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NDP critics question BC Hydro taking 'flyer' on untested Finavera

New Democratic Party MLAs yesterday criticized the contracts B.C. Hydro awarded to an unproven wind energy company through a recent clean energy call.

“Of the thousands of wind turbines and companies in the world we chose one to give four contracts to that's never done it before,” said energy, mines and petroleum resources critic John Horgan. “That's curious to me.”

Yesterday the Tyee reported on the contracts awarded to Finavera Renewables Inc. and the past work of some of the company's principles for Accenture, a company that won contracts to do work previously done in-house at B.C. Hydro.

Horgan and finance critic Bruce Ralston raised questions about the Finavera contracts during question period.

“They gave four contracts to a company that's never built a wind turbine in their lives,” Horgan said in the hallway following question period. “It seems to me if you're going to take a flyer on a company that's taking its first shot at something you would probably give them one contract.”

Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources minister Blair Lekstrom said B.C. Hydro staff made the decision to enter the agreements with Finavera. “They go through a rigorous process to evaluate all the applications they receive under the clean energy call,” he said.

“It is interesting to hear the questions come today,” he said. “It's a bit of a show for them, but it's a serious issue and I think the public needs to understand these energy purchase agreements go through a rigorous evaluation. Not only do they do that, they then go before the B.C. Utilities Commission to see if they're in the public interest.”

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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