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Media Contacts

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation

Media Relations
250 880-4935

BC Hydro

Media Relations
604 928 6468


What people are saying about the call for power

Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation –

“In addition to delivering new sources of clean electricity to help us reduce emissions, the projects that will be created by BC Hydro’s call for power will create more skilled jobs and generate an estimated $2.3 billion to $3.6 billion in capital spending throughout the province. That’s the B.C. clean economy in action.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy –

“B.C.’s clean electricity is one of our biggest advantages in the battle against climate change and has helped establish us as a leader in the global transition to cleaner sources of energy. With this call for power, we’re taking action to make sure we have the clean electricity people will need to power their lives and businesses in a low-carbon future, building partnerships that benefit First Nations and generating new economic opportunities in the clean energy sector.”

Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation –

“BC Hydro’s call for power will bring to First Nations exciting new opportunities and business partnerships. It recognizes the powerful role that our First Nations can play in our clean-energy future, as we work together in the spirit of reconciliation to achieve our climate goals.”

Ehren Cory, CEO, Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) –

“The CIB is pleased to support British Columbia’s growing demand for clean electricity through BC Hydro’s call for power. First Nations equity is a critical part of developing the new infrastructure and we are offering Indigenous Equity Initiative loans to First Nations seeking financing for their ownership of these sustainable energy projects.”  

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs –

“Without question, the climate crisis is devastating our planet, and it is necessary to accelerate the move to green our economy focusing on clean, renewable energy as soon as possible.”

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –  

“All new clean-energy projects will occur on First Nations title lands in B.C. It is imperative to find inventive ways to include First Nations as equity owners. We acknowledge the Canadian Infrastructure Bank and BC Hydro for their innovative approach to bringing equity opportunities to First Nations in B.C. The First Nations Leadership Council proposes a First Nations fairness monitor to oversee the request for proposal process to ensure First Nations commitments are fulfilled.”

Robert Phillips, political executive, First Nations Summit –

“A new call for power requiring First Nations equity participation in all projects is an important step forward. There is much more work ahead, including future steps toward compensation for past infringements from large-scale hydro projects of the past, environmental enhancement and restoration of our rivers and streams, and revenue sharing. I commend the provincial government for taking this first step toward recognition of our rights and title in the context of the BC Hydro call for power.”

Kwatuuma Cole Sayers, executive director, Clean Energy BC –

“Clean Energy BC (CEBC) is excited to see this announcement as it’s another example that the Government of British Columbia recognizes that clean electricity is a competitive advantage. So, we need to invest in our electrical system, including new renewable power generation under this call for power. This call for power will support the province’s climate goals, advance reconciliation, attract clean investment and create jobs for people in an innovative sector of the economy. CEBC members look forward to continuing our work with government and BC Hydro to build a stronger and cleaner economy, supporting First Nations self-determination and economic opportunities, and positioning B.C. as a low-carbon leader and clean-energy superpower.”

Cody Gatzke, business manager and financial secretary, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) –

“IBEW is prepared to answer BC Hydro’s call for power by providing the skilled workforce that independent power producers, power-line contractors and BC Hydro requires to construct and maintain the power system. We are proud to offer the only power-line technician apprenticeship program in British Columbia. IBEW stands behind the utilization of B.C.-based contractors and union workers, ensuring economic and reconciliation opportunities benefit local communities.”

Wade Grant, board chair, New Relationship Trust –

“New Relationship Trust is proud to continue its role of managing the BC Indigenous clean-energy initiative and for the transformative collaboration with the Province of B.C., Canada and BC Hydro. This work empowers First Nations communities across British Columbia to achieve clean-energy capacity. Today’s announcement also recognizes and respects the important role First Nations play as essential partners in the transition to a net-zero energy economy.”

Tom Hackney, policy adviser, BC Sustainable Energy Association –

“The 2024 call for power is a big step for a clean-energy transition in B.C. We believe BC Hydro’s new power acquisitions will strongly support greenhouse gas reductions in B.C., while helping to create jobs, keep energy affordable and promote reconciliation with First Nations. The world is going in this direction and B.C. should do its share.”

