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Interview with Sam Mottram, Managing Principal, Power Services

Interview with Sam Mottram, Managing Principal, Power Services

Publication: Global Business Reports
Issue: October 2014
Issue Title: British Columbia Power 2014

Under the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), BC Hydro is planning to spend $1.7 billion per annum over the next 10 years. What are the principal opportunities for Knight Piésold in British Columbia given this plan?

We have bid on a number of upcoming refurbishment projects, including the 130-megawatt (MW) John Hart Hydroelectric Redevelopment Project, and teamed up with a number of contractors and developers to help realize these projects. BC Hydro has aging facilities that need a lot of work. Under the IRP, BC Hydro now has a program to upgrade all of these, many of which are 60 to 70 years old on both the hydro generation facilities side and the transmission and distribution side.

It has been nearly three decades since BC Hydro has undertaken a large-scale project. Does it have the in-house expertise to undertake Site C?

BC Hydro no longer has large, in-house expertise, which is why they have hired external consultants to help them. A number of consultants have been involved in the 1,100-MW Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) in various capacities. Knight Piésold is involved in assessing the downstream impacts of Site C, including the fluvial geomorphology of the river system. BC Hydro has assembled a team that has the experience to realize the project. There is still a debate whether or not Site C is best for the province, but large hydro has served the province quite well in the past and will continue to do so in the future.

BC Hydro has a “conserve first” mentality to reduce electricity usage in the province by up to 75%. How can this goal be accomplished?

BC Hydro is first targeting the low-hanging fruit to reduce usage, such as changing out light bulbs. Going forward, there will be a reliance on new technologies that in many cases have not yet even been developed to help realize future savings. There is some skepticism as to whether BC Hydro can realize all these demand-side management savings. If the economy picks up, a few new mines connect to the grid, or liquefied natural gas (LNG) moves ahead, the energy forecast will change significantly. BC Hydro is revising its demand forecast for next year because there are so many uncertainties about how much more energy it is going to need.

 

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