I am in the industry and I don’t see signs of a “racket” or insider sweetheart deals, etc. This is always charged by people who have little or no business experience and have even less of an idea how contracts are awarded. As you know Plutonic which is selling power to BC Hydro at about 5 cents a kWh has essentially gone bankrupt.

    Show me where the sweetheart deals are. Thanks

  16. Note: in my message below, for BC Hydro cost of power production at Site C, Aberfeldie, and John Hart, I have already subtracted BC Hydro’s benefits to government, namely dividend payments to the provincial government and water rental fee, together amounting to 0.9 cents a kWh.

    Cost of power to BC Hydro:
    Private power: 5.4 cents a kWh paid by BC Hydro
    Public power: 10.8 cents (Site C), 12.6 cents (Aberfeldie), 14.7 cents (John Hart) paid by BC Hydro
    Consumer rates: 9 cents

    Taxpayers and ratepayers are massively subsidizing bloated BC Hydro, the highest salaried corporation in BC, for its inefficient, wasteful, ill-conceived, and uneconomic projects that destroy our wealth. Not to mention flooding and destruction of 8,000 acres on the Peace River yet to come.

    Rafe, your career has slipped badly. MLA and Minister of Environment (in the same government that submerged and destroyed a huge part of BC with it’s dams – never apologized for that), to talk show ranter, and now to cheap propaganda artist (thanks to Damian) and rhetorician.

  17. Rafe never said they can contruct plants for 1/10the the cost of private power, David. He said – correctly – this new power COSTS BC Hydro up to 10 times what they can make it for themselves – off their heritage assets, which is a highly relevant comparison if we don;t actually need any new power, especially private river diversion power. Rafe is correct about all of that. Come on David – the jig is well up on your racket.

  18. Dix no “fracking way”. I hope you reject fossil fuels and move towards a sustainable non fossil fuel free energy resource base for BC.! Any energy resource industry, which destroy our natural resources without taking into the account of the other values of the land, is utter stupidity and a step backwards.
    Stand up for a cleaner energy sector, and don’t jump on to the same bandwagon that our present Liberal government is trying to sell to the world.

  19. Dear Rafe, in BC Hydro’s report on the last Power Call, the average price paid to private power producers was reported at 10.1 cents/kWh (less for wind power producers) – see page 12 of that report. Of this, 4.7 cents is returned back to BC Hydro and various governments in the form of first nation taxes (royalties), green credits, property taxes, income taxes, dividend taxes, construction taxes, land tenure fee (none of which is paid by BC Hydro), and water rental fee. That leaves the private producer with 5.4 cents/kWh, which is below market rates for green power, and well below what consumers pay in BC.

    In your video, vol 1, you claim BC Hydro can construct power plants at half to 1/10 of that price. So that would be 2.7 to 0.5 cents.

    Well, BC Hydro Site C will cost 10.8 cents, Aberfeldie a run of river BC Hydro recently built cost 12.6 cents, and the John Hart run of river 14.7 cents.

    Who do you think you are kidding Rafe and Damian? And stop insulting the intelligence of your few viewers. Propaganda and misinformation only goes so much — but the public is much more intelligent and sophisticated than you think to fall for your cheap propaganda.

    Sincerely, David

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