About SOP Optimization

Current SOP prices haven't changed since 2010

Established in 2008, the Standing Offer Program hasn't had a price update since the Clean Power Call in 2010. We're now looking at ways to reflect changing circumstances in the clean energy sector generally and in B.C, while at the same time keeping rates low for ratepayers. We're also operating under the 10-year Rates Plan, which places constraints on rate increases.

Going forward, the SOP must reflect future system needs while keeping electricity rates low for ratepayers. As we explore ways of optimizing the SOP, it'll be important to consider technological improvements that have led to declining development costs, in particular with resources such as wind. Recent procurement offers in other jurisdictions as well as industry analysis have confirmed that, in general, clean energy projects are being developed at a lower price than current SOP prices.

Advisory Committee to focus on the changing needs of the electrical system

Utilities along the Pacific Northwest, including BC Hydro, have an oversupply of energy during the late spring and early summer period (May through to July). We're also expecting to be in need of new capacity resources in the near and long-term.

We need to focus on acquiring electricity that better fits the needs of the system. For example, dependable capacity is becoming increasingly more important than energy in the mid to long term. As such, we’ll be looking at how to encourage the development of resources that can provide dependable capacity.

To ensure the SOP Optimization process is aligned with the objectives of the new MOU between the Government of B.C., Clean Energy BC and BC Hydro, we're establishing an Advisory Committee to help design the Optimization process, develop the scope and work plan.

The Advisory Committee will provide input and recommendations on these key activities:

  • Develop a mechanism to incent projects with capacity and interconnection-related benefits
  • Develop a mechanism to incent projects that have an energy delivery profile that matches system needs
  • Explore the merits of expanding the 15 MW SOP cap
  • Determine SOP and Micro-SOP base prices by aligning the price with recent technological advancements and changing system needs.

While the SOP Optimization process is under way, the current SOP eligibility criteria on generation technology (clean or renewable resources, regardless of and fuel and technology type) will be maintained.

The SOP Optimization process sets out the high level scope of the work to be carried out and representation on the Advisory Committee.