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BC Hydro says delay for the 1,100-MW Site C project in Canada could cost C$630 million

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BC Hydro President Jessica McDonald, on June 7, said evictions along the banks of the Peace River must proceed by the end of this month or the Crown corporation’s controversial C$8.8 billion 1,100-MW Site C project could be pushed back one year behind schedule and cost an additional $630 million.

McDonald made the assessment based on BC Hydro calculations that include the following:

  • Ongoing project costs during delay period, $95 million; 
  • Site and environmental maintenance, $10 million; 
  • Main civil works contract, $120 million; 
  • Storing turbines and generators, $25 million; 
  • Fixed costs related to worker accommodation, $15 million; 
  • Other, $60 million; 
  • Impact of inflation after one year, $105 million; and 
  • Interest, $200 million.

A number of British Columbia news outlets report that during the press briefing on Wednesday, McDonald said tenders for contracts to realign a highway, which in its current location would be flooded when the Peace River is diverted, are set to go out on June 15. A bridge construction tender is scheduled to be issued at the beginning of July.

The Globe and Mail reports, BC Hydro officials said constructing 8.5 km of highway and a bridge must be completed before the scheduled September 2019 Peace River diversion, because the existing road and bridge could be flooded by the construction work.

BC Hydro says it has spent $1.75 billion on the project to date, and has signed additional contracts that can only be cancelled with penalties.

Earlier this week, HydroWorld.com reported BC Hydro is being publically pressured to cancel the Site C development. B.C. New Democratic Party leader, John Horgan, advised the utility against signing any contracts associated with the project.

On May 31, Horgan sent a letter to McDonald saying it is the duty of the NDP to halt the project until it can be independently reviewed by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

As such, Hogran said, BC Hydro should abstain from signing any deals it could not cancel for free, should the project be canceled. Bu, earlier this year, Canada's Federal Court of Appeal dismissed a lawsuit that would have prevented work on Site C hydroelectric plant from advancing.

Main civil works on the project began in June.

Site C will be the third hydroelectric project on the Peace River, joining 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum and 694-MW Peace Canyon. The site was chosen for potential development in 1976.

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