News Release

BC Hydro opens biodiesel generating station in McBride

Generators delivered to Finning Richmond, August 2010.

MCBRIDE – The community of McBride will have back-up electricity in the event of a power outage thanks to the recently completed McBride Biodiesel Generating Station. In addition, BC Hydro is dedicating up to $750,000 in additional vegetation maintenance to improve the reliability of power delivery in the area.

Representatives from BC Hydro and the Village of McBride, along with Shirley Bond, the MLA for Prince George-Valemount and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, gathered today in McBride for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the $2.3-million generating station.

The new McBride generating station consists of three 1.5-megawatt generators that run on biodiesel – a fuel which consists of a blend of conventional diesel fuel mixed with quantities of organic material derived from waste vegetable oil or animal fat. Two generating units will be dedicated for operation year round. The third unit will operate during winter months when demand is at peak levels. The units are designed to start up automatically when there is a power outage to provide power to the community in and around McBride.

"One of the issues I have heard about consistently since I was elected as an MLA was the need to improve reliability and reduce the significant number of outages my constituents' experience. This issue has been a priority for me and while this biodiesel generating station is a short-term solution, it will make a difference while we continue to work on the long-term strategy," said Prince George-Valemount MLA and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Shirley Bond.

"I want to thank BC Hydro for working with us to provide these biodiesel generators and for creating a task force to continue to explore additional options. As we look to diversify and expand economic opportunities for the region, a reliable power supply is essential and this is a step in the right direction," Bond said.

"This project is an example of BC Hydro's commitment to resolve the longstanding and unique reliability issues in the Robson Valley," said Greg Reimer, BC Hydro Transmission and Distribution Executive Vice- President. "The completion of the new Biodiesel Generating Station is the first step in a multi-phase effort to improve reliability in the area."

The Village of McBride is serviced by a long radial line from Valemount that is subject to lengthy outages due to access issues and repair times. Until now, limited resources were available to provide back-up service should the line be disrupted. The new Biodiesel Generating Station supplied and built by BC Hydro will improve electricity service to the village.

Up to $750,000 in additional vegetation maintenance funding has been allocated through 2012 to further improve reliability on the line that serves the Highway 16 area west of Valemount to Dome Creek. Over the next two years, work will include pruning of trees near the line, widening the clearance between the power line and trees in selected areas, and removal of hazard trees and trees infested by mountain pine beetle. In the first year, work will be focused west of McBride between Dome Creek and Crescent Spur and east of McBride from McBride to Valemount. In year two, work will be focused between Crescent Spur and McBride.

"We are grateful for the biodiesel generators that should cut the duration of outages in McBride to an absolute minimum. The aggressive vegetation management program underway now has already made a marked improvement in fewer outages caused by trees," said Mayor Mike Frazier. "Together, with BC Hydro and the Robson Valley Task Force, we look forward to further improvements to the transmission system and opportunities for independent power producers, as well as general economic development for the McBride area."

The Robson Valley Task Force, consisting of representatives from BC Hydro and the Village of McBride, is continuing its work towards finding longer-term improvements to reliability in the Robson Valley.

Source: BC Hydro News

For more information, please contact:

Bob Gammer
Community Relations, Northern
BC Hydro
Phone: 250 561 4858
Cell: 250 961 0676