British Columbia to Proceed with $7.6 Billion Hydropower Project

British Columbia plans to proceed with construction of the Site C hydroelectric dam on the Peace River in the Canadian province’s northeast.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark announced the decision at an event in Victoria, saying the cost of the project is estimated at C$8.78 billion ($7.6 billion), including contigencies.

“The Site C energy project will not be built in a day and it certainly won’t be build in a year,” Clark said at the provincial capital. “But once it is built, it is going to benefit British Columbians for generations.”

The project, which faces opposition from some aboriginal groups, would generate about 1,100 megawatts of electricity, enough for 450,000 homes. Developed by provincially owned BC Hydro & Power Authority, the dam would be the third on the Peace River.

Clark first disclosed a higher cost estimate for the project, above a previous C$7.9 billion assessment, in a Dec. 10 interview in New York, tagging it at about C$8.5 billion. She said the province would prioritize moving ahead with projects to process and ship liquefied natural gas should the dam’s construction threaten to cause worker shortages.

Clark’s government granted an environmental certificate for the project in October with 77 conditions, including development of a strategy to foster business opportunities for aboriginals.

The provincial government has been deliberating on whether to go ahead with the project since 2004.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

Lead image: Hydropower via Shutterstock

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