Clean power to electrify B.C.’s future (

Media Contacts

George Smith

Communications Director
Office of the Premier

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 208-6183

BC Hydro

Media Relations
604 928-6468


What people are saying about clean energy

Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro –

“It will take all of us working together to build a more sustainable economy as we broaden our clean and renewable sources of energy through this call for power. BC Hydro is committed to meeting the growing and changing needs of our customers and will be working with all levels of government, Indigenous communities, stakeholders and the private sector to make this happen.”

Chief Jen Thomas, səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) –

“An investment in clean energy is an investment in a healthier future. Tsleil-Waututh Nation is committed to reducing our carbon footprint and to addressing climate change, such as sea level rise, which is a concern in our community. We have taken steps to reduce emissions by adopting renewable energy such as solar, and our climate action and community energy plans as well as our recently approved energy-efficient and low-carbon buildings policy will provide a pathway to a renewable energy future for our Nation. We will continue working collaboratively with external partners to meet our clean-energy goals.”

Walter Schneider, CEO, New Relationship Trust (NRT) –

“This historic investment in First Nations’ clean energy represents an essential step in advancing Indigenous-led clean-energy projects to the benefit of low-emission economies, reconciliation goals and the province’s future power needs. We are confident that NRT’s leadership in program delivery and strong working relationships will continue to empower a new energy road map where First Nations are leading the way in the transition toward a low-carbon future.”

Cole Sayers, executive director, Clean Energy BC

“B.C. is a leader in First-Nations-led and partnered development in clean energy. I commend the Province’s efforts in supporting First Nations in the clean-energy sector. The call for power and a $140-million clean energy investment is an exciting opportunity to advance economic reconciliation, implement the UNDRIP, and usher in a new era of clean energy that is led by First Nations.”

Dan Woynillowicz, principal, Polaris Strategy + Insight, and external energy adviser, BC Hydro Task Force

“We know our clean-electricity system needs to grow to become the energy backbone that powers our economy and day-to-day lives. More clean power will enable people and businesses to switch from fossil fuels to electricity, reducing pollution and energy bills in the process. BC Hydro’s call for power is an important next step toward a net-zero future where electricity will meet most of our energy needs.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation

“Collaborative relationships with First Nations are the way of the future. Participation by First Nations in the clean-energy sector is vital as we work together on a low-carbon future. By supporting the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, we are supporting vital clean-energy work by First Nations, which contributes to achieving CleanBC’s climate targets and a better future for all.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

“CleanBC combines environmental action with economic opportunity. As we work with Indigenous communities to create new sources of clean power, we’re building resiliency, creating new low-carbon jobs, and walking together in reconciliation.”

Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Indigenous Services

“Reconciliation is everyone’s business. This is a concrete example of how governments can work in partnership with Indigenous organizations to advance the clean-energy economy, create good-paying jobs for Indigenous communities, and move toward real reconciliation. The British Columbia Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative supports First Nations-led clean-energy efforts and is a model to follow. I commend B.C. for taking this important step forward.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, federal Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan)

“From the very beginning, PacifiCan has been an enthusiastic champion and supporter of the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative, which has created thousands of jobs and launched 100 clean-energy projects. These projects have generated enough clean energy to power over 3,600 homes and reduced enough CO2 emissions to take the equivalent of 128,000 cars off the road for a year. Today’s investment in BCICEI will continue to create lasting economic development that advances reconciliation.”

Media Contacts

George Smith

Communications Director
Office of the Premier

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 208-6183
Planning now for the future

Why now?

BC Hydro is currently in a public regulatory review process before the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for its 2021 integrated resource plan (IRP). The IRP outlines how BC Hydro will meet the electricity needs of its customers over the next 20 years, and reflects B.C.’s legislated greenhouse-gas-reduction targets and electrification. It’s a flexible plan that allows BC Hydro to monitor changing conditions and adjust its planning to meet the future needs of customers.

Recently, BC Hydro has seen increased demand for power from across its residential, commercial and industrial customer base. The demand is coming from:

  • changes due to COVID-19 resulting in more people working from home;
  • growth in light-duty electric vehicle sales;
  • fuel switching to heat pumps in homes and buildings;
  • economic recovery from COVID-19;
  • population growth; and
  • increased industrial development, including in the mining and hydrogen sectors.

The IRP includes a number of ways for BC Hydro to meet future demand for electricity as required:

  • ramping up demand-side management (energy efficiency) activities and investments to achieve greater customer-wide energy savings;
  • pursuing voluntary time-varying rates to achieve system capacity savings, including for home charging of electric vehicles;
  • renewing electricity purchase agreements with existing clean or renewable independent power producers on a cost-effective basis;
  • advancing upgrades to transmission infrastructure to achieve additional capacity;
  • continuing to explore the expansion of existing capacity at the Revelstoke generating station;
  • advancing the integration of utility-scale batteries (energy-storage systems); and
  • acquiring clean energy from new generating facilities, including wind and solar.

