“Greens fully support having a publicly owned crown utility, but it must be for the benefit of Manitobans. As a crown utility, the highest degree of transparency should apply. Manitoba Hydro needs to make all the details of its export contracts publicly available, so the people of Manitoba can determine for themselves if further exports to the U.S. are detrimental or beneficial,” said Green Party of Manitoba Leader James Beddome.
Manitoba Hydro is planning to build around $20 billion in new generating stations and transmission lines, largely to fuel exports to the United States.
The Manitoba Public Utilities Board (PUB) has warned that electricity prices in Manitoba could soar as customers end up subsidizing export sales to the Unites States. The PUB has asked Manitoba Hydro to consider alternative construction plans. The PUB and Manitoba Hydro are also now before the courts wrangling over access to Manitoba Hydro's export contracts with neighbouring U.S. power utilities.
“New management should create new opportunities for a new mandate and new ideas,” said Beddome following the announcement of the forthcoming retirement of Manitoba Hydro CEO Bob Brennan, adding, “but unfortunately, comments by Manitoba Hydro Board Chairman Vic Schroeder indicate that Manitoba Hydro intends to continue to pursue the same worrisome path of 'new infrastructure and export initiatives'.”
Greens support renaming the crown corporation to Manitoba Energy, with a new mandate to pursue conservation first and alternative renewable forms of energy beyond hydro-electric second.
“We would not build Keeyask, Conawapa, or Bipole III until a full assessment on the potential for energy conservation has taken place. The era of the hydro-electric mega project is over, Greens understand that the future of energy is in decentralization and micro-generation,” added Beddome