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News Release

New transmission line ready to power Northwest B.C.

VANCOUVER – Construction and commissioning of BC Hydro's new Northwest Transmission Line is complete and the line is now in service.

The 344-kilometre line extends BC Hydro's power grid north from Terrace into an area rich in mining and clean energy potential. The line will provide clean power to new industrial developments and serve as a connection point for clean power projects, like AltaGas' Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project. The new Red Chris mine will be the first mine to use power from the line this fall.

The line will deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy that will stimulate the economy and provide renewable power to remote northern communities in British Columbia. Local communities will benefit from increased access to clean hydro-electric power, in turn reducing their dependence on local diesel generation, improving service reliability, and resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

The line, which began construction in January 2012, includes 1,100 transmission structures and 2,100 kilometres of wires through some of B.C.'s most remote and challenging terrain.

BC Hydro also built a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake for the line and added additional equipment to the Skeena Substation near Terrace to integrate the line into BC Hydro's system. Over its three years of construction, the project created about 840 person years of employment.


The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

"Thanks to the Northwest Transmission Line project, some of British Columbia's northern and remote communities now have access to the electrical grid and are benefitting from a reliable supply of clean, renewable power. Our Government recognizes the importance of supporting green infrastructure projects that benefit both the economy and the environment, while promoting cleaner, greener living."

Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review

"The Northwest Transmission Line is a nation building project and is vital to the future of our province. It will open up world-class mineral deposits and support the development of new mines and clean energy projects."

Jessica McDonald, President & CEO, BC Hydro  

"BC Hydro is in the midst of major upgrades and additions to the province's electricity system that was built decades ago. These investments, made in the 60s, 70s and 80s, helped to grow our province. The Northwest Transmission Line will do the same by opening up a new region to economic activity through clean hydroelectricity."

Paul Kariya, executive director, Clean Energy B.C.

"The Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project on the Iskut River is feeding power to BC Hydro's grid. That's the first working connection from a clean-energy project. The transmission line now provides opportunity and incentive for further renewables and more clean energy."

Karina Briño, President & CEO, Mining Association of B.C.

"The completion of the Northwest Transmission Line is a major milestone in infrastructure development in B.C.'s northwest. Realizing the future resource development potential in the region will create tremendous economic benefit for the entire province and will result in long-term, high-paying employment opportunities, including approximately $16 billion in capital investment and more than 3,600 direct permanent jobs in B.C.'s northwest, from major mining projects alone."


  • The Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) is a 344-kilometre, 287-kilovolt transmission line that originates from near Terrace and ends at a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake.
  • The NTL has close to 1,100 transmission structures. Their height, if placed end to end, would be about the same as 78 Empire State buildings; combined weight of the steel is equivalent to 1.5 Eiffel Towers.
  • The NTL used about 2,100 kilometers of transmission cable – the equivalent of driving from Terrace to Regina.
  • BC Hydro is planning to acquire, for a fixed price, a 92 kilometre "extension" being built by Imperial Metals, working closely with Tahltan Nation. This line will run between the new Bob Quinn substation and a new substation BC Hydro is constructing near Tatogga Lake.
  • Right-of-way clearing and access road construction was undertaken under contract by Nisga'a Nation and five First Nations.
  • The transmission line was built under a design-procure-construct contract with the team of Valard Construction and Burns & McDonnell. Construction of the substation was undertaken by Nanaimo-based F&M Installations.
  • The project cost is $746 million.
  • The Government of Canada has contributed $130 million through the Green Infrastructure Fund for this project.
  • AltaGas, the project's anchor tenant, provided $180 million in capital contributions toward this project. The balance is expected to be recovered from a new tariff that will apply to future users of the line.
  • The line officially went "into service" on July 15, 2014.

Key projects connecting to the NTL

Independent Power Producers

  • Forrest Kerr
  • McLymont Creek
  • Volcano Creek

Potential future mines

  • Red Chris
  • KSM
  • Klappan
  • Snowfields
  • Schaft Creek
  • Galore Creek
  • Bronson Slope
  • GJ (Kinaskan)
  • Golden Bear
  • Turnagain



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.

For more information please contact

BC Hydro Media Relations
604 928 6468