Former electoral candidate Kim Darwin: project will completely kill the clean energy sector in B.C. : “My dreams were dashed”
By Margot Grant
Kim Darwin has been inundated with messages from former NDP supporters who say they will never vote NDP again after Premier John Horgan announced the government will proceed with the Site C dam.
Darwin, who ran for the Green Party during the last provincial election, almost cried when she heard the news. “I had dreamed B.C. would be a leader in clean energy, and my dreams were dashed.”
Site C will kill the clean-energy jobs sector in B.C. for decades, she believes. “There will be an unbelievable surplus of power, so why would wind and solar companies come to B.C. now? Two wind companies have already left the province [since] construction [of the dam] started.
“Site C will cost way more than $10.7 billion,” she predicts. “What people don’t seem to understand is that this is all taxpayers’ money, while renewable energy would have been paid for by the industry, by investors.”
Since 2010, the cost of wind energy has dropped 66 per cent and the cost of solar has dropped 68 per cent. If the price of energy from Site C climbs from 11 cents to 27 cents per kilowatt-hour, as economic analyst Eoin Finn predicts, would it not be cheaper for people to get their own solar and wind installations and go off the grid?
“Yes, if you can afford it,” Darwin says. “If you live in a house with a yard or if you have a strata that allows it, but it will be the lower incomes who suffer from this.”
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The job issue has her angry. “Supposedly, the NDP was reluctant to lay off 2,000 construction workers. But there is a great need for construction workers all over the province. And eventually, Site C will yield 74 permanent jobs, all in one spot. There would have been five times more jobs in the clean-energy sector, all over B.C.”
Many people who contacted Darwin after the decision said the Greens should stop supporting the NDP, but Darwin does not believe that is possible because it would be a breach of the Confidence and Supply Agreement the Green Party and the NDP signed so the NDP could govern.
About Site C, the agreement says: “Immediately refer the Site C dam construction project to the BC Utilities Commission on the question of economic viability and consequences to British Columbians in the context of the current supply and demand conditions prevailing in the BC market.”
The agreement cannot be abandoned because this is exactly what the NDP did, Darwin says. “We allowed the NDP to take the matter to the Utilities Commission, not realizing what would happen.”
But if the Greens withdraw their support of the NDP government, the Liberals may get back into power, she warns, “and we still have so many amazing things to look after, like affordable housing, child care, seniors care.”
She is also happy that corporate and union donations to election campaigns are a thing of the past. “Big money has been taken out of politics. We will continue to work with them.”
But Monday’s decision to proceed with Site C makes proportional representation even more critical, Darwin says. The referendum about proportional representation will be held in the Fall of 2018. Until February 28, the public can give input about the referendum question here.We hope you found this post interesting. Your donation will help us provide independent news in our community. Thank you.