News Release

Earth Day news - B.C. records cleanest year in a decade for power production

VANCOUVER – BC Hydro today announced that 98.3 per cent of the power generated last year, for more than four million British Columbians, was from clean or renewable resources. This represents the highest percentage for annual clean power generation in B.C. by BC Hydro over the last 10 years.

"Today, on Earth Day, all British Columbians should be proud of the clean, renewable power we generate here, in B.C.," said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. "Provincial legislation requires BC Hydro to ensure at least 93 per cent of the power generated in B.C. is from clean resources and I'm pleased to see BC Hydro exceeding this target. The low greenhouse gas emissions associated with power production in B.C. is one reason why our province is the perfect place for adopting clean technologies like electric vehicles."

Of the clean energy generated last year (BC Hydro's last fiscal year from April 2015 to March 2016) about 66 per cent was from large hydroelectric facilities; 20 per cent from run-of-river and 14 per cent from other clean sources like bioenergy, wind and solar.

"B.C. has a huge clean energy advantage and we're working hard to not only maintain it, but also build on it," said Jessica McDonald, President & CEO, BC Hydro. "Our large heritage dams and generating stations provide us with cost-effective and clean electricity that powers our homes, businesses and industry. We will grow this advantage with the addition of the Site C project, which will provide cost-effective and clean power for future generations of British Columbians. At the same time, we're building on our relationship with independent power producers and adding new clean technology to the provincial grid."

BC Hydro is in the midst of a major capital program to invest, on average, $2.4 billion a year into the electricity system that involves upgrading some of its large hydroelectric dams and building new infrastructure. For example:

  • BC Hydro is currently upgrading the Ruskin dam and powerhouse in Mission. The facility was built in the 1930s. The upgrades will allow the facility to withstand an earthquake and generate power more efficient. The $748 million project is expected to be complete in 2017.
  • BC Hydro is replacing the John Hart generating station near Campbell River. The generating station has been in operation since 1947. The new facility and pipelines will meet today's seismic safety expectations and help to protect fish habitat. Construction of the $1.093 billion project is expected to be complete by 2018.
  • This year, BC Hydro completed a $714 million project that involved the addition of two new generating units at the Mica dam near Revelstoke. When Mica was built in the 1970s, it was built with four units and space for two more to be added in the future. The new generating units increase Mica's capacity by about 1,000 megawatts.

BC Hydro serves 95 per cent of the province's population and generates and delivers electricity through a network of 31 hydroelectric facilities with 70 dams. The independent power sector is an important partner and supplier to B.C.'s clean energy mix. The sector provides power through more than 100 electricity purchase agreements across a wide range of resource types including hydro, biomass, wind and solar. Currently, independent power projects provide about 25 per cent of B.C.'s electricity and will continue to play a vital role in meeting the province's growing energy needs.

The non-clean components of BC Hydro's system include 15 diesel generating stations and two thermal generating stations that made up 1.7 per cent of generation last year. The diesel generating stations serve small communities in remote areas of the province that are not connected to the provincial electricity grid. BC Hydro owns and operates a thermal generating station in Fort Nelson and one in Prince Rupert. This year, BC Hydro decommissioned the electricity generation function at the Burrard Thermal plant in Port Moody.

BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604 928 6468