BC Hydro’s $6 billion, 3-year regeneration plan meets growing power needs

With aging infrastructure in need of significant upgrades and B.C.’s demand for electricity projected to grow by 40 per cent in the next 20 years, BC Hydro today provided updated details about its $6 billion, three-year capital investment strategy aimed at meeting the public’s current and future demands for clean, reliable electricity.

In a statement, the utility said that as part of its three-year plan, it will submit one of its largest-ever applications to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for approval of an $800-million upgrade of the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse. Located near Mission, B.C., the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse has not received significant upgrades or modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s. It will also create approximately 1,050 person-years of employment during construction.

Over the next three years, BC Hydro will be in a regeneration phase, investing to renew and expand the province’s electricity system. While this phase will put upward pressure on rates, BC Hydro is committed to maintaining among the lowest rates for electricity in North America. These investments are required to improve and replace aging facilities that were built primarily between 1950 and 1980, ranging from upgrading dams and generating stations, to building entirely new transmission lines linking existing and new substations, and much more. BC Hydro will also continue its focus on important conservation strategies through projects like Smart Meters and Power Smart to help meet the Clean Energy Act target of meeting 66 per cent of new electricity demand through conservation and efficiency by 2020.

“The upgrades at Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse are just one example of the real need to keep our heritage assets working hard for British Columbians,” Energy Minister Steve Thomson said in the statement issued by BC Hydro.

“B.C. is growing and electricity is the backbone of that economic growth. We need to maintain our competitive advantage of having among the lowest rates in North America, while at the same time investing in our facilities to ensure British Columbians continue to enjoy safe, clean and reliable electricity for future generations to come.”

Highlights of BC Hydro’s three-year capital investments and conservation strategy, including videos, photos and backgrounders, have all been posted to bchydro.com/media and include:

“At BC Hydro, we are committed to our regeneration strategy – it is critical to our province and all of our customers. We also recognize the infrastructure upgrades will put upward pressure on rates which may be challenging for many people,” BC Hydro President and CEO Dave Cobb said in the statement.

“We will continue to make prudent decisions on behalf of our customers while also providing them with tools they can use to help manage their own energy use and minimize the impact on their monthly electricity bills.”