North Montney Expression of Interest

The Expression of Interest (EOI) process is now closed. If you haven’t made a submission and are interested in connecting to the proposed North Montney transmission line and being considered in the transmission line routing, please email us.

Connect to BC Hydro’s grid in northeast B.C.

Through the EOI process, industry will be able to indicate their interest in electrifying their current or proposed operations in the North Montney area of northeastern B.C. The information gathered through this non-binding process will help inform our plans for the future of our transmission infrastructure in the region.

If it’s determined through this process that additional capacity in the region may be required to meet the needs of industry, we’ll move forward with the next stage of the proposed North Montney Region Electrification project and take further steps to confirm customer commitment. 

Access to clean electricity and reduced connection costs 

Lower greenhouse gas emissions, the creation of low-carbon products and reduced carbon taxes are among the benefits of electrifying with clean, renewable energy.

We’ll work with those participating in the EOI process to facilitate access to our grid and help reduce electrification costs through:

  • Building the North Montney transmission line as a shared transmission extension, securitized by multiple customers, rather than paid for by a single customer
  • Facilitating access to funding through the CleanBC Facilities Electrification Fund or other potential funding sources, as well as reduced electricity rates
  • Considering the location of a customer's project in the routing of the transmission line

Expression of Interest process

The EOI process is now closed. Thanks to those that have submitted an EOI package to indicate their interest in electrifying current or proposed operations in the North Montney region.

If you haven’t made a submission and are interested in connecting to the proposed North Montney transmission line and being considered in the transmission line routing, please email us.

We’ll use the information gathered through this non-binding submission to determine the overall interest from industry. The information will also be used to advance the technical, commercial and regulatory planning required to expand our transmission system in the area. 

As the proposed project progresses, participants may be asked to submit a transmission service request or complete interconnection studies. We may also ask participants to confirm commitment to their service request through posting security for the design and construction of the project and interconnection facilities and executing corresponding agreements.

Any further steps remain to be confirmed based on various considerations, including the need for and cost effectiveness of the proposed North Montney Region Electrification project and the engagement process outcomes with Indigenous Nations.

This EOI process does not commit BC Hydro to proceeding with the proposed project or interconnecting prospective customers.

Documents and forms

The latest versions of all documents and forms related to the North Montney Expression of Interest will be posted here.

Notices and supporting materials

Updates to the North Montney Expression of Interest will be posted here, along with any supporting materials.

Schedule

The North Montney Expression of Interest schedule is below. Any changes to the schedule will be posted here. 

Date
Milestones
March 18, 2021 North Montney Expression of Interest opened
May 13, 2021 North Montney Expression of Interest closed
June 10, 2021 Submission review and follow-up complete


Information meetings and Q&A

Registered prospective customers can email us questions or request a meeting to discuss the EOI, your electrification and interconnection needs and the proposed North Montney Regional Electrification project. 

Answers to questions that are applicable to other prospective customers will be posted here with confidential customer information removed.

Project development

The proposed North Montney Region Electrification project is the only new transmission project in the region being considered at this time. 

We are currently exploring two options for this line – a transmission line extending about 100 kilometres north from either the existing Site C substation near Fort St. John or the existing GMS substation near Hudson’s Hope to a new substation in the vicinity of the Wonowon community. The exact transmission line route and the location of a new terminus substation will be based on a number of factors, including consultation with Indigenous Nations, geotechnical and environmental considerations, engagement with stakeholders, and the location and associated electricity requirements of prospective customers.

At this time, only transmission customers are being considered due to the large electricity demand required to make the project economically viable. While we’re open to discussing the electricity needs of communities in the region, any distribution-service connections would need to be considered at a later date.

We’re proposing to build a 230-kilovolt line. There’s some flexibility to increase the capacity of the line, if cost-effective. However, if additional capacity is needed after the line is built, it would be a considered system reinforcement and would need to be securitized and / or paid for by the customer triggering the system reinforcement. 

If you’re considering expanding your operations to other locations (i.e. potentially requiring an additional switching station or tap), please indicate this in your Expression of Interest response and we’ll take this into consideration in our transmission line planning.

To help ensure the proposed project is completed on time, we’re looking at a number of options. These could include: 

  • Expediting the approval process;
  • Adopting alternate financing and procurement models, including third-party design and construction and Indigenous ownership;
  • Advancing materials and equipment procurement;
  • Incorporating incentives and liquidated damages into the design and construction contract, in part of offset any customer bridging costs; and
  • Incorporating opportunities for customer collaboration and input.

Protecting the environment is a top priority. We’re in the early development stage of the project and are in the process of conducting an environmental overview assessment to identify, predict and evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project. Our plans will include the necessary steps to avoid or mitigate any environmental impacts.

We’re considering new and/or alternative financing models, which may include Indigenous or other private sector ownership. The form of Indigenous participation will be determined through discussion with Indigenous Nations.

Regardless of the ownership structure, all parties connecting to the proposed North Montney line will be customers of BC Hydro, with the rights and protections associated with being part of the large rate base of a regulated public utility.

