The Province is directing the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to exempt transmission upgrades that support industrial development in the Northwest from a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN). The upgrades will ensure that reliable, cost effective power is available for industrial projects, like liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mining as soon as it is needed.
Reinforcements and other upgrades to the existing 500-kilovolt line from Prince George to Terrace, and the 287-kilovolt line to Kitimat are needed so that BC Hydro can provide cost effective, reliable power to new industrial development, like mining and LNG, on B.C.'s north coast.
Transmission projects take a long time to build, particularly in northern parts of the province, due to short construction seasons. The transmission lines must be upgraded in time to meet the expected demand for electricity from mining and LNG projects by 2018. This exemption lets industrial proponents know that sufficient power will be available to meet their construction and operational requirements which will, in turn, bring jobs and economic development to the region.
The provincial government and BC Hydro are currently in negotiations with mining and LNG proponents about their energy needs and any contributions needed to support the required infrastructure for energy interconnection and new energy supplies. These agreements will provide greater certainty for future volume and timing of industrial electricity requirements, while keeping electricity rates among the lowest in North America for all British Columbians.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas