News release

BC Hydro energizes new John Hart generating station facility

VANCOUVER: The $1.093 billion John Hart Generating Station Replacement project is now in service – on time and on budget – improving seismic safety and reliability, and better protecting the downstream Campbell River fish habitat.

“Originally built in 1947, the John Hart Generating Station Replacement project was a necessary upgrade and expansion to ensure BC Hydro can continue to deliver clean, reliable power for decades to come,” said Hon. Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “The new underground facility is built in rock and meets today’s seismic safety guidelines, allowing the facility to better withstand an earthquake.”

In partnership with contractor and designer InPower BC, construction work began in July 2014. The main project components include:

  • construction of a new underground generating station and water bypass facility;
  • replacement of three 1.8 kilometre pipelines with a 2.1 kilometre tunnel; and,
  • construction of a new water intake and treatment facility at the John Hart spillway dam.

Decommissioning work to remove the old facility will run until summer 2019.

“This is a significant milestone for Campbell River and the surrounding community,” said Hon. Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island. “The new facility will generate nearly 10 per cent more electricity than the old facility – now powering about 80,000 homes each year.”

The project is also delivering a number of community benefits, including:

  • the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge, which attracts about 200,000 visitors per year;
  • funding for a new and more reliable City of Campbell River water withdrawal and treatment facility for 35,000 people; and,
  • more greenspace once areas like the old pipeline corridor are returned to forest to better fit with the surrounding Elk Falls Provincial Park.

“The local economy has definitely benefitted from this project,” said Andy Adams, Mayor of Campbell River. “At the peak of construction, 500 people were working on-site and more than 100 Vancouver Island companies provided goods and services for the project.”

Additionally, the project is delivering significant environmental benefits. The new water bypass facility within the powerhouse will ensure that if one or all three of the new generators shut down for any reason, downstream river flow can be maintained for fish and fish habitat.

“Over the past few years, we’ve made some significant investments to our electric system and important progress on our capital plan,” said Chris O’Riley, President and Chief Operations Officer, BC Hydro. “The John Hart project is a good example of an investment in our system to ensure we can continue to deliver clean, reliable power to our customers while meeting the growing demand for electricity.”

BC Hydro is spending more than $2 billion annually over the next decade to upgrade its existing assets and build new infrastructure.

 

Facts

  • The John Hart Generating Station Replacement project replaces the existing, 71-year-old generating station and penstocks.
  • The project allows BC Hydro to continue to deliver clean, reliable power, meets today’s seismic safety guidelines and protects downstream fish habitat from unplanned river flow reductions.
  • Construction began in July 2014 and the project is now in operation.
  • Decommissioning work to remove the old facility will run until summer 2019.
  • The total project cost is $1.093 billion.
  • The four main project components include:
    • a new underground generating station – ten storeys high and as long as an NFL football field – constructed about 500-600 metres up the penstock corridor from the old powerhouse;
    • a new underground tunnel system – 2.1 kilometres in length and 8.1 metres in diameter – connecting the John Hart Dam to the powerhouse and back to the Campbell River;
    • a new water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam; and
    • a new water bypass facility within the powerhouse.
  • The new underground facility is built in rock and meets today’s seismic safety guidelines, allowing the facility to better able to withstand an earthquake.
  • The number of people working at the site peaked at 500 in June 2017.
    • The majority of the site workers were local, living within 90 kilometres of the site.
    • More than 100 Vancouver Island companies contributed to the project as a supplier, service provider or subcontractor.
  • In early 2014, BC Hydro awarded SNC-Lavalin a contract to partially design, build, finance and maintain – using BC Hydro crews – the John Hart Generating Station Replacement project. SNC-Lavalin created a special purpose general partnership (“InPower BC”) to enter into a 15-year agreement for the project.
  • BC Hydro is investing, on average, $2 billion annually over the next decade to refurbish and replace aging infrastructure and expand the electricity system to meet increasing demand for power driven by British Columbia’s growing population and economy.
    • On Vancouver Island and the South Coast, BC Hydro will spend about $2.5 billion on capital projects to upgrade its existing assets and build new infrastructure to continue to deliver, clean, reliable power to British Columbians.
    • Over the next 10 years on Vancouver Island alone, these investments are expected to generate a total combined GDP of $1.75 billion and create 12,500 person-years of employment.

Contact:
BC Hydro Media Relations
p. 604.928.6468

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