In the fall of 2002, the British Columbia government released the BC Energy Plan. As part of this plan, BC Hydro, our publicly owned electric utility, is restricted from developing new generation facilities other than those in which it has already made significant investments. Furthermore, the BC Energy Plan instructs BC Hydro to acquire new supplies from the private sector. According to the Plan, 50% of new electricity needs are to come from conservation; however, much of the focus to date has been on developing new privately owned generating facilities.
Much has been written about the potential effects of the energy plan on electrical rates and the future of our publicly owned electrical utility; however, most British Columbians are still unaware of the extent of private hydro power development, the potential environmental consequences of this development, and the loss of sovereign control of our rivers.
In 2007, while researching these issues, I developed a Google Earth map of current and proposed private hydro electric projects in British Columbia. Subsequently, I reproduced the map in Google Maps for those who are unable to run Google Earth. Both presentations of the map are updated regularly.
I encourage all citizens of BC to explore the map and resources presented here, become informed about hydro power projects in their communities and become involved at all opportunities for public input. Only through active participation can we direct the use and conservation of these resources in an environmentally responsible way, for the long term benefit of local communities and all British Columbians.