The cost of building new energy projects these days is staggering, just as it must have been for earlier generations in this province when the big hydro dams we currently have were built. A prime example of these staggering construction costs is the recently revised cost estimate to build the Site C dam, which has now risen to $7.9 billion. With project costs like these in the billions of dollars, it’s easy to understand why B.C. Hydro and the provincial government are keen to promote energy conservation and to shift some of the costs, and the risks, of new energy projects away from taxpayers and onto the private sector.
Fortunately there is a clear and immediate benefit to the billions being spent on new energy projects: the creation of tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs – and jobs are very important to young people like myself. Site C alone is expected to create as many as 35,000 direct and indirect jobs over its seven years of construction, with smaller private-sector energy projects likely doubling that number.
With electricity demand expected to rise by as much as 45 per cent in this province over the next 20 years, we’re going to need the new energy that big projects like Site C and a network of smaller private sector energy projects can provide. So although energy projects may be costly, they are vital and a well warranted investment in our economy and in job creation, for our future and for our present.