Updated demand forecasts indicate the need to acquire about 3,000 gigawatt hours per year of new clean or renewable generation, starting as early as 2028 – or the equivalent of enough electricity to power 270,000 homes. The first call for power is anticipated in spring 2024.

Getting it right:

In the past, BC Hydro bought too much power from independent power producers at the wrong time, and paid too much for it. This resulted in higher rates for people and businesses. For example, the Standing Offer Program was a continuous-intake program that provided long-term energy purchase agreements for small energy projects at a fixed price, increasing each year with inflation. When the program was indefinitely suspended in 2019, it was offering 25- to 40-year contracts at an average price of $108 megawatt-hour (MWh), well above the market price of power at that time.

To keep rates affordable for people, BC Hydro’s upcoming call for power will incorporate learnings from these prior programs and from recent calls for power in other jurisdictions. This would include planning for smaller, competitive calls at regular intervals – better aligned with electricity demand – and setting cost-effective pricing that discourages projects that would provide the bulk of their energy during spring freshet, such as run-of-river hydro projects, when provincial demand for power and market prices are at their lowest.

Keeping it clean:

With 98% of its generation already coming from clean or renewable resources, BC Hydro is a leader in North America when it comes to clean energy. BC Hydro’s future call for power will be for more clean or renewable resources only. The use of both wind and solar resources has increased significantly in the past few years as the technology has improved, the cost has come down, and installation times have shortened.

BC Hydro is well positioned to integrate additional wind and other intermittent energy projects, thanks to its flexible hydroelectric system built around dams with reservoirs that act as “batteries.” The reservoirs store water and allow BC Hydro to ramp production up or down almost instantly. This means BC Hydro can now add power sources like solar and wind to the provincial system because it has back up from its hydroelectric facilities for when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing.

Indigenous participation/engagement:

To advance reconciliation, and in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Province and BC Hydro are committed to supporting First Nations economic and climate-action aspirations by ensuring opportunities in the clean-energy sector.

The Province and BC Hydro will work with First Nations to design a call for power that includes a minimum First Nations ownership in the project. Immediate consultation will also commence with First Nations and the First Nations Energy and Mining Council on options for Indigenous economic participation requirements. This will include discussions around partnerships, project procurement opportunities, benefits-sharing agreements, and appropriate evaluation criteria for Indigenous participation.

Planning for a future call for power will also be informed by the newly formed BC Hydro task force. The task force was created in March 2023 as part of the Province’s New Energy Action Framework to ensure that BC Hydro is well positioned to electrify B.C.’s economy and industry as the province transitions to a clean-energy future. The task force provides strategic advice on accelerating electrification, modernizing the regulatory framework, and advancing economic opportunities in clean energy.

Generating opportunities for Indigenous clean-energy projects

The Government of British Columbia and BC Hydro are committed to designing a future power-procurement program that aligns with the Province’s implementation plan for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and provides opportunities for Indigenous people in the clean-energy sector.

By generating revenue that can build capacity and be reinvested, and creating jobs and training opportunities, clean-energy projects spur a variety of community initiatives that support Indigenous self-determination.

The Province is providing $140 million to the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support the development of smaller Indigenous-led power projects to respond to future electricity demand and limit the potential impact of these projects on BC Hydro ratepayers, keeping rates affordable.

The New Relationship Trust (NRT) will invest the $140 million from the Province, and interest earned on those funds will provide an ongoing provincial contribution to BCICEI’s current programming, including project feasibility and site selection, environmental review and permitting, project design and engineering. A key strength of BCICEI is an Indigenous-government-stakeholder governance model that pursues consensus decisions on program parameters and project approvals.

In parallel, the NRT and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation will work with BC Hydro, PacifiCan and First Nations to design a new BCICEI funding stream to help offset the higher anticipated cost of power from smaller Indigenous power projects as they reach an advanced stage of development in 2028-30. As grid-connected Indigenous energy projects reach a prescribed milestone, NRT would enter into agreements with Indigenous proponents to provide the new program supports, eventually drawing down the $140 million contribution.

The BCICEI was launched in 2016 with funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada (now PacifiCan) and subsequent contributions from the Government of B.C. It provides support and capacity-building funds to First Nations communities toward the planning and implementation of clean-energy projects, such as hydro, wind, biomass, solar, marine or geothermal projects. The initiative is helping to reduce reliance on non-renewable fuels, while generating clean energy in First Nations communities. BCICEI has delivered $26 million to support 100 clean-energy projects in First Nations in B.C. since 2016.

The NRT was created in 2006 through an agreement between the First Nations Leadership Council, the Government of B.C., and the Government of Canada, with a commitment to strengthen relationships on a government-to-government basis, and a recognition that transformative change requires Indigenous-led funding approaches.

Media Contacts

George Smith

Communications Director
Office of the Premier

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 208-6183