Providing support in energy litigation, negotiation, and research to governments, industries, utilities, and aboriginal peoples from California to Quebec.


Providing support in energy litigation, negotiation, and research to governments, industries, utilities, and aboriginal peoples from California to Quebec.

New Media

Horgan preaches pragmatism after favorable Site C poll

The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer

Not giving up the fight, Site C opponents have organized a summit, to be held in the provincial capital at the end of this month. Guest speakers will include several First Nations leaders, plus Harry Swain, who chaired the federal-provincial joint review panel on Site C, and Robert McCullough, one of the half-dozen experts who briefed the NDP cabinet in a confidential session late last year.

Experts shed light on approval of Site C project

Chemainus Valley Courier, Jan Slakov

Amnesty International’s report shows that a government “environmental impact assessment concluded that the dam would ‘severely undermine’ use of the land, would make fishing unsafe, and would submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historic sites.”

Most damning, when B.C. cabinet ministers suggest cancellation of the site C project would “incur an immediate $3-4 billion public charge on either Hydro ratepayers or B.C. taxpayers,” Robert McCullough has shown that this isn’t actually the case. Former president and CEO of BC Hydro, Marc Eliesen, states, “If (John) Horgan were really concerned about the financial impact of Site C on taxpayers and ratepayers, he would have cancelled the project.”

Site C a train wreck in slow motion

Alaska Highway News, Ken Boon

It’s noteworthy that just two days later, Alberta announced a new Canadian record low purchase price of just 3.7 cents per KW for 600 MW of wind energy. By comparison, that’s about 2.5 times cheaper than the break-even price for Site C power.

Alberta had only planned on purchasing 400 MW, but they decided to lock in for 50% more power at those low prices. By the way, it will only cost $1 billion to build that 600 MW of wind energy, while Site C at $10.7 billion is 1100 MW. These are the sort of numbers energy economist Robert McCullough spoke about in the BCUC review, and that BC Hydro tried to discredit.

New Articles

Taking the path less followed

Vancouver Sun, Robert McCullough

A month ago, I had the honour of sitting down with the NDP cabinet and Premier John Horgan. I gave a detailed presentation why proceeding with Site C would be costly and risky. Curiously, after the cabinet meeting the only followup involved questions from specific MLAs — not inquiries from the cabinet or their staff.

Opinion: Site C proponents fall prey to Sunk Costs Fallacy

Vancouver Sun, Robert McCullough

This fallacy, which is related to status-quo bias, can also be viewed as bias resulting from an ongoing commitment. For example, individuals sometimes order too much food and then over-eat ‘just to get their money’s worth.’ Similarly, a person may have a $20 ticket to a concert and then drive for hours through a blizzard, just because s/he feels that s/he has to attend due to having made the initial investment. If the costs outweigh the benefits, the extra costs incurred (inconvenience, time or even money) are held in a different mental account than the one associated with the ticket transaction.

Opinion: Renewables cheaper, more dependable than Site C

The Vancouver Sun, Robert McCullough

The problem with Site C is not that it is a hydroelectric project. The problem with Site C lies in the economics. When Site C was proposed, fossil fuel prices were high. The cost of renewables were twice what they are now. Loads were not increasing terribly rapidly (load growth has been flat in B.C. for the past decade), but the forecasts were very optimistic. It is not an exaggeration to say that everything has changed. Site C is relatively costly compared to the alternatives and very costly compared to the wholesale market. It is in our power to do far more and spend far less.

New Reports

Updating Bonneville’s Strategic Plan

On November 17, the Bonneville Power Administration presented a new strategic plan to its regional utility customers and other interested participants. The new plan did not focus on the root causes of mounting problems with competitiveness, operational inefficiency, reductions in borrowing authority, or cost control.
In this report, we offer some specific suggestions to Bonneville and to the region’s utilities that are its customers:

1) Submit the Columbia Generating Station (CGS) nuclear power plant to a market test and, if it fails, close the CGS as rapidly as possible thereafter;

2) Re-engineer the Coordination Agreement and the Canadian Treaty to make it easier for the Columbia River’s hydroelectric dams to meet the growing need to back up the variable resources of wind and solar energy; and,

3) Amend the 2008 power contracts to allow for additional loads, revenues, and jobs for the Pacific Northwest.