What we're exploring
What we're exploring
We don’t have a crystal ball to help us predict the future, which is why we must plan for a variety of possible scenarios. With our current supply, we expect to be able to meet the predicted growth in demand for electricity until around 2030. To be ready for the province’s electricity needs beyond that, we have decisions to make and we have many options we’re exploring.
Options to consider, decisions to make
While we expect to have enough supply in our system to meet demand for at least the next 10 years, we need to prepare now to ensure we can meet increased demand over the longer-term and in case that demand comes sooner than we expect. We’re considering many options to ensure enough supply is in our system over the next 20 years to meet our capacity and energy needs:
Our energy efficiency programs: Our energy conservation programs can help our residential, business and industrial customers reduce their electricity use and save on their bills, while also being an effective way defer the need for new supply. We can continue with our programs as they currently are, reduce or discontinue our offers, or add new options and increase incentives to achieve more savings.
Introducing voluntary time-varying rates: Many utilities outside B.C. use time-varying rates to help shift electricity use away from peak demand times by offering a lower rate for using power at off-peak times, and a higher rate for electricity used during peak times. This can be an effective way to reduce the need for costly new projects.
Implementing voluntary electricity demand response programs: New technology can manage space and water heating and electric vehicle charging on your behalf, which can help shift your electricity use to off-peak times. An example of demand response could be shifting the heating of a hot water tank to earlier in the day or later in the evening. Demand response can be encouraged through a program designed to support customers’ ability to reduce or shift the use of electricity and usually involves either an incentive or a specific rate.
Contracts with Independent Power Producers: Around 25% of our generation is purchased from Independent Power Producers in the province, which provide us with additional clean, renewable energy. A number of these contracts are expiring in the next few years and we must decide if we should renew them. When making these decisions we must consider a number of factors, including cost, the location of the facility, and its ability to generate electricity during peak demand periods.
The future of our small hydro plants reaching end of life: Five of our small hydro plants built 50 to 70 years ago are reaching end of life and we must decide what to do with each of them. This could include redeveloping, temporarily or permanently shutting down the facility, or selling the facility. When deciding what to do with each, we’ll take into account a number of factors, including cost, safety, environmental impacts, and system reliability.
New power sources: To meet customer needs beyond the next ten years, we’ll need to add to our power supply and fill the expected capacity and energy gaps.
To help with this, we’re analyzing options, which could include:
- Looking at ways that new technology, such as utility-scale batteries and pumped storage could help to store electricity for when customers need it.
- Upgrading our existing system, including expanding some of our larger facilities, like adding an additional generating unit at the Revelstoke Generating Station, and upgrading our power lines to help meet demand from customers.