News Release

BCUC approves Ruskin dam and powerhouse upgrades

Project to generate jobs, improve safety and provide environmental benefits

Mission – The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) has given BC Hydro the green light to proceed with upgrades to the Ruskin powerhouse and dam that will improve the seismic safety and reliability of the 82-year-old facility.

The decision means BC Hydro may now begin construction on the significant upgrades, creating economic opportunities for local businesses and generating about 175 jobs a year during the project’s six years of construction.

The BCUC panel determined that “the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project is necessary and in the public interest as it is the most cost-effective long-term solution” compared with deferring the work, de-rating (powering down) the facility, or decommissioning the site and removing the dam.
In its decision, the BCUC panel said the facility has seismic deficiencies “which require remediation to mitigate public and employee safety, financial and environmental risks.” The BCUC also noted that “the age and condition of the existing (generating) units at the Ruskin facility represent a significant risk to reliability.”

Quotes

Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines:
“I am very pleased that the British Columbia Utilities Commission recognizes that BC Hydro must invest in heritage assets like the 82-year-old Ruskin facility to retain their value for future generations. With seismic improvements to the dam and powerhouse, and new generating equipment, this facility will continue to deliver clean, reliable power to the Lower Mainland for 75 years or more.”

Marc Dalton, MLA Maple Ridge – Mission:
“This is fantastic news for Mission families and businesses as our government moves forward with the BC Jobs Plan. The Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project will create hundreds of jobs during the construction phase and ensure that residents throughout the Lower Mainland continue to have a clean and sustainable supply of electricity for decades to come.”
 
Chris O’Riley, Executive Vice President, Generation, BC Hydro:
“BC Hydro is pleased that the BCUC approved all four components of the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project: reinforcement of the right bank, seismic upgrade of the dam and water intakes, powerhouse upgrades, and relocation of the switchyard. In addition to enhancing public safety, these upgrades will provide significant environmental benefits and improve fish habitat.”
 
Ted Adlem, Mayor, District of Mission:
“We are very pleased to hear the great news that the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project continues to move forward. The District of Mission is very supportive of the project and its many benefits from improved seismic performance, public safety, reliability and efficiency to the major jobs that will be created in our community. The District continues to work with BC Hydro through its multiple community engagement processes as this project moves forward.”

Facts:

  • The BCUC is an independent regulatory agency of the provincial government that operates under and administers the Utilities Commission Act.
  • The Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse is located in the District of Mission on the Stave River, north of Lougheed Highway at 287th Street, about 60 kilometres east of Vancouver.
  • The Ruskin powerhouse was commissioned in November 1930 when its first generating unit went into service. The second and third units were commissioned in 1938 and 1950. No substantial upgrades have been made since the third generating unit was added to the powerhouse.
  • With completion of the project, Ruskin’s three 38-megawatt generators will produce a total of 379 gigawatt hours of average energy per year.
  • The Ruskin powerhouse will continue to generate electricity throughout construction. Once complete, the upgraded Ruskin facility will supply clean and reliable power to the equivalent of close to 35,000 homes.
  • The upgrades will include:
    • A specially designed cut-off wall to manage seepage flows and improve seismic withstand on the right abutment of the dam.
    • Replacing the existing spillway concrete piers and the roadway bridge deck to address seismic deficiencies.
    • Replacing the seven existing spillway gates with five gates to address seismic deficiencies and improve reliability.
    • Upgrades to the penstocks and intake tunnels.
    • Upgrades to the left abutment.
    • Seismic upgrading of the powerhouse structure and rehabilitation and replacement of the three generating units, ancillary equipment, water conveyance, and control systems.
    • Building a new switchyard on the left bank behind the powerhouse. The old switchyard will be removed from the powerhouse roof.
  • The estimated cost of the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project is about $718 million.
  • The planned in-service date is March 2018.
  • For more information on the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project and to watch a project video, please visit www.bchydro.com/ruskin

About BC Hydro

Fifty years ago, British Columbians turned to BC Hydro to build the clean electricity system they count on to power B.C.'s economy, create jobs in every region, and keep the lights on. Now, BC Hydro is building again for the next 50 years. B.C. continues to grow and so has the need for more electricity. That’s why BC Hydro is building and renewing electricity infrastructure, and encouraging conservation to meet today’s needs and those of future generations.

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