Electricity supply options

wind turbines, clean energy

We’re updating our inventory of options

A key input into our long-term Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) is our inventory of available resources to meet future customer demand. We're currently updating our inventory of options for planning purposes in preparation for the next IRP. We consider both demand-side management options that reduce energy and peak demand through conservation, and supply options such as generation resources, e.g., wind and solar, resource smart options that increase the capability of existing BC Hydro assets, and transmission options required to move electricity from generating source to the customer.

The world is evolving with how electricity demand is or can be managed as efficiency standards take hold and connected devices help customers manage their energy use. For this update, we’ll review our latest study on the potential in B.C. for conservation savings, as well as build on our capacity focused demand-side management pilot projects. Demand-side management options include programs, codes and standards, and rate structures. Find out more about conservation initiatives at BC Hydro.

The following diagram shows the process and timing of updating our generation supply-side option data with cost, technology, and resource potential information. See below for the scope of our update and how the focus is on understanding new technologies and trends.

Resource Options Update Process Diagram

Understanding new technologies and trends

The rate of technology change among electricity generation supply options has been remarkable in recent years, and trends suggest some of these new technologies – for example new kinds of battery storage or solar technologies – are already causing major shifts in the electricity industry. For our generation options update, we’ll be taking a close look at these new technologies, and broadening the scope to gather information on emerging technology trends. Well-known and already commercially operational technologies in B.C., such as run-of-river, and biomass, remain within our inventory and may undergo targeted updates.

What we're updating and how you can get involved

Through the fall of 2019, our technical staff will collect and review new data – with input from studies, consultants, and others with technical expertise – to ensure our inventory of information is informed by recent trends. As with our previous update, we'll also be collaborating with FortisBC through the updating process, which will result in a shared dataset for use in our respective long-term plans.

Take a look at our work plan [PDF, 232 KB] to learn about all of the updates planned for each of the generation resource options.

A focus of this update is to gather technical details on the following resource types that have undergone substantive industry changes.

Resource type
Information being updated
Solar Technical and financial information for solar technologies at transmission, distribution and customer scales; technically viable locations of solar resources.
Batteries Technical and financial information for battery technologies at transmission, distribution and customer scales; technically viable locations of battery resources.
Wind Onshore Technical and financial information of onshore wind resources.

We'd like to hear from you if you have technical information to share with our staff that will inform the update of the resource types noted in the table above. To provide technical input, click on the appropriate workstream link below.

We'll be completing the electricity supply options update in the new year – look for more information here in early 2020. 

For general inquiries about the electricity supply options update, please contact us here.