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North Coast B.C. electrification

We're planning to build new and expand existing transmission infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace to help us meet the growing demand from customers for clean, reliable electricity to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to support the objectives of our Electrification Plan and the Government of B.C.'s CleanBC plan.

What's new

January 2024

We're working to refine the routes for the Prince George to Glenannan Transmission (PGGT) project and to identify routes within the study corridors for the Glenannan to Terrace Transmission (GTTT) project. Our next round of open houses to discuss the projects and routes will be in spring 2024.

Early engagement with our Indigenous partners on PGGT and GTTT is underway and this aligns with our commitment to co-design the project assessment and explore Indigenous co-ownership of the proposed new transmission lines, as well other means of Indigenous participation.

To make the most effective use of the existing 500 kilovolt (kV) infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace, we're looking at making thermal upgrades along the lines so that they can carry the same amount of electricity as the new lines. This will be done by increasing the distance between the lines and the ground.

Based on the level and location of potential demand identified in the Expression of Interest (EOI) responses, new transmission infrastructure may also be needed north, south, and west of Terrace.

See what we're planning for details.

The North Coast of B.C. is seeing significant growth in many areas, including ports, mining, clean fuels, technology and liquified natural gas. While industry has expressed an interest in using clean electricity to replace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the potential electricity demand exceeds the capacity of the existing transmission lines and associated infrastructure.

To meet the growing demand, and to support the objectives of our Electrification Plan and the Government of B.C.'s CleanBC plan to lower climate-changing emissions, we need to expand our transmission infrastructure in the region including building new transmission lines, expanding substations, and expanding or building new capacitor stations.

Transmission system expansion also gives us a chance to advance reconciliation by partnering with First Nations on new approaches to infrastructure development, including exploring Indigenous co-ownership of the new transmission lines.

The North Coast of B.C. is supplied by 450 km of 500 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines from Williston Substation near Prince George to Skeena Substation near Terrace. Glenannan and Telkwa substations are also located along the 500 kV lines.

From Terrace, 287 kV transmission lines head north towards the Aiyansh substation near Gitlaxt'aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh), south to Kitimat and west to Prince Rupert.

To meet growing industrial customer electricity demand, we're planning to build new 500 kV transmission lines and associated infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace and thermally upgrading the existing 500 kV transmission lines from Prince George to Terrace. We may also need to expand our transmission system beyond Terrace.

New 500 kV transmission infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace

We're planning to build the new 500 kV transmission lines and associated infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace through two projects.

Prince George to Glenannan Transmission Project (PGGT)

  • An approximately 170 km line from Williston to Glenannan substation with expansion of a capacitor station and Williston Substation.

Glenannan to Terrace Transmission Project (GTTT)

  • An approximately 130 km line from Glenannan to Telkwa substation, and
  • An approximately 145 km line from Telkwa substation to Skeena substation.
  • Additional infrastructure requirements are being determined but will include expansions to or new capacitor stations and substation expansions.

North Coast Electrification project map

North Coast Electrification project map

Select the map [PDF, 1.7 MB] to view it at a larger size.
 

For both projects, we're working to identify and assess route options that are within existing BC Hydro rights-of-way or parallel to them, where possible, to mitigate potential project effects. We're in the early planning stage and the exact routes of these lines are not yet determined. We'll continue to communicate project information as it becomes available. Additional information on the projects is available on the project specific webpages for which links are provided above.

Thermal upgrades of existing 500 kV transmission lines from Prince George to Terrace

To make the most effective use of the existing 500 kV infrastructure from Prince George to Terrace, we’re looking at making thermal upgrades along the lines so that they can carry the same amount of electricity as the new lines. This will ensure that we can reliably deliver the electricity needed to the North Coast even if one of the lines is out of service.

Current carried along a line causes it to heat up and sag. At the higher current level, there are existing areas where there won't be enough clearance between the lines and the ground to operate safely. To ensure we can continue to safely deliver electricity, we're working to identify areas where we need to increase the clearance between the lines and the ground.

There are various ways of doing this including "tightening" the existing lines to raise them, removing high spots (e.g., boulders or rock outcrops), moving infrastructure (e.g., roads) to areas with more clearance, lifting the lines by adding new mid-span towers, raising the towers by inserting steel sections, or rebuilding the towers. Once we've identified where more clearance is needed, we'll determine the best way to address each site.

Although we're starting the studies related to this work, most of the upgrading of the lines is not expected to start until after the new lines are operational.

Transmission system expansion past Terrace

Based on the level and location of potential demand identified in the EOI responses, new transmission infrastructure may also be needed north, south, and west of Terrace. To help determine future needs, we studied different demand scenarios (e.g., amount and location of demand) to help us understand what the existing infrastructure can handle and the type of new infrastructure that may be needed.

Studies indicate the following infrastructure is needed; however, this will ultimately depend on which customer projects advance:

  • South: a new line to Kitimat built to 500 kV standards but initially operated at 287 kV and a new substation.
  • North: a new 500 kV line to Gitlaxt'aamiks (formerly New Aiyansh) and a new substation.
  • West: a new 287 kV substation and new line extended from Prince Rupert to the port.

We're still in the very early stages of this work and the process for how to advance any infrastructure beyond Terrace needs further discussion with governments, First Nations, and stakeholders.

The Prince George to Terrace Capacitors Project (PGTC) is under construction. Through this project, we're building three new capacitor stations along the existing 500 kV lines from Williston Substation near Prince George to Skeena Substation near Terrace to allow more electricity to pass through these lines. PGTC is anticipated to be in service by 2028 and electricity to be provided by the project is already fully subscribed.

We're also undertaking the Northwest Substations Outage Mitigation project to mitigate potential outages by replacing equipment at Minette, Skeena, Glenannan, and Williston substations and working to interconnect customers to our system.

We continue to engage with our current and prospective customers who responded to our Expression of Interest to indicate their interest in taking electricity service from us and inform us of their electricity needs. If you didn't participate in the Expression of Interest but are interested in connecting to the BC Hydro transmission system west of Prince George, please email us for more information. Register to receive email updates about the project and the process for prospective customers.

Engagement on the projects we're planning to support North Coast electrification is ongoing, and we look forward to discussing our progress with you.

In spring 2023 we held in-person open houses in Prince George, Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Smithers, and Terrace and also hosted two virtual open houses to discuss PGGT and GTTT. See reports and documents below to view the information presented at the open houses. As planning for PGGT and GTTT and other North Coast electrification initiatives progresses, we'll hold more open houses to discuss our plans with you. We're planning our next round of open houses for spring 2024.

Please feel free to contact us at any time.

We're in the early study phase of assessing interest from potential customers and gathering information about the transmission corridors and routes for the proposed new transmission infrastructure. We'll provide more information on the schedules of individual projects as they move ahead.

Contact us

If you'd like to learn more about North Coast Electrification, please contact us at:

Email: projects@bchydro.com
Toll free: 1 866 647 3334
 

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Receive updates and information about North Coast electrification by subscribing below. If you'd like to sign up to receive updates about the North Coast Expression of Interest, please visit the Expression of Interest page.

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