BC Hydro pares bid list for Clean Power, calls for price cuts
Names of successful bidders still under wraps
BC Hydro will begin awarding electricity sales contracts in December after paring its Clean Power Call list to 13 successful bidders and asking for lower price bids from 34 other hopefuls, the Crown corporation announced on Tuesday.
A further 21 proposals out of the original list of 68 green-power projects announced last year have been dropped for various reasons, including a lack of preparation or individual decisions to withdraw.
The corporation is not disclosing which proposals are successful and which ones may not make the final cut, citing a desire to keep all bids as competitive as possible.
Hydro last year received a total of 68 bids for 17,000 gigawatt hours of power annually, and the trimmed-down list now totals 13,000 gigawatt hours from 47 projects put forward by 31 proponents.
That's still almost three times the amount of power -- 5,000 gigawatt hours -- that Hydro is looking to contract from the clean call, primarily from run-of-river hydro and wind power projects for development of electricity for delivery onto the BC Hydro grid.
Companies with proven track records such as Vancouver-based Cloudworks Energy are on the list of 47 remaining projects, but Hydro is not specifying which projects are among the 13 considered the best candidates.
Others listed include Plutonic Power's massive Bute Inlet run-of-river hydro project, and the Naikun Wind/Haida Nation offshore wind park proposal.
"BC Hydro is committed to working with companies that provide clean, renewable power to find new sources of cost-effective energy to help meet new energy demand as we look towards serving future generations of customers in the province," said Bob Elton, BC Hydro president and chief executive officer, in a press release.
"BC Hydro will now move forward with discussions aimed at securing electricity purchase agreements with the proponents of the 13 proposals that have been identified as the most cost-effective," the press release said.
"In addition, BC Hydro will provide an opportunity for the proponents of the remaining 34 proposals to make their proposals more cost-effective.
Hydro said it intends to begin awarding contracts in December, and plans to file them with the BC Utilities Commission for final disposal in early 2010.
Paul Kariya, executive director of Independent Power Producers Association of B.C., welcomed the announcement, saying it would help position B.C. as "a North American leader in clean energy and in the effort to tackle climate change, for the benefit of all British Columbians."
"The Clean Call will drive sustainable economic growth and create jobs while reducing our province's carbon footprint," said Kariya in a press release. "Many of these projects will deliver significant benefits and opportunities to local communities and First Nations."
"All the  proposals are still alive," Hydro spokeswoman Susan Danard said in an interview. "Some could move in and out of that group of 13 that we are really honing in on.
"If you look at all the proposals that are advancing, 13 plus 34, what it gets us is 13,000 gigawatt hours of energy per year. So even with the ones that have been eliminated, we are still left with a very healthy, competitive call. It's good news for our ratepayers because it means we have a variety of good projects to look at and it's competitive."
She said it's up to proponents who may not make the final cut to decide if they want to push ahead, knowing that the odds of getting a contract are shrinking because some projects have already been accepted.
"We are giving them an opportunity to go back and have further discussions with us. We are saying 'We can't go straight into negotiating an electricity purchase agreement with you but we don't want to eliminate you