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News Release

This news release was posted more than two years ago. View our latest news releases here.

Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade

Since the 1930s, the Ruskin Dam and Generating Station has provided a clean and reliable supply of electricity to homes and businesses in the Lower Mainland and other areas of the province. After more than 80 years of service, the facility is in need of an upgrade. BC Hydro is planning a major investment in the Ruskin facility to improve seismic performance and replace the original powerhouse equipment which is in poor condition and becoming increasingly unreliable.

Once completed, the upgraded facility will improve safety and reliability and produce enough electricity to serve more than 33,000 homes.


Construction for the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade is scheduled from 2012 to 2018 and is comprised of four distinct work projects:

  1. Right bank: The right bank of the dam will be reinforced with a specially designed barrier wall to manage water seepage and improve seismic performance.
  2. Dam upgrade: The existing spillway concrete piers and gates will be replaced and the penstocks and intake tunnels will be upgraded along with the left bank. Once this work is complete, the single-lane road atop the dam will be upgraded to a double-lane deck and pedestrian walkway.
  3. Powerhouse upgrade: The structure will be seismically upgraded and the powerhouse equipment replaced. Replacement of the three generating units will be phased to allow the facility to generate electricity and maintain flow continuity downstream in the Stave River throughout the project.
  4. Switchyard relocation: The switchyard will be relocated from the powerhouse roof and rebuilt on the bank behind the Powerhouse.

The Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade project will provide a number of environmental benefits including improved flow continuity to protect downstream fish and wildlife habitat. The upgrade will considerably improve seismic performance as the dam will be able to survive a severe earthquake without major damage.

Upgrading the powerhouse will also provide BC Hydro with an opportunity
to design a greener, more Power Smart facility through the use of more energy-efficient equipment and lighting.


  • Estimated project cost: between $718 million and $857 million
  • After the upgrade, the facility will provide electricity for 33,000 homes.
  • The project will generate approximately 1,050 person years of employment during construction.
  • The project is being built to withstand a 1 in 10,000 year earthquake.
  • The Ruskin control room contains an original light bulb that has continued to work since the plant started operation in 1930.