For Immediate Release
WHAT ARE THE REAL COSTS OF BIPOLE III
TO MANITOBAN TAXPAYERS?
(Winnipeg, Oct. 2, 2011) The “debate” over Bipole III is a hot issue in this election. So far, the argument has centered around where to build the 832-mile hydro line. The Green Party is the only party that is willing to consider the broader picture of $20 billion and counting in planned hydro-electric mega-projects.
“We cannot consider Bipole III, without also looking at the planned Keeyask and Conawapa dams,” said Green Party Leader James Beddome.
A Green government would not move forward with new hydro-electric development, including Bipole III, until a full Manitoba energy assessment is performed.
The Green Party is the only party who agrees with the Manitoba’s own government-appointed watchdog, the Public Utilities Board, who, in a recent report, rejected the economic viability of the expansion. However, to the amazement of Green Party candidates and members, the Public Utilities Board is being completely left out of the conversation.
“Overall, the Board does not accept Manitoba Hydro’s export revenue forecasts to-date as representing a realistic basis for determining the economic viability of Manitoba Hydro’s proposed new major generation and transmission facilities, to be supported by export sales in advance of domestic load requirements.” Reads the report from the Public Utilities Board published in August of 2011.
Manitoba Hydro is completing the Wuskwatim dam and plans to build two new hydro-electric power plants (Keeyask and Conawapa), one after the other, to churn out electricity that can be sold to American buyers for a profit until it’s needed in Manitoba, using Bipole III to deliver that power. But the profit can only be assured by signing contracts on a fixed price. The alternative is waiting until local demand is strong enough to warrant each new power project. As each power plant comes into service, any surplus electricity can be sold on the spot market (where prices are lower than firm sales.)
However, the Public Utilities Board found that construction costs are exploding while power prices are sliding. There is a possibility that Manitoba Hydro may find itself delivering power at subsidized prices by the time all of the mega projects are finished. And that means higher rates for Manitoba customers who will get stuck with the construction costs: all of the pain and none of the gain. A similar situation in Newfoundland left the province with nowhere to sell their energy, and a whopping bill of hydro construction and staffing.
“Does this make any sense? Why are we subsidizing Americans on the backs of Manitoban taxpayers? Manitoba Greens fully support a Crown utility, but it must be managed to benefit the people,” reads the Green Party of Manitoba Platform. Green Party candidates are also wondering why nobody is talking about this.
he Green Party Platform outlines a bold, innovative vision of moving beyond Hydro. The document outlines practical, and economically-viable ideas for diversifying our energy sources in Manitoba, using clean, fiscally responsible and environmentally sustainable methods. The party believes that moving towards energy sources such as wind power, and working towards maximum energy efficiency will lead to long-term prosperity, jobs, and it will keep taxpayers’ money safe.
“This Government promised 1000 megawatts of wind energy to diversify Manitoba’s energy supply, but has only delivered 237 megawatts. Yet there are eleven wind energy projects, comprising 1491 megawatts of proposed capacity already licensed under Manitoba’s Environment Act, which are stalled out for want of a power purchase agreement,” noted Beddome, adding, “Developing these projects means jobs, payments to landowners, and additional tax revenue for the province and municipalities.”
To read the full Green Party of Manitoba Platform, visit greenparty.mb.ca
For the Green Party of Manitoba Platform excerpt on Hydro, scroll down.
CONTACT: Claire Marchand (cell) 204 391-9033 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Beddome, GPM Provincial Leader, available for interviews
To contact individual candidates, call the Green Party of Manitoba office 488-2831 or visit greenparty.mb.ca
Excerpt from the Green Party of Manitoba Platform
A SUSTAINABLE ENERGY
We need energy! We need it to heat our homes, to get us to work, to produce Manitoban goods and to provide a host of useful services. The billion dollar question remains: “What is the most sustainable means of producing energy?”
The issues surrounding Manitoba Hydro and Bipole III have been particularly
contentious in the lead up to the 2011 Manitoba Election. Unfortunately, the
“debate” has centred around a few unsubstantiated claims. As a result, the
questions that do need to be asked and debated are left unanswered
Manitoba produces more than enough energy to supply our own needs until at least 2020.
Bipole III is only a small portion of the roughly $20 billion in planned hydro-
electric mega-project developments that accompany Bipole III – and which
continue to soar in cost!
The primary driving force behind the construction of these new mega-dams and Bipole III is to export power to the U.S.A. Recent investigations by the Manitoba Public Utilities Board have revealed that if we build these new dams, we may be exporting the power at a loss – leaving Manitobans with soaring electricity rates.
Does this make any sense? Why are we subsidizing Americans on the backs of Manitoban ratepayers? Manitoba Greens fully support a crown utility, but it must be managed to benefit the people.
Hydroelectricity has its own ecological impact: flooding, shoreline erosion, mercury contamination, habitat disruption and greenhouse gas emissions!
Dams built in the 1960’s and 70’s led to the relocation of entire communities, and a legacy of distrust among Aboriginal peoples.
Even the Wuskwatim dam, which Manitoba Hydro and the present government boast “causes minimal flooding,” will flood nearly 122 acres (½ km²) of pristine boreal forest. Conawapa and Keeyask will flood even more.
HOW WE WOULD DO IT:
1. Propose that Manitoba Hydro change its name to Manitoba Energy,
reflecting the diverse forms of energy technologies that are available, and
focusing on reducing energy consumption first through various programs
of incentives and disincentives.
2. Explore and implement renewable forms of energy beyond hydroelectric
power – such as the 1000 MW of promised wind energy the NDP has failed
3. Use the same piece of land for the disposal of garbage and the installation
of wind turbines to minimize their overall impact.
4. We would not support constructing any new hydroelectric mega-dams in
Manitoba until a full assessment on the potential for energy conservation
has taken place – thereby helping to lower Manitoba’s debt obligations,
and utility bills at the same time.
5. Ensure that a cumulative ecological assessment of the effects of hydro-
electric generation in Manitoba is performed before new hydro-electric
dam construction in Manitoba is approved.
6. Immediately begin the Clean Environment Commission review of the
interim Lake Winnipeg Regulation and Churchill River Diversion license,
ensuring the broadest possible mandate and adequate participant funding
for a thorough and diverse review.
7. Make it simple for home-owners and/or businesses to receive payment for
unused power delivered to the grid from solar-panels, small-scale wind-
turbines, or other alternative energy sources through measures such as a
feed-in-tariff (as is already done in Ontario).
8. Ensure all new residential housing units provide true energy reliability
through the installation of a 3 KW capacity micro power system. This will
ensure that each house is an independent power producer and a power
thrifty homeowner will never have to purchase power from a utility
9. Mandate a transition from older designed street lamps, to newer energy
efficient LED street lamps, and ensure residential and street lighting will
not shine above horizon level, to reduce energy waste and reclaim the
night sky from light pollution.
10. Recognize inherent and Treaty rights of Aboriginal people in Manitoba
with regards to developments such as hydro-electric mega-projects,
mining, forestry, etc.