Bridge River system upgrades

Aerial view of the Bridge 2 powerhouse
The Bridge River facilities have over 100 projects requiring refurbishment of aging equipment. We're upgrading it to modern standards with a project budget of nearly $400 million.

Update on Bridge-Seton operations

In mid-August, the Seton Generating Unit was forced out of service due to an equipment failure that will take six to eight weeks to repair. This has required some changes to water management in the Bridge-Seton system.

With the unit out of service water must be released down Seton River, released down Lower Bridge River or stored in the upstream reservoirs (Carpenter and Downton). Recognizing that salmon are currently migrating up the Seton River, we want to manage flows to a level that does not unduly impact the fish in Seton River, while at the same time maintaining flows down Lower Bridge River.

To achieve this, we'll temporarily increase flows in the Seton River during a lull in the Sockeye migration this September and then bring flows back to levels that support the start of the Portage Creek Sockeye run. In addition, to manage flows arising from fall storms, we may need to incrementally use additional storage in Downton (known as a surcharge) to mitigate against any potential high flows down Lower Bridge and/or Seton River.

BC Hydro's Bridge River system is about 300 km north of Vancouver and consists of the Lajoie Dam and Powerhouse (Downton Reservoir), Bridge 1 and 2 Powerhouses (Terzaghi Dam and Carpenter Lake Reservoir) and Seton Dam and Powerhouse (Seton Lake).

Construction started in 2015, and is scheduled to complete in 2019.

We're planning more than 100 major projects in the system, including:

  • Generating unit upgrades at Bridge 2
  • Slope drainage improvements

Our Bridge River facilities are between 55 and 70 years old, and need to be updated.

The electricity generated on the system accounts for about 6% of BC Hydro's total generation. These facilities are capable of generating 550 MW of power but are currently restricted to less than 455 MW.

We're spending almost $700 million on facilities that are 55 to 70 years-old. This includes a number of projects in the region.