Matthew Klippenstein, executive director, Hydrogen BC –

“The Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association and its affiliate Hydrogen BC commend this call for new clean electricity. Alongside the 10-year capital plan, it will grow economic activity around the province, support the work of reconciliation, improve our energy system’s resilience and position British Columbia to reduce more emissions in easier- and harder-to-decarbonize sectors, alike with direct electrification and clean hydrogen.”

Matt MacInnis, president, Electrical Contractors Association of B.C. –

“British Columbia’s electrical and line utility contractors look forward to helping build new sources of clean, renewable electricity, and the supporting transmission infrastructure. The projects that will be developed through the call for power are essential to meeting the future electricity needs of our communities and economy.”

Evan Pivnick, program manager, Clean Energy Canada –

“Today’s announcement of a new call for power — the first in over a decade — is vital to securing the clean energy this province needs over the coming years. Expanding our clean-power supply through a series of new power calls will be essential for landing new clean investments, fighting climate change, and critically, ensuring that households can take advantage of technologies, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps, that can reduce British Columbians’ energy bills.”

Chris Severson-Baker, executive director, Pembina Institute –

“Clean electricity is key to solving the decarbonization and resiliency puzzle, and this call for power is a step toward adding much-needed capacity to achieve B.C.’s electrification and emissions-reduction targets. This call for power, tied to First Nations ownership, is BC Hydro contributing to long overdue change in how the wealth of B.C.’s resources are shared.”

Merran Smith, president, New Economy Canada –

“The global shift to a clean economy is happening now and the race is on. As investors continue to look to put their dollars behind industries powered by clean energy, adding this much-needed electricity supply to B.C.’s grid will attract investment and help British Columbians access the reliable, affordable and clean power they need to get to work, produce products the world wants, compete and win.”  

Robert Sparks, chair, Government Relations Committee, Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association (VEVA) –

“This is very positive news for all British Columbians. The call for power will add to B.C.’s clean-energy supply and provide valuable investment, training and employment opportunities. BC Hydro did extensive research on future electricity needs. In the transportation sector in particular, the expanded capacity will help support sustainable, electrified forms of transportation that can cumulatively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help address the climate crisis. VEVA is pleased to support the call.”

Chris Wasilenchuk, president, Construction, Maintenance and Allied Workers –

“It is a positive step forward that BC Hydro is committing this capital investment to build out the power needs for British Columbia and to lead the way to a greener future. We need this commitment in infrastructure to ensure we have the necessary supply to meet the demands of our province. This commitment also means jobs for British Columbians, which also leads to a stronger economy.”

What to know about new power for B.C.’s clean-energy future

Why a call for power?

Updated demand forecasts filed by BC Hydro with the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) in June 2023 confirmed that electricity demand in B.C. is expected to increase by 15% between now and 2030. BC Hydro has seen growing demand for power from across its residential, commercial and industrial customer base. The demand is coming from:

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

In response, the Province announced in June 2023 that BC Hydro would move forward with a call for new sources of clean, renewable electricity to launch in spring 2024 to power British Columbia’s growing economy and create new jobs throughout the province.

In addition to the other actions in BC Hydro’s updated integrated resource plan (IRP), acquiring 3,000 gigawatt hours per year (GWh/y) of new generation will position BC Hydro to meet customer demand for the future and reflects B.C.’s legislated greenhouse gas reduction targets. Projects under the call will add approximately 5% to BC Hydro’s annual generating capability.

How was the call developed?

The call for power was designed by BC Hydro following extensive engagement with First Nations, independent power producers and stakeholders.

Since June 2023, BC Hydro has conducted 31 information and engagement sessions and focus groups, 42 individual meetings with First Nations and five surveys. More than 650 attendees have participated in events, 99 First Nations have been engaged and BC Hydro has received more than 2,500 individual pieces of feedback.

The BC Hydro task force has also provided strategic advice on the design of the call for power.

What is BC Hydro looking for?

The request for proposals (RFP) for new sources of electricity generation was posted on BC Hydro’s website on April 3, 2024.

