The owners of a private electricity generating station are asking Nakusp Village councillors to support their drive for more choice for power customers.
Hal Wright and Vida Turok own Silversmith Power and Light, an historic generating station in Sandon. But while the station has produced power from water flowing downhill for more than a century, it faces an uphill struggle to get that power to market.
“Supposing the government ruled that only Toyota owners would be allowed to use the highways,” they said in their brief. “This would certainly trigger a revolt and the scenario seems farfetched. But, in reality, our publicly funded electrical grid (our electrical highway) is used by BC Hydro to limit the movement of electricity to itself and its “friends” in order to restrict who can use it.”
Wright told councillors that the power BC produces, while “renewable and clean,” was not “green” energy. And BC Hydro’s monopoly on transmission lines has made small, truly green producers like them struggle to survive – and many local ones, like Homestead Hydro on Seaton Creek, haven’t.
“This local green business is now dead and because the grid is monopolistically controlled, they cannot even send their green electricity to markets that are wanting it,” Wright told council.
If council passed a motion endorsing the idea of using truly ‘green’ electricity, the couple says it could open enormous possibilities for the community.
“This area could be a leading green electricity provider to other areas that have a shortage, but ownership of the grid is currently a problem,” they said in their brief. “The Nakusp area has similar green electricity potential as Nelson. Not only can our area be 100% green, we could have millions of dollars more per year in our communities to pursue our cultural and environmental dreams.”
They told council Silversmith P&L could sell Nakusp ‘green’ power at the same rate BC Hydro charges – if they were allowed to.
The company’s request – one it’s brought to other local governments in the last year – was for council to pass a motion to “strive to procure and utilize certified green electricity to power all municipally owned buildings, pumps and street lighting as soon as it can be made available.” They said council could then write a letter to the BC Utilities Commission asking it to clear the roadblocks BC Hydro puts up to the sale of ‘green’ power.
Council directed staff to draw up a letter for consideration at the next meeting.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice