Liquid Gold

Energy Privatization in British Columbia

By John Calvert  

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Secure, affordable, reliable energy has been one of British columbia’s most important competitive advantages and a key contributor to the province’s prosperity. BC’s energy costs have been based on the actual cost of production. Under new government policy, future energy will not be generated by BC hydro, but will be purchased from private energy producers.

John Calvert shows how BC’s successful public energy system is being supplanted by a deregulated private electrical system. This will effectively transfer control of the system to private interests. It will also expose BC ratepayers to the risks and uncertainties associated with the United States energy market as BC’s system in gradually integrated into the larger Pacific northwest transmission grid–a grid largely controlled by US energy corporations.

The government, says Calvert, has gone to extraordinary lengths to provide a supportive financial, environmental, legal and ownership framework to assist the growth of private energy investments in BC.

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  • Introduction
  • The Provincial Government’s Energy Privatization Agenda
  • How Did We Get Here? The Path to Privatization and Deregulation
  • BC’s Growing Need for Electricity: Creating the Opportunity for Private Energy Developers
  • The High Costs of Existing Private Energy Contracts
  • Energy Purchases from the Private Sector Do Not Provide a Secure Supply of Energy for BC’s Future Needs
  • The Downside of Relying on Privately Owned Generation Facilities to Supply BC’s Future Energy Requirements: Alcan’s Energy Export Agenda
  • Private Energy Projects Are Heavily Dependent on Government Subsidies and Government Assistance
  • The Water Licence Give-Away: Our Streams and Rivers are a “Free Good”
  • Wind Energy: Crown Land is Open for Business
  • The Negative Impacts of Private Power Projects on Local Communities
  • Developers Against Communities: The Dispute Between the Squamish-Lillooet Community and Ledcor
  • Developers against Communities: Cascade Falls (Christina Lake & Kettle Falls/Kettle Valley) and Seabreeze
  • Lack of Benefits to Local Communities from Private Energy Developments
  • Impact of Non-Resident Ownership of “Green Energy” Projects on Communities and First Nations
  • The Economic Impact of the Government’s Energy Plan and Its Policy of Expanding Private Energy Production
  • Co-opting First Nations
  • Securing Municipal Co-operation
  • The Costs to BC Hydro: Destroying the Assets of BC’s Most Valuable Crown Corporation
  • Index


  • John Calvert

    Simon Fraser University

    Dr. Calvert is a political scientist with a specialization in public policy. After completing his BA and MA at the University of Western Ontario, he enrolled at the London School of Economics, where he obtained his PhD in the Government Department. His teaching and research interests are in the areas of Canadian public policy and health, the impact of international trade agreements on health policy, privatization and workers’ occupational health and safety. He has published a number of books and articles on Canadian and international public policy and economic issues. Prior to coming to Simon Fraser University, Dr. Calvert worked for a number of years in the BC government as a policy advisor in the trade policy area and in the Ministries of Labour, Employment and Investment and the Crown Corporations Secretariat.

    Dr. Calvert is currently working on a project examining the effectiveness of workplace health and safety committees in reducing the incidence of occupational accidents in the construction industry. Another of his research interests is how international trade agreements are re-shaping domestic health policy in the countries which are signatories to them and, particularly, the GATS and TRIPS agreements. The implications of applying trade law to health issues is an area of increasing interest to students of public policy, as well as economists and political scientists and an important subject for multi-disciplinary research.

    In his teaching, Dr Calvert focuses on the ongoing debate about the future of Canada’s public health care system, domestic and international pharmaceutical policy, labour relations in the Canadian health sector and the implications of trade agreements on health policy. He is particularly interested in encouraging students to examine some of the major public policy issues that are now shaping our health care system.

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