July 14th, 2024

Vancouver Island to see $3B in BC Hydro upgrades, expansion over the next decade


By The Canadian Press on July 5, 2024.

British Columbia's power provider is planning to spend more than $3 billion on capital projects to upgrade and expand the electricity grid on Vancouver Island. B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Josie Osborne speaks during a news conference in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, June 10, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s power provider is planning to spend more than $3 billion on capital projects to upgrade and expand the electricity grid on Vancouver Island.

Energy Minister Josie Osborne says the BC Hydro projects will create thousands of jobs over the next decade and ensure the region has enough clean, affordable and reliable electricity to power homes, businesses and the economy.

The spending is part of BC Hydro’s updated 10-year capital plan announced in January, which commits $36 billion to regional and community infrastructure.

A statement from Osborne’s ministry says that represents a 50 per cent increase in investments over the previous capital plan.

The projects are expected to support an average of 10,500 to 12,500 jobs annually.

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation says the plan reflects rising demand for electricity due to population growth, housing construction, increased industrial development, and shifts away from fossil fuels for energy.

“We are embarking on significant upgrades to our electricity system, including investments in our generation plants, new and expanded substation projects, as well as major distribution investments to support underground and overhead infrastructure extensions to ensure we can continue to provide reliable and clean electricity to our customers,” said Chris O’Riley, president of the B.C. Crown utility.

The projects on Vancouver Island include seismic upgrades at three dams within the Campbell River system, replacing old transmission cables to power an additional 100,000 homes in Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich, and a new substation to power an additional 40,000 to 70,000 homes in the Langford area by 2030.

The utility is also increasing power line capacity to support new residential growth in areas including north and south Nanaimo, Bear Mountain and Langford Heights.

In the island’s north, BC Hydro is working on upgrades in Port Alice allowing more users and larger customers to connect to the system.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2024.

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