While IPPs have been roundly denounced by many environmental organizations as damaging to the environment despite claims of being "green" by the private companies that run them, Suzuki has been mostly absent from that debate.
The issue has been controversial within the environmental movement, with some arguing that IPPs are a good option - Tzeporah Berman created a group called "Power Up" to promote such projects - while others, most notably the Wilderness Committee, opposing them strongly over the degradation that has resulted to BC rivers, streams and waterways and the lack of local control over their construction.
Without pre-judging what Suzuki will tell the IPP companies, his mere presence adds legitimacy to their cause - now under significant pressure as the Christy Clark BC Liberal government loses the fascination with IPPs that ex-Premier Gordon Campbell had.
Under Campbell's administration IPPs were given almost sole responsibility for new power generation, with publicly-owned BC Hydro prohibited from any new projects.
That "liquid goldrush" made millions for IPP owners, who signed lucrative long-term contracts with BC Hydro to provide electricity at rates up to dozens of times more expensive than the Crown corporation's own hydroelectric dam system.
BC is now on the hook for over $50 billion in electricity contracts with IPPs!
Suzuki has been a lightning rod for the federal Conservative government - to the extent that he announced his departure from the group he co-founded - the David Suzuki Foundation - after attacks on its funding and charitable status.
And Berman recently left Greenpeace for similar reasons.
Perhaps that's why in Suzuki's conversation with Kariya the words "fundraising" and "Tzeporah Berman" came up.
Certainly those attending the $1,075 per member/$1,275 non-member conference price have some money in their pockets.
I might ask him but given his past behaviour towards me, that's unlikely to be productive!
UPDATE MONDAY NIGHT:
Some comments to me and on Facebook have suggested I wait to see what David Suzuki says to the Clean Energy BC conference before making judgement. I have two responses:
1) Suzuki is almost surely being paid a big fee for speaking - and even if not, he won't be there to denounce their bad habits, because:
2) You can tell where this is going from Tweets from the David Suzuki Foundation's Ian Bruce - their "climate change and clean energy Team Lead":
Ian Bruce on Twitter:
"Wanna know the most under reported story on BC's economy? (1/3)
BC's clean energy sector now employs 9000 people /w avg salary of $77k (2/3)
BC cleantech sales increased a whopping 48% between 2008 & 2010. Awesome! (3/3)"
Looks like a "clean sweep" on what Suzuki will tell the IPP crowd.