In order to participate, proposed projects must:  

  • have a plant capacity (maximum output) that is greater or equal to 40 megawatts (MW), and less than or equal to 200 MW;
  • have a minimum 25% equity ownership held by one or more First Nations, whose territory includes the location of the project;
  • qualify as a clean or renewable resource as defined in the Clean Energy Act (including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, biogas and geothermal heat);
  • be located in British Columbia, excluding Fort Nelson, non-integrated areas, and other areas of the province from which BC Hydro would be required to transmit energy through another out-of-province jurisdiction to the Lower Mainland;
  • reasonably expected to be able to achieve a commercial operation date between Oct. 1, 2028, and Oct. 1, 2031;
  • be a newly constructed facility, which could include new generating units that will generate energy in addition to any existing on-site generation units;
  • use proven generation technologies – i.e., readily available in commercial markets and in commercial use, as evidenced by at least three generation plants generating electrical energy for three years to a standard of reliability generally required by good utility practice; and
  • have an executed interconnections request filed with BC Hydro for the project.

Additional credits will be awarded in the bid evaluation process for:

  • projects with First Nations equity ownership that is higher than the 25% minimum requirement (rising from 26% to 51%); and
  • projects that provide other forms of benefits flowing to non-equity holding First Nations on whose territory the project is located.

The RFP also includes incentives for successfully bid projects that are able to go into operation between Oct. 1, 2028, and Oct. 1, 2030.

The closing date for submissions to the call for power RFP is Sept. 16, 2024. BC Hydro expects to award electricity purchase agreements to successful proponents in December 2024.

What financial assistance is available for projects?

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) will be providing a two-product package in support of the call for power that would be available to all successful projects as an option, but not a requirement:

  1. An Indigenous equity loan for participating First Nations to help pay for as much as 90% of their equity position in a project awarded an electricity purchase agreement.
  2. A loan for as much as 30% of project costs, intended to provide a bridge to any of the Government of Canada’s investment tax credits that proponents are eligible to receive and otherwise repaid using instalment payments over an extended period.

Various investment tax credits were announced as part of the federal Budget 2023 and may provide refundable tax credits of as much as 30% of capital investments in renewable electricity generation projects.

The two products offered by the CIB must be used together and cannot be used independently.

What about smaller projects not eligible for the call for power?

In June 2023, the Province provided $140 million to the B.C. Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCICEI) to support the development of smaller, grid-connected 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 BCICEI is a clean-energy funding partnership between the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada and the New Relationship Trust.

The Province, New Relationship Trust, BC Hydro and PacifiCan are developing a new program stream to help offset the higher anticipated cost of small-scale power projects (for example, less than 15 megawatts (MW) in size) relative to larger, utility-scale projects being sought in the BC Hydro call for power (greater than 40 MW). Once implemented, the new program stream is expected to draw down the $140 million over several years. The BCICEI program development team intends to begin engagements with First Nations in spring 2024.

What else is BC Hydro doing to meet increasing demand?

Site C is expected to achieve first power by the end of 2024 and be fully complete by 2025, adding 8% to BC Hydro’s current supply and providing enough clean electricity to power half a million homes or 1.7 million electric vehicles per year.

BC Hydro’s updated integrated resource plan (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.

In addition to the call for power, the IRP includes a range of actions to meet future demand, including:

  • ramping up demand-side management (energy efficiency) activities and investments to conserve energy and limit peak demand to achieve greater customer energy savings;
  • offering voluntary time-varying rates, like the optional time-of-use rates available starting in June 2024, to achieve system capacity savings, including for home charging of electric vehicles;
  • updating the net-metering program that enables customers with solar installations to sell power back to BC Hydro’s grid;
  • 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; and
  • advancing the integration of utility-scale batteries (energy-storage systems).

The BCUC approved BC Hydro’s IRP in March 2024, following a multi-year regulatory proceeding that included participation from 36 stakeholder intervenors and BC Hydro answering approximately 5,000 questions. This is the first time that the BCUC has approved BC Hydro’s IRP since 2006. The BCUC’s oversight of long-term energy planning was restored in 2019 through legislative amendments to the Utilities Commission Act.