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Numbers say BC won't be in a position to help Alberta escape coal power

(iStock Photo)

Research says because of BC's population growth, BC won't be in a position to sell excess power to Alberta in the future

UVIC energy group says there could come a day when Alberta sells its power to BC.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Forget BC selling power to Alberta to help that province wean itself off of coal power.

New analysis indicates BC is going to need all the power generated within the province, even after construction of the Site C dam.

The research was released by the 2060 Project, a joint initiative of the University of Victoria’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems (Iasi) and the Vic-led Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS).

The study found that because of BC’s population growth, BC won’t be in a position to sell excess power.

“A lot of people are moving to BC. It’s projected there will be another million people in the province by 2032. With all these new people, everyone obviously uses electricity and that’s where the Site C dam power will be going,” says PhD student Jeff English, the lead researcher.

BC Hydro does sell its surplus power when water levels are high and demand is low, for instance during recessions. But it has had to import energy for five of the past 10 years.

English says he can see a time when BC could buy power from Alberta, once Alberta invests in wind and solar power.

“There will be times when it’s very windy and very sunny and Alberta will have too much power and needing to get rid of it.”

He says that way BC Hydro’s reservoirs can be conserved until the solar and wind conditions in Alberta change – at which time BC can sell its power to back Alberta.