What happened to the BC NDP’s PowerBC energy plan?

1 November 2020

BC NDP graphic for their abandoned PowerBC energy plan, showing undamaged Peace River Valley

BC NDP graphic for their abandoned PowerBC energy plan, showing undamaged Peace River Valley

Have a look at the clean energy plan the BC NDP promoted while in opposition before 2017: “PowerBC.” It stands in stark contrast to the NDP’s current “CleanBC” plan, which unlike PowerBC, involves both fracking/LNG and the Site C dam, with the latter functioning to greenwash the former. PowerBC has somehow nearly been scrubbed from the internet, so we are uploading some materials from it here for the historical record.

Download the PDF: POWERBC: John Horgan’s energy and jobs plan for BC | New Democrat BC Government Caucus

In the 2017 election, it was assumed that PowerBC was the energy plan that the NDP was running on. It’s mentioned in the NDP’s long 2017 election platform, but only a meager six times. However, and chillingly, the phrase “Site C” is not mentioned ONCE in that election platform. Have a look and try it yourself.

Nevertheless, the BC electorate was under the impression that the BC NDP was running on the PowerBC plan, which excluded the Site C dam.

PowerBC explicitly excludes the Site C dam as an energy source, even using images of an undamaged Peace River Valley in some of its key graphics. It doesn’t pretend that fracking and LNG are “clean energy” but speaks instead of solar and other renewables, retrofitting buildings, increasing capacity on existing dams (Revelstoke Dam still has an empty bay for a major turbine that was never added!), and much more.

You may enjoy this page from PowerBC’s promotional materials, where an academic who then became a lobbyist for Site C, SFU’s Marv Shaffer, is on record saying that BC doesn’t need Site C. How priorities change at the drop of a hat, or election, or lobbying contract…

The section below is interesting, because for BC Hydro to pursue adding renewables like solar and wind and geothermal, Horgan and the NDP would have to have reversed some legislative changes made by Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals which:
• restricted BC Hydro to only hydroelectricity
• forced BC Hydro to build Site C instead of cheaper renewables
• sidelined BC’s energy watchdog the BC Utilities Commission from oversight of energy and Site C
But the NDP noticeably didn’t make those absolutely key legislative reforms, when it would have had Green support to do so. Instead, it didn’t restore our watchdog so we have no oversight, and we can’t pursue far cleaner and cheaper renewables or save a key agricultural and ecologically important valley.

Then there’s this excellent idea: instead of building Site C, increase power generation at our existing dams, which we have not yet even begun to do.

People tend to get politically activated only during elections then fade away. But only organizing and activism between elections wins real change. To all those who campaigned for and/or voted NDP: now help us challenge their disastrous “CleanBC” plan. Please pressure your NDP MLA to cancel Site C, abandon the environmentally disastrous and uneconomic fracking/LNG plan, and return to the sanity of the NDP’s PowerBC plan. It was a good, modern plan. CleanBC, with its fracking and outdated, overexpensive and unnecessary mega-dam, is not.

And sign the new petition if you haven’t already, please. But it’s more important to sink your teeth into the legs of your local NDP MLA (figuratively speaking only) and don’t let go until Site C and fracking are abandoned.