The Peace River Dam

I began creating a place to explore the economic argument for the Site C Dam in February 2017, something I was often hired to do for various public and private sector clients in my career as a management consultant. I was intending to demonstrate how we could bring together the wealth of knowledge and information we have available to us to assist our government leaders in making sound decisions in our collective interests rather than in the political interests of our elected representatives.

Since the topic is still on the table, based on the Globe and Mail editorial below from 2021.01.03, I thought I would pull together what we had gathered at the time in case anyone was interested in taking on the analysis. Not that I expect anything to change but I thought it might spark some interest in the idea of using our abilities to take an economic analysis approach in exploring government investment decisions when our natural resources are so much at risk and our decision-making systems for creating a better future for our world are so flawed.


The Peace River Valley

  • BC Hydro is trying to build a huge dam that would put this entire area under water forever.
  • Does this make sense to destroy farmland that can sustainably feed over 1 million people?
  • Flooding 107 km of river valleys will drastically reduce habitat for many important species.
  • Why destroy a place like this to provide unnecessary power instead of investing in renewables?

This is what the Peace River valley looked like before Site C dam – Film



The Site C Hearings

The energy from Site C is not needed. After 28 days of hearings and review of 28,000 pages of documentation, the Joint Review Panel concluded that BC Hydro has failed to prove that we need Site C. Further, they emphasized that because there are significant adverse effects, justification for the project must rest on an unambiguous need for the power.

The Real Site C Hearings
Peace Valley Environmental Association

Site C is going to cost us money – a lot of money

“BC Hydro currently estimates that Site C Dam will cost $8.8 billion and “projects losing $800 million in the first 4 years of operation.”

Report of the Joint Review Panel, Site C Clean Energy Project, BC Hydro
2014.05.01 – PDF

Alternative sources of power would be more cost effective.

“Energy economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer conducted significant research on the viability of Site C and has concluded that there are far less expensive alternatives to Site C.”

Assessment of the Need for and Alternatives to the Site C Project
2013.11.25 – PDF

Site C Questions

What is the business case? What is the economic argument? What is the story? What story are we creating?

How is it that the largest infrastructure project in the province’s history has turned into one of the least covered stories in modern times?

Ian Gill – Site C Questions

2021 – The Site C dam has been a disaster in the making for decades.
Should B.C. pull the plug?

Last summer, BC Hydro revealed Site C was in big trouble. A shaky foundation on the river’s right bank threatened the stability of the dam, and costs were spiraling. The $10.7-billion project was already over budget, with about half the money spent. Mr. Horgan ordered an independent review and said halting Site C for good was possible.

“If the science tells us and the economics tells us that it’s the wrong way to proceed, we will take appropriate action,” the Premier said.

Globe and Mail Editorial Board

Exploring the Business Case for the Site C Dam