BC Hydro adds one third of Waneta Dam to its heritage assets

By Posted by Susan Danard

BC Hydro is now the proud owner of one third of the Waneta dam and generating facility, located on the Pend D'Oreille River south of Trail, B.C. The purchase agreement with Teck Resources Limited closed on Friday, March 5.

The $825-million purchase will secure approximately 1,000 gigawatt hours of firm, clean electricity per year for BC Hydro customers – enough to supply 100,000 homes in B.C. annually at a cost of $64 per megawatt hour over the life of the dam.

This was a unique opportunity for BC Hydro because it enabled us to acquire an existing hydro-electricity facility with no additional environmental impact. With proper maintenance, dams and generating stations can last for 100 years or more, so this purchase will have a lasting legacy value for our ratepayers.

Many people at BC Hydro and Teck Resources Limited worked hard for more than a year to bring this undertaking to a close, culminating in a February decision by the British Columbia Utilities Commission that the acquisition is in ratepayers' interest [PDF]. We're now looking forward to the start of a long-term, productive operational relationship with Teck.

The province is facing increased demand for electricity as B.C.'s population continues to grow and economic conditions improve. Demand for electricity is expected to grow by as much as 40 per cent over the next 20 years, and the electricity from Waneta will go a long way towards meeting that demand – powering B.C. homes and businesses at an affordable rate.