News Release

New transmission line is now powering Vancouver

VANCOUVER – A new transmission line and substation, the largest investment in Vancouver's electrical system in 30 years, are now energized and delivering electricity to Vancouver. BC Hydro has completed construction on the $201 million Vancouver City Central Transmission project, $30 million under budget.

"B.C.'s economy and our way of life depend on safe, reliable power, but our electrical system is aging," said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. "That's why we must make investments in our system now to ensure BC Hydro continues to deliver electricity to B.C.'s homes and businesses. The 10-year plan for electricity rates, introduced last fall, will ensure that these investments are made in the most cost-effective way and provide long-term value for British Columbians."

The project includes a new substation in Mount Pleasant and an underground transmission line connecting the new substation to two existing ones in downtown Vancouver and Kerrisdale. The substation is one of the most seismically safe buildings on the Lower Mainland and designed to continue functioning even after a major earthquake.

"We have seen tremendous growth in the Mount Pleasant area with high tech companies and new industry setting up there. We're also seeing increasing demand for electricity in the downtown core," said Greg Reimer, executive vice-president of Transmission & Distribution, BC Hydro. "This project represents the single largest investment BC Hydro has made in central Vancouver's electrical system in almost 30 years and will help to power Vancouver’s growth."

The new infrastructure improves the redundancy of supply in the downtown core and provides more reliable power. For example, if an outage impacts an older transmission circuit downtown, the new line could be used to provide back-up power for affected customers. The new line and substation also supplement existing, aging transmission lines downtown and a 60-year old substation.

Facts

  • Most of BC Hydro's facilities were built in the 60s, 70s and 80s and are in need of reinvestment. BC Hydro needs to spend, on average, about $2 billion a year, over the next ten years to refurbish, upgrade and expand the system.
  • Construction lasted four years and created 216 person-years of employment. It involved:
    • building the Mount Pleasant substation at the corner of West 6 Avenue and Alberta Street. The substation is one of the most seismically safe buildings on the Lower Mainland and is designed to continue functioning even after a major earthquake.
    • installing new transmission cables under the streets of Vancouver to connect the new substation to two existing substations: the Sperling substation near West King Edward Avenue at Arbutus Street, and the Cathedral Square substation in downtown Vancouver.
    • boring an underground tunnel 30 metres below the bottom of False Creek to cross the water. An 850-metre long bundle of transmission cables – about the same length as eight football fields – was pulled through the tunnel in newly installed ducts.
  • The project budget was $201 million. The forecast final budget is $171 million.

About BC Hydro

BC Hydro has been providing clean, reliable power to British Columbians for more than 50 years while maintaining among the lowest rates in North America. BC Hydro is a provincial Crown corporation that serves 1.9 million customers and invests in the electrical system and in energy conservation to deliver a safe and reliable supply of electricity for today’s customers and for generations to come.

Image of Vancouver City Central Transmission Project map

For more information please contact:

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468