PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – BC Hydro is putting energy infrastructure into overdrive.
The electricity utility will build at an “unprecedented level of construction over the next 10 years,” a B.C. government release said, with a $36 billion investment from the province.
“We must expand our electrical system like never before, to power industrial development, to power our homes and businesses, to power our future. Clean, affordable energy will help us meet that opportunity, while reducing pollution, securing good-paying jobs and creating new opportunities for our growing economy,” said B.C. Premier David Eby in a statement.
BC Hydro’s updated 10-year capital plan, Power Pathway: Building BC’s energy future, includes almost $36 billion in community and regional infrastructure investments throughout the province between 2024-25 and 2033-34, the release said, representing a 50 per cent increase over its previous $24 billion capital plan.
This will include a significant increase in electrification and emissions-reduction infrastructure projects with a nearly $10 billion investment, up from $1 billion.
The plan means to address growing electricity demand due to population growth and housing construction, increased industrial development and the ongoing switch from fossil fuels to clean electricity.
- Building new high-voltage transmission lines and supporting infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace to meet industrial customer demand in the north coast area, including in the mining sector;
- building or expanding substations and installing new equipment to support residential housing growth and transit electrification in high-growth areas across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island; and
- upgrading B.C.’s dams and generating facilities to make them safer, more reliable and more efficient.
“We’re taking action to build a clean energy future and create thousands of construction jobs for skilled workers as major infrastructure projects like Site C reach completion. Together with our first call for power in over 15 years, BC Hydro’s new capital plan – with almost $4 billion in spending every year for the next decade – will drive economic growth for communities all over the province and ensure households and businesses can power up with clean, reliable and affordable electricity,” said Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne.
In addition to the 10-year capital plan, Eby announced the province and BC Hydro are implementing a new one-window approval process to speed up approvals to get electricity to in-demand industries faster.
“Industrial greenhouse gas emissions make up about 40 per cent of B.C.’s total, so we need to work closely with the private sector to electrify rapidly to meet our CleanBC climate goals by 2030 and keep B.C. industries strong and competitive. This new, one-window approach will help companies reach final investment decisions sooner so they can move to a decarbonized future that will benefit our province for generations to come and meet the growing global demand and opportunities for low carbon commodities,” explained Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman.
The Climate Action Secretariat and BC Hydro will manage streamlined approvals for industrial electrification projects between the CleanBC Industry Fund and BC Hydro’s Large Customer Low Carbon Electrification programs, the release said.