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Our system

WAC Bennett Dam and GM Shrum generating station

We're powered by water

Our system stretches across each region of the province and the traditional territories of Indigenous Nations. We have 30 hydroelectric plants and a network of over 80,000 kilometres of power lines that transport electricity from our generating stations over mountain tops, through river valleys to homes and businesses in B.C.

Our energy mix

Over 98% of the power we generate is from clean, renewable sources. The vast majority of this is through our hydroelectric facilities, along with a small portion from other clean sources like wind, solar and biomass. Just 2% our power comes from natural gas, which is used only as backup generation during periods of high demand, like in the winter months. 

Our Annual Service Plan Reports provide more details about our energy mix. 

Importing and exporting power

Overall, 91% of the power we deliver to customers comes from our hydroelectric facilities right here in B.C. Factors like weather and economic activity have a direct influence on electricity demand. This makes it difficult for us – or any utility – to predict future demand from our customers or our available supply with 100% accuracy. Fortunately, our large hydroelectric system can respond quickly to changes in demand, allowing us to ramp up or down generation almost instantly.

Our system is also part of the Western Interconnection – a network of high-voltage transmission lines that connects B.C. with other utilities in western North America, including those in Alberta, Washington State, Oregon and California. This allows our trading subsidiary– Powerex – to buy and sell power with trading partners within the network.

Over the past five years Powerex has been a net exporter of our clean electricity, which helps lower greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in North America and brings in additional revenues to help keep rates low.

Read more about the benefits of power trading for our system.

Hydroelectricity and greenhouse gas emissions

We have the cleanest generation in Western North America and amongst the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any utility in North America.

The greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity – a measurement of how many tonnes of emissions are emitted per gigawatt hour (GWh) of electricity – of hydroelectricity typically ranges between 10 and 30 tonnes per GWh. That’s in comparison to other jurisdictions that rely on fossil fuels, which often range between 160 to 200 tonnes per GWh.

In certain conditions, a hydroelectric reservoir will release greenhouse gas emissions due to the decomposition of organic material under the water. While, in other cases, a reservoir can absorb more emissions than it emits.