Amendments to the Clean Energy Act will do little or nothing to address affordability and could pose serious risks to B.C’s energy sovereignty if the province becomes dependent on energy infrastructure south of the U.S. border, and subject to the politics that have plagued NAFTA in recent years says the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Monica Lamb Yorski photo)

Amendments to the Clean Energy Act will do little or nothing to address affordability and could pose serious risks to B.C’s energy sovereignty if the province becomes dependent on energy infrastructure south of the U.S. border, and subject to the politics that have plagued NAFTA in recent years says the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Monica Lamb Yorski photo)

Tsilhqot’in Nation sounds alarm on proposed amendments to Clean Energy Act

Bill 17 has received its first reading

The Tsilhqot’in Nation is the latest B.C. First Nation calling on the NDP government to suspend amendments to the province’s Clean Energy Act and honour the law and their commitment to consult with First Nations.

Tabled under Bill 17, the amendment seeks to eliminate self-sufficiency from the Clean Energy Act which currently requires BC Hydro to meet forecast domestic demand only through its own electricity generation or by purchasing it from independent power producers (IPPs).

Located 80 kilometres west of Williams Lake along Highway 20, the Tsilhqot’in Nation worked for years to a build a 1.25-megawatt solar farm that only began feeding the B.C. Hydro grid this spring.

“Proceeding with Bill 17 at this point would be a blatant betrayal of all this government has said about its respect for and willingness to work with First Nations,” Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross said in a news release.

“The proposed amendments have profound implications for the economic and social well-being of Indigenous peoples in B.C., yet absolutely no meaningful engagement took place before this bill was brought forward.”

Read More: B.C. First Nation-owned solar farm connected to the grid

Bill 17 will have no impact on the the 25-year electricity purchase agreement between the Tsilhqot’in Nation and BC Hydro, according to the B.C. government.

Clean Energy BC executive director Laureen Whyte said the amendment will enable BC Hydro and its wholly owned subsidiary Powerex Corp. to freely import energy from other jurisdictions, primarily the U.S., rather than just in B.C. 

She said while existing contracts between BC Hydro and IPPs will be not impacted, they are concerned for IPPs whose electricity purchase agreements will soon be expiring.

“We’re concerned that those will not be renewed so existing facilities will be stranded capital. For IPPs that are in development phase it means there will be no future opportunity for those to actually get built,” she said.

Read More: NDP changing B.C. Hydro rules to import clean electricity

Representing 14 B.C. First Nations on Vancouver Island, the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council is also concerned with the proposed amendments to the Clean Energy Act and said 13 of the Nations are involved in the development and production of clean energy or want to be.

President Judith Sayers said it was a surprise the amendment was done.

“They [BC Government] did have a Phase 2 review of BC Hydro and asked people about self-sufficiency. An interim report which was meant to be a discussion paper did not have any conclusions regarding self sufficiency,” she stated in a news release.

“If they really cared about what people in B.C. are concerned about, why didn’t they wait for the final report with recommendations? If they were going to do what they want, why bother wasting everyone’s time in responding to the Phase 2 report?”

Read More: BC Hydro seeing 10% dip in electricity demand, concerned about reservoir spillover

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources noted market prices are forecast to range from $23 to $41 per megawatt hour for the foreseeable future whereas pricing under the stand-alone program was at around $110 per megawatt hour.

“We are dedicated to electrifying our economy and meeting our Clean BC goals. This requires maintaining affordable electricity —something we won’t have if we had kept the standing offer program,” the ministry said in an e-mailed response.

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Alternative energyBC governmentFirst Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Yunesit'in Government in partnership with the BC Wildfire Service will be conducting a prescribed burn seven kilometres west of the community and 25 kilometres south of Alexis Creek on the south side of the Chilcotin River. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Prescribed burning planned to reduce wildfire risk near Yunesit’in

Burning may begin as early as April 13 in partnership with BC Wildfire Service

An aerial view of the Williams Lake Stockyards taken during a flyover in 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale in its 84th year

This year’s sale will be online and in person

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society communications officer Brianna van de Wijngaard reflects on World Water Day March 22. (Photo submitted)
DOWN TO EARTH: World Water Day means something different for everyone

This year’s World Water Day theme was Valuing Water

Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis (from left), Jeremy Stoward of New Path Forestry, WLCC Boitanio Bike Park director Andrew Hutchinson accept a cheque from Williams Lake and District Credit Union investment specialist Abigail King. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Cycling Club gets bike park donation to bolster upgrades, maintenance

Plans are to complete three rideable lines each year, he added

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read