BC Hydro wants more clean power to help meet demand, clean energy targets

VICTORIA — BC Hydro is looking for more clean power to add to its grids as electricity demands are expected to increase by 15 per cent in the next six years.

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation says the Crown power utility has issued its first call in 15 years and is looking to acquire about 3,000 gigawatt hours per year. 

The ministry says in a statement that it would add about five per cent to its current supply, which would provide clean electricity to 270,000 homes or about a million electric vehicles per year. 

The added need is due to population growth, housing construction, industrial development and more homes and businesses switching from fossil fuels to clean electricity, the government says.

The ministry says this will be the first in a “series of calls for power” from BC Hydro as it works to meet the province’s climate targets, with future requests expected to come every two years.

Energy Minister Josie Osborne says in the statement that climate disasters have become commonplace in B.C. and the switch from fossil fuels to clean power has “never felt more urgent.”

“That’s why we are working in collaboration with BC Hydro, First Nations and the independent power industry to generate more of the electricity that B.C. needs to build a clean economy and power our future,” she says. 

The province says the development and construction of new clean-energy projects will generate an estimated $2.3 to $3.6 billion in private capital spending throughout the province and create up to 1,500 jobs each year.

BC Hydro’s massive Site C dam project is expected to start generating power this year after construction started 2015. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2024.

The Canadian Press