By Anthony Capkun
August 25, 2013 – Bill Bennett, BC’s minister of energy and mines and minister responsible for Core Review, directed BC Hydro to release its draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and undertake a final round of consultation with First Nations, key stakeholders and the public.
“Predicting how much electricity B.C. will need over the next 20 years is a difficult challenge, particularly with resource industries like liquefied natural gas and mining positioned for the largest expansion since the days of WAC Bennett,” said Bennett.
The draft IRP includes BC Hydro’s recommended actions to meet an expected 40% increase in the province’s electricity demand over the next 20 years while keeping rates affordable.
The plan’s recommendations ensure BC Hydro will be able to support the economic potential in British Columbia’s north, says the provincial government, including the development of the liquefied natural gas industry. In addition, the plan prioritizes conservation so that customers have the ability to reduce their electricity bills through a range of programs and incentives that help them use less electricity.
BC Hydro produced an initial draft of the IRP for public consultation in May 2012. Additional consultations, which will take place from September 3 to October 18 will provide the opportunity for comments on changes that have been made to draft IRP since last year. The government has also directed BC Hydro to seek additional feedback on the variables that can impact electricity forecasts, and on its contingency plans to address those variables.
Following these consultations, BC Hydro will re-submit its IRP for consideration by government by November 15, 2013.