BC Hydro receives significant interest from North Coast industries looking to use clean electricity
May 24, 2023
VANCOUVER: BC Hydro received significant interest from industrial customers in the North Coast region wanting to use clean electricity to power their operations instead of fossil fuels, indicating strong support for advancing planning of the proposed 500 kilovolt transmission infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace.
“B.C. is on the frontlines of climate change and we’re already seeing the impacts on people and communities. British Columbians have made it clear that we need to meet our climate targets and move forward as a clean energy leader,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Government is focused on accelerating the electrification of B.C.’s economy and powering more of our industries with clean, renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels while creating good, sustainable jobs.”
In January, BC Hydro announced it would issue an Expression of Interest in response to the significant anticipated industrial growth in the North Coast region. The purpose was to gather information about electricity needs and assess interest in connecting to the transmission system to ensure that BC Hydro’s plans reflect demand in the region. The Expression of Interest opened on February 15 and closed on April 11.
BC Hydro received 29 submissions in response. As expected, interest came from a diverse range of current and prospective industrial customers across economic sectors, including mining, ports, hydrogen, liquified natural gas, and others. The mining sector accounted for the largest number of individual submissions and the hydrogen sector accounted for the largest amount of proposed future demand. Providing access to clean, renewable electricity will encourage economic development while reducing and avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, which supports the CleanBC climate targets, the StrongerBC economic plan, as well as B.C. and Canada’s critical minerals strategies.
“BC Hydro is committed to working with industrial customers interested in using our clean electricity to power their operations and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We know the North Coast region is seeing substantial growth in many sectors – and the response to the Expression of Interest confirmed that,” said Chris O’Riley, President and CEO of BC Hydro. “With the electricity needs described in the submissions, the interest is significant and a strong indicator that moving ahead with planning of the proposed new 500 kilovolt transmission lines from Prince George to Terrace is the right decision.”
The Expression of Interest submissions have allowed BC Hydro to understand customer electricity needs earlier in the planning process, which will help optimize new potential transmission infrastructure, allow for meaningful engagement with First Nations and local governments, and facilitate timely customer interconnections. The diversity of industries, as well as the magnitude of the potential demand, are clear signals that new transmission infrastructure between Prince George and Terrace is needed.
BC Hydro will continue discussions with First Nations on opportunities for co-ownership of the new transmission lines from Prince George to Terrace. BC Hydro will also continue to work with prospective customers to advance their interconnection requests, which includes providing a financial commitment.
BC Hydro is already taking steps to upgrade its infrastructure west of Prince George by constructing the Prince George to Terrace Capacitors project, which will increase the region’s transmission capacity by about 600 megawatts – or about 60 per cent. However, this increase will only meet short-term demand and will not address the demand identified by prospective customers through the Expression of Interest.
About 98 per cent of the power BC Hydro generates comes from clean or renewable resources mostly powered by water. As a leader in clean energy generation, BC Hydro is committed to advancing B.C.’s clean energy future and providing support for innovative projects. Industry represents the greatest opportunity for electrification, contributing about 40 per cent of B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions. That is why fully, or partially electrifying industries is key to meeting CleanBC goals.
More information about the Expression of Interest can be found at bchydro.com/northcoast.
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468