Site C

Site C will be a hydroelectric dam and generating station on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia. The site will provide 1,100 megawatts of capacity and about 5,100 gigawatt hours of energy each year to the province’s integrated electricity system. In December of 2014, following a Joint Review Panel Process (JRP), the Site C project received approval from the federal government to proceed with its construction plans. The JRP concluded that effects of the Site C project are justified by the long-term benefits that it will provide.

Quick Facts About Site-C

  • Construction is slated to start summer 2015 with an intended completion date of 2024.
  • Site C will be a source of clean, reliable and affordable electricity in B.C. for more than 100 years.
  • Site C will provide enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in B.C.
  • Site C will be the third dam and generating station on the Peace River in northeast B.C.
  • Site C has an estimated capital cost of $8.8 billion. This includes construction and development costs, inflation, interest during construction, mitigation, First Nations accommodation and a significant contingency.
  • There is a $440 million project reserve held by the provincial government to protect against unforeseen circumstances.
  • Site C will use water already stored behind the W.A.C. Bennett Dam to generate about 35 per cent of the energy with only five per cent of the reservoir area.


  • Hydroelectric dams are among the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, per gigawatt hour, compared to other resource options.
  • Hydroelectric dams have lower, more predictable costs for customers than other energy options.
  • The Peace River Regional District, and its member communities, will be given $2.4 million annually for 70 years as part of a Regional Legacy Benefits Agreement. In addition, Community Agreements have been reached with Chetwynd and Taylor, and discussions are continuing with other communities.
  • Approximately 10,000 person years of direct employment will be generated during construction; 33,000 person years of employment in total.
  • Approximately $40 million in tax revenues will be generated for local governments during construction; $2 million in revenue from grants-in-lieu and school taxes during operations.

Potential Negatives

  • While CO2 emissions with hydroelectric dams are light (18-30 times less than natural gas), destructive methane gas is emitted when plants decompose due to the flooding caused by the creation of a new dam.
  • Damming rivers, in aggregate, converts valleys into lakes that displace humans and wildlife.
  • Slower river flow rates deposit sediment that permanently alters the river.
  • Changes to the marine environment can alter and in some instances destroy fish and bird habitats.
  • Farm land may be flooded, and contamination from the dam can pollute downstream water.
  • Some of the to-be flooded land contains First Nations heritage sites, and 20 families of long-time ranchers in the Site C area will be displaced.

Our Position

With the fulfillment of – and strict adherence to – the 80 Conditions established by the JRP, British Columbians for Prosperity fully supports the development of the Site C Dam.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett estimates a 40 per cent increase in electricity demand over the next 20 years, as BC’s population grows by a million and commercial demand grows in tandem. The vast majority of BC’s electricity – 86 per cent – comes from hydro, from a network of rapidly aging hydroelectric dams. Critics argue that B.C. could fill its needs with renewable solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal power but these technologies are decades away from being able to satisfying demand.

The Joint Review Panel concluded Site C would cause damage to environment, wildlife, aboriginals and farmers. That said, they also agreed the advantages are clear and the alternatives few. This dam will provide ample energy with few carbon emissions. Balancing our province’s future power needs with the unmistakable environmental and human damage of this project is unusually tricky. The Site C Dam has its drawbacks, but it’s necessary – therefore, British Columbians for Prosperity supports the project.

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Who We Are

British Columbians for Prosperity is an independent group of concerned British Columbians. We are committed to establishing an economic, environmental and social climate where all British Columbians and our children will prosper.
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