News Release

BC Hydro's $6 billion, 3-year regeneration plan meets growing power needs

Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse near Mission is due for a major upgrade.

$800-million Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse upgrade to renew 80-year-old facility

VANCOUVER – With aging infrastructure in need of significant upgrades and B.C.’s demand for electricity projected to grow by 40 per cent in the next 20 years, BC Hydro on Tuesday provided updated details about its $6 billion, three-year capital investment strategy aimed at meeting the public’s current and future demands for clean, reliable electricity.

Also part of its three-year plan, BC Hydro this week will submit one of its largest ever applications to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for approval of an $800-million upgrade of the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse. Located near Mission, B.C., the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse has not received significant upgrades or modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s. It will also create approximately 1,050 person-years of employment during construction.
 
Over the next three years, BC Hydro will be in a regeneration phase, investing to renew and expand the province’s electricity system. While this phase will put upward pressure on rates, BC Hydro is committed to maintaining among the lowest rates for electricity in North America.

These investments are required to improve and replace aging facilities that were built primarily between 1950 and 1980, ranging from upgrading dams and generating stations, to building entirely new transmission lines linking existing and new substations, and much more.

BC Hydro will also continue its focus on important conservation strategies through projects like Smart Meters and Power Smart to help meet the Clean Energy Act target of meeting 66 per cent of new electricity demand through conservation and efficiency by 2020.

“The upgrades at Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse are just one example of the real need to keep our heritage assets working hard for British Columbians,” said Energy Minister Steve Thomson. “B.C. is growing and electricity is the backbone of that economic growth. We need to maintain our competitive advantage of having among the lowest rates in North America, while at the same time investing in our facilities to ensure British Columbians continue to enjoy safe, clean and reliable electricity for future generations to come.”

 “At BC Hydro, we are committed to our regeneration strategy – it is critical to our province and all of our customers. We also recognize the infrastructure upgrades will put upward pressure on rates which may be challenging for many people,” said BC Hydro President and CEO, Dave Cobb. “We will continue to make prudent decisions on behalf of our customers while also providing them with tools they can use to help manage their own energy use and minimize the impact on their monthly electricity bills.”

Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Project filed with the BCUC this week:  

The Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse were built in 1930 and are located in Mission, B.C. After 80 years of service, this project is required to upgrade the facility to modern safety and seismic criteria and replace the powerhouse equipment which is in poor condition.

Construction is scheduled from 2012 to 2018 and includes replacing the spillway gates and dam bridge, rehabilitating the powerhouse structure and installing new turbines, generators and ancillary equipment.

Project backgrounders:

Members of the media can use the links in the right sidebar of this page for backgrounders, images and audio on individual capital projects and initiatives.

For a summary of major capital investments, see our interactive projects map.

For a more detailed look at key BC Hydro projects, see the following:

Additional Backgrounder:

See the capital investment backgrounder [PDF, 400 Kb] which includes charts illustrating the history of BC Hydro’s capital infrastructure investments, a comparison of North American rates and highlights of BC Hydro’s recent customer polling.

About BC Hydro:

British Columbia is growing, and so is the need for electricity. BC Hydro is dedicated to fulfilling its goal of meeting 66 per cent of the province’s future electricity needs through conservation by 2020. But in order to meet the remaining 34 per cent of this increased demand and continue to ensure a clean, reliable supply of energy, BC Hydro is investing now in the projects that are needed to keep the lights on in our province for the next 50 years.

Contact:

BC Hydro Media Relations
Direct: 604 928 6468

Province of B.C.
Jake Jacobs
Public Affairs Officer
B.C. Ministry of Energy
250 952 0628
250 213 6934 (cell)