Why we need the Site C dam

Writer says Site C is just a start on the way to transitioning from fossil fuels.

In the next three weeks the NDP will decide the fate of the largest public infrastructure project in BC history, the Site C Dam. I say build it, here’s why.

You may recall, before the last federal election, a very large, far left environmental faction within the NDP were pushing for the party to endorse the Leap Manifesto, calling for Canada to get 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. How this can be achieved is described in a background document ‘Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power…’ authored by faculty of the University of California and Stanford.

I agree that society should be moving towards renewable energy sources, as quickly as possible, in a manner that maintains our standard of living, economy, and fiscal well-being.

The authors estimate the combined number of wind turbines, solar plants, geothermal plants, hydroelectric power plants, wave devices, and tidal turbines it would take to power the world for all purposes. They propose to include 270-1,300 megawatt hydroelectric power plants in their combined list.

So how many renewable energy generation sources would we need in Canada to replace fossil fuels?

Every year in Canada we consume ~ 10,000 petajoules of energy, ~70 per cent of which comes from fossil fuels. The Site C dam will produce 1,100 megawatts of energy operating at peak capacity, and 680 megawatts of energy operating at average capacity.

Converting units, we would require 326 Site C dams operating at average capacity to generate the energy we get from fossil fuels in Canada.

Similarly, a solar farm that would produce 1,100 MW of electricity, like the Site C dam, would require approximately 189 km2 of land area. The Site C dam’s reservoir is just 55 km2 in area.

This is just the production side. We would also require massive enhancements of electrical transmission infrastructure, and need to convert all boilers, furnaces, engines, etc, to electric units. No small task.

If as a society we plan to actually transition to a low carbon economy, we must start building infrastructure such as the Site C dam, and other renewable energy infrastructure such as solar, geothermal, wind, and their associated distribution infrastructure, to create the energy we need to allow us to transition away from fossil fuels.

Let’s get started, by building one Site C dam.

David Gerein

Prince George


National Energy Consumption; https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/sites/www.nrcan.gc.ca/files/energy/pdf/EnergyFactBook_2016_17_En.pdf (Chapter 10, note secondary consumption has gone up to ~10,000 PJ since 2013)

Leap Manifesto Proposal to Power The World With Renewables; http://web.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/I/JDEnPolicyPt1.pdf (Abstract)

Site C Dam Capacity; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Site_C_dam

Site C Reservoir Size; https://globalnews.ca/news/1728749/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-site-c-dam/

Solar Farm Reference; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarnia_Photovoltaic_Power_Plant

Site C

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Meet the 10-year-old girl who grew a pineapple in northern B.C.

Emily Atkins discovers it takes a lot of patience to grow tropical fruit in a temperate climate

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Search on for mushroom picker missing from near Kitwanga

Tommy Dennis was last seen Sept 16 wearing blue jeans, black cap, rubber boots, grey checked sweater

Northwest firefighters headed to Oregon to battle wildfires

Over 200 B.C. firefighting personnel will assist in the U.S.

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read