Friday, August 7, 2009

Damien Gillis explains run-of-river

Bute Inlet. Photo Damien Gillis

The BC Utilities Commission, the province's independent regulatory agency for gas and electricity, has just rejected BC Hydro's 2008 call for power. This effectively brings the entire "IPP" river privatization scheme championed by the Campbell government down to its knees.

It's not game over yet for the transnational corporations involved in those projects, but it certainly is a strategic victory towards the protection of Bute Inlet and other BC rivers and watersheds. Plutonic Power's stock, for example, crashed a whopping 24.5% on the day after the announcement.

I am posting a must-hear radio interview by Damien Gillis, one of Vancouver's most talented environmental documentary makers and a personal friend. He talks about this groundbreaking BC Utilities Commission's decision, as well as "run-of-river" private power projects in general.

In less than 15 minutes Damien lays down in plain English all we need to know about the Campbell government's agenda to privatize BC's rivers and what is so wrong about it.

His eloquence is quite contagious. Simi Sara, the radio show host, is altogether baffled at how advanced some of those private projects are ("I had no idea") and worked up about taking action.

This decision is a key milestone in what promises to be a very long struggle. The Campbell government is reported to be preparing a counter attack that could potentially involve overriding the BCUC's decision, something that would be tantamount to an act of war against the independent regulatory body.

To be continued, obviously.