The Province and BC Hydro are working with First Nations, clean-energy companies and the BC Hydro Task Force to design and advance BC Hydro’s call for power in spring 2024.
In June 2023, the Province announced that BC Hydro is moving ahead with a competitive call for new clean or renewable resources to meet the growing demand for electricity in B.C.
“B.C. is a clean-energy superpower, but we know that we are going to need more renewable electricity in the years ahead. BC Hydro’s upcoming call for power will only be the beginning as we accelerate our efforts to electrify B.C.’s growing economy and create jobs for people,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Early engagement on the call for power with First Nations and stakeholders has been very encouraging, and we look forward to building on that over the weeks ahead as we work together on developing First Nations partnership models aimed at advancing reconciliation.”
Over the past several months, BC Hydro has engaged with First Nations partners and industry stakeholders on the key elements of the call for power. This includes 30 individual meetings with 24 First Nations and workshops in four regions of the province, as well as with a large group of First Nations between Prince George and the North Coast that are involved in discussions about new transmission lines, and participation from the First Nations Energy and Mining Council, First Nations Major Projects Coalition and other organizations.
Through dozens of information sessions, focus groups, meetings and workshops, the items that have generated the most discussion include:
- First Nations partnership in projects and collaboration in designing the call;
- project development challenges;
- the call process, including minimum project size;
- opportunities and constraints related to transmission infrastructure; and
- subsequent calls for power.
“As we prepare to launch our call for power next spring, we are listening carefully to what is important to First Nations and stakeholders,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “We have approached developing this call openly and with flexibility in mind. Feedback is so important, and we will continue to refine the design of the call based on what we hear from British Columbians as we continue engagement over the next several months.”
During late fall and early winter, BC Hydro will continue to seek input from First Nations partners and industry stakeholders about the call for power procurement process and parameters, including requirements for First Nations economic participation, and what the terms and conditions of electricity purchase agreements will look like between BC Hydro and the successful proponents.
The recently launched BC Hydro Task Force is providing strategic advice to government and BC Hydro to help shape and advance the call for power.
The BC Hydro Task Force’s initial recommendations to government include the following early, targeted actions focused on accelerating the planned acquisition of new clean or renewable energy resources:
- BC Hydro formally announce that the call for power in spring 2024 will be the first in a series of energy acquisitions, as the transition to clean energy continues to accelerate and BC Hydro requires additional resources to electrify the B.C. economy;
- BC Hydro continue to engage proactively with First Nations and proponents to provide timely information so they can respond promptly to the future energy acquisition processes;
- BC Hydro accelerate the overall timeline associated with its planned spring 2024 call for power to bring new energy resources online, including the bid process, proposal evaluation, and awarding of electricity purchase agreements with power producers;
- government direct the Clean Energy and Major Projects Office to establish a mechanism to support renewable-energy project proponents through the regulatory and First Nations engagement process; and
- government identify other ways to reduce timelines associated with permitting and assessment of new clean-energy projects in advance of the upcoming call for power.
The Province has accepted these recommendations and is taking action toward implementation. The recommendations address many of the challenges raised by First Nations and stakeholders during the call for power engagement process, and are important steps to ensuring that the call for power is a success.
People and businesses, and First Nations are encouraged to provide their input on B.C.’s clean-energy acquisition process at the BC Hydro Task Force web page, which includes a public feedback form.
For more information about BC Hydro’s upcoming call for power, including a summary of engagement to date, visit:
To meet the members of the BC Hydro Task Force, learn about the work and recommendations of the task force, and provide feedback, visit:
To review the original call for power announcement, visit:
A backgrounder follows.