News Release

Celebrating 50 Years of Affordable Hydro Power

Vancouver – British Columbia’s largest crown corporation, BC Hydro, is marking half a century of providing clean, affordable and reliable electricity to British Columbian families.

BC Hydro was created in 1962 under the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (BC Hydro) Act, which amalgamated BC Electric and the BC Power Commission.

In the 1960s and 1970s, BC Hydro began to build British Columbia’s hydroelectric capacity and power the province through the “Two Rivers” policy: the development of the Peace and Columbia rivers. This resulted in some of most ambitious hydroelectric construction projects in the world and BC Hydro’s capacity grew from 564 megawatts in 1961 to seven times that in the late1980s.

Today, this legacy of heritage power continues through the facilities on the Peace River, including the W.A.C Bennett dam and GMS Generating Station and Peace Canyon facilities, which supply about 30 per cent of all of BC Hydro generation capacity. The Revelstoke Dam and Generating Station, the second largest power plant in the provincial system, is one of six dams built on the Columbia River and its tributaries, which supply about 50 per cent of BC Hydro’s capacity. BC Hydro also built a transmission grid to bring this power to B.C. homes from north to south and east to west.

BC Hydro must continue plan to meet the province’s growing energy needs. British Columbia’s electricity demand is expected to grow by up to 50 percent over the next 20 years. Also, new industrial development in B.C.’s north means that BC Hydro must continue its legacy of growth and investment in B.C.’s electricity system.

BC Hydro is investing $6 billion to upgrade the capacity, safety and reliability of its aging facilities. It must also build new facilities and transmission lines. For example, BC Hydro is planning to upgrade the John Hart Generating Station and build the Northwest Transmission Line.

QUOTES
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines -

“British Columbians should be very proud of the heritage power facilities that were built over the last 50 years and continue to provide B.C. with reliable, affordable and clean power. BC Hydro continues to build on this legacy to meet our growing energy needs.”

Charles Reid, Acting President & CEO, BC Hydro -  
“BC Hydro has proudly powered the province through the growth we have seen over the past five decades. The electricity system is the backbone of our economy and our quality of life and our employees are honoured to help provide reliable electricity to B.C., while serving our communities.”

FACTS ABOUT BC HYDRO

  • BC Hydro is one of the largest electric utilities in Canada, serves 95 per cent of B.C.’s population, delivering electricity to more than 1.8 million customers. 
  • BC Hydro generates and delivers electricity through a network of 80,00 kilometres of transmission and distribution lines; 31 hydroelectric facilities with 70 dams; and 300 substations, 900,000 utility poles and 325,000 transformers.
  • KEY DATES
  • 1962 March 30: The British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (BC Hydro) Act is enacted. 
  • 1967: WAC Bennett Dam on is completed.
  • 1968: Hugh Keenleyside Dam and Generating Station is operational. 
  • 1969: The fifth and final generating unit at GM Shrum Generating Station is placed into service. 
  • 1970: The first 500-kilovolt transmission system is complete, consisting of two lines. 
  • 1973: The Mica Dam is declared operational. 
  • 1980: The Peace Canyon Dam and Generating Station are completed.
  • 1984: The Cathedral Square Substation opens in downtown Vancouver.
  • 1985: The Revelstoke plant is officially opened.
  • 1988: Export subsidiary Powerex is launched.
  • 1989: Power Smart, BC Hydro’s energy efficiency program, is launched.
  • 2011: The fifth turbine at the Revelstoke Dam is installed.
  • 2012: Smart Metering & Infrastructure program to modernize grid is underway.

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For more information please contact:
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468