A new water turbine is installed at Mica dam north of Revelstoke. The addition of the fifth and sixth turbines

Weather windfall for U.S. power exports

Warm winter left record water levels in B.C.'s Peace and Columbia River reservoirs, with water released to alleviate U.S. drought

A warm winter and a dry spring and summer combined to produce a big jump in BC Hydro power exports this year.

Electricity exports to the U.S. jumped by 73 per cent in the first eight months of 2015 compared to the same period last year, according to export data from Statistics Canada.

BC Hydro says the warmer winter decreased residential customer demand for electricity in B.C., leaving enough water in the Columbia and Peace River reservoirs that their combined volume reached record highs by the end of March 2015. That allowed for more generation from Mica dam on the Columbia River, which recently had a fifth and sixth turbine added to bring it up to maximum design capacity.

“These exports also supported the management of the obligations under the Columbia River Treaty, which provide for increased releases of water from the Canadian Columbia basin when the U.S. basin finds itself in severe drought conditions, as it did in the spring and summer of 2015,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer. “Ultimately, the increased release meant additional generation at Mica, which resulted in more energy available for export.”

The Columbia River Treaty was signed by Canada and the U.S. in 1964, and its flood control mandate is set to expire in 2024. Energy Minister Bill Bennett has argued that the treaty should be renewed with an increased annual payment from the U.S., to reflect the value of controlling the river on the Canadian side for flood control and irrigation for agriculture in Washington state.

The increase in electricity sales was a bright spot for B.C. exports, the value of which fell 22.2 per cent from January to August, due mainly to falling natural gas prices.

Electricity prices also fell during that period, so the 73 per cent increase in exports resulted in only a 32.2 per cent increase in value. Decreases in gas and electricity prices are related to greatly increased shale gas production in the U.S., which is used for power production as well as heating fuel.

 

Just Posted

White Rock Renegades ‘04 named national champs

Girls went undefeated at national tournament in Calgary

PHOTOS: Supercars parade to White Rock

More than a dozen cars were on display for the Drive Project

South Surrey woman promotes exercise to help fight Parkinson’s disease

‘This keeps me strong’ says Liz Holroyd Campbell, organizer of the 2019 Parkinson Superwalk

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Advocates ‘internationalize’ the fight to free Raif Badawi from Saudi prison

Raif Badawi was arrested on June 17, 2012, and was later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for his online criticism of Saudi clerics

Canadian entrepreneurs turning beer byproduct into bread, cookies and profits

Some breweries turn to entrepreneurs looking to turn spent grain into treats for people and their pets

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

Most Read