BC Hydro's credit rating as of April 1, 2021:

  • Moody's Investor's Service (Moody's): Aaa
  • Standard and Poor's (S&P): AAA
  • DBRS Morningstar (DBRS): AA (high)

Interconnection

The B.C. Government is supportive of developing the North Montney and through its Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development has created a centralized hub to streamline approval processes and advance project development in the province.

If it’s not reasonable, practical, or economic for the customer to carry out the necessary design, approval, land acquisition or construction of the customer transmission line, it may be possible for BC Hydro to carry out these activities at the customer’s expense.

BC Hydro releases security annually as revenues are realized and based on the security release formula in the corresponding tariff. Although a new tariff is proposed for the North Montney project, the security release formula will be similar to that in Tariff Supplement 6.

It’s anticipated that customers wanting to interconnect to the proposed North Montney transmission line will be advised of the leading route alternative later this year, after the results of the expression of interest have been evaluated and considered.  At that point, customers will be able to estimate the cost of constructing the transmission line from the customer’s substation to the point of interconnection to the BC Hydro grid. Customers are required to design, construct, and own both the customer’s substation and this transmission line. However, if the transmission line is built to an acceptable standard, the customer can elect to transfer the ownership of the transmission line to BC Hydro.

Prior to requesting any initial security for the design and construction of the North Montney transmission line, we’re proposing to provide customers with an estimate for the Basic Transmission Extension (facilities that connect a customer’s transmission line to the BC Hydro system), which will be designed, constructed, and owned by BC Hydro.  Customers with a standard interconnection (e.g. line position) will be provided a capped cost estimate for that standard interconnection. Customers with a non-standard interconnection (e.g. a tap connection, if feasible) will be provided with an indicative cost estimate.  

A cost estimate for any customer-specific system reinforcement costs that may be required, e.g. protection & control upgrades, will be available prior to BC Hydro requesting any final security for the design and construction of the North Montney transmission line. The customer is responsible for these costs, however BC Hydro provides an offset, which may cover some or all of these costs.

Note, some the above costs may also be eligible for government funding, such as the CleanBC Facilities Electrification Fund or additional funding that BC Hydro is seeking specifically for North Montney customers.

From a technical perspective, it’s possible for a customer to run generation in parallel with taking service from BC Hydro’s transmission system, subject to carrying out the necessary interconnection studies and implementing the necessary protection and controls. However, even with no injection to the transmission system, potential regulatory issues arise so we will need to give  this scenario further consideration.

BC Hydro does not currently have any active industrial load displacement or energy purchase programs to enable the sale of energy to BC Hydro.  

Regarding the sale of energy to parties other than BC Hydro, in general, retail electricity customers located in BC Hydro’s service territory must purchase their electricity from BC Hydro since “retail access” (i.e. the ability for retail customers to source electricity supply from a source other than BC Hydro) has been suspended pursuant to Direction No. 8 to the British Columbia Utilities Commission issued under the Utilities Commission Act.  A customer can purchase transmission service from BC Hydro under BC Hydro’s Open Access Transmission Tariff to enable the customer to transmit power if they wish to sell their power to markets or customers outside of BC Hydro’s service territory. However, as noted on page two of the North Montney EOI, generators can not be accommodated at this time.

We’re fortunate to have an electricity system built on hydroelectric generation, which allows BC Hydro to ramp electricity generation up and down as required to meet the electricity demand of customers. Unlike solar and wind that are only available when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing, hydroelectric facilities offer firm power that can be counted on any time, day or night. 

Electricity rates

Under the transmission-service rate schedules, there is a demand charge and an energy charge. The demand charge is based on the High Load Hour peak kVA Demand during the billing period and the energy charge is based on kWh energy consumed. The default rate for transmission service is Rate Schedule 1823.

Rate Schedule 1823, which is the default rate for transmission service, includes a minimum demand charge equal to 50% of the Electricity Supply Agreement (ESA) Contract Demand. It doesn’t have a fixed term or expiry date. 

The initial ESA term is one year and renews automatically unless a six months written notice is provided for termination by either party.

No additional rate riders are proposed for North Montney customers or for the construction of the line.

Prospective customers are encouraged to apply as early as possible for the discounted rates under the CleanBC Industrial Electrification Rates (RS1894 or RS1895, as applicable), and may apply now, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.  These rates take a “first-in” approach in terms of the caps, so it’s better to apply early, rather than late – it’s not necessary to wait for a final investment decision on the North Montney transmission line.

Funding programs

We cannot guarantee eligibility for electrification programs on connections made in 2026. 

The CleanBC Facilities Electrification Fund, which is administered by BC Hydro, is allocated on a first come, first served basis and there are currently no plans to alter the funding cap. 

We cannot comment on the potential flexibility of the provincial program caps; however, a one-time adjustment in the funding cap for the “CleanBC Industry Fund – Emissions Reduction” program was made this year.    

Existing facilities:

New facilities

Contact

For more information, contact the North Montney Expression of Interest Administrator.

Email: admin_NMEOI@bchydro.com