Mount Pleasant substation to meet growing energy demand

Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister responsible for Core Review, toured the Mount Pleasant substation on Monday.

Construction is now substantially complete on the substation, which is one component of the Vancouver City Central Transmission project, the most significant investment in central Vancouver's electrical system in almost 30 years. The project, which is currently tracking below budget and expected to be completed in spring 2014, has an estimated cost of $201 million.

For more information, please refer to the Province's news release.


Mount Pleasant Substation

Project details:

  • The substation is designed to continue functioning even after a major earthquake and will be one of the most seismically sound buildings in the Lower Mainland.
  • The line will connect the new substation to two existing substations: the Cathedral Square Substation in downtown Vancouver and Sperling Substation at Arbutus and W. King Edward Ave.
  • To connect the new substation to the existing one downtown, crews had to create a crossing beneath the bed of False Creek and install new underground cable ducts to house the cables for the new transmission line.

What do substations do?

Substations are the link between the transmission and distribution systems. The transmission system delivers the power from the generation source to the substations. Voltage is reduced at substations for business and residential use, and then shared through distribution lines.

BC Hydro owns, operates and maintains more than 300 substations throughout the province.

How does it work?

  • Switchgear – Connects high voltage transmission cables carrying power over long distances to the transformers. The new substation uses gas-insulated switchgear, which allows for the use of smaller equipment. Air-insulated equipment is much larger and would cover two city blocks.
  • Transformers – “Step up” or “step down” the electricity’s voltage. In this case, voltage is reduced from 230 kilovolts to 12 kilovolts – the voltage customers in Vancouver require. Currently, there are two transformers that are as tall as a two-storey building in the substation and room for a third when it is required.
  • Feeders – Distribute electricity from the substation to the customer. Each feeder can provide power to the equivalent of a condo development or 1,000 homes. There are 30 feeders in the station.
  • Reactors – Absorb excess electrical energy that could be transferred between the transmission system and the customer. Reactors, which are simply large copper wires, act like a surge protector.
  • Control system – Allows BC Hydro to remotely operate the equipment in the substation from the Fraser Valley Operations Centre. The substation will be one of the most seismically safe buildings in the Lower Mainland.

Media Contact:

Jake Jacobs
Media Relations
Ministry of Energy