BC Hydro has announced it is beginning consultation on its Peace to Kelly Lake Capacitors Project.

The project involves building up to four new capacitor stations – used to maintain system voltage levels and secure system performance – along the six existing 500 kilovolt transmission lines that run from the Gordon M. Shrum and Peace Canyon generating stations near Hudson’s Hope to the Kelly Lake substation near Clinton.

The Peace Region currently generates more than 30% of the total electricity produced in the province. With new generation resources – like Site C and other smaller independent power projects – being built, more electricity will be generated in the area in coming years.

The existing transmission system in the Peace Region is already at 95% capacity and some equipment is aging and requires replacement. As a result, BC Hydro must upgrade and expand its capacitor stations to ensure it can move the electricity from where it is generated in the Peace Region to other parts of the province. This avoids the need to build a new transmission line to increase capacity.

BC Hydro is considering three alternatives for the project and is consulting with First Nations, local governments and residents.

The project is in its earliest planning stage and BC Hydro expects to identify a leading alternative in early 2019. A Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the BC Utilities Commission is required for this project. If approved, the project is expected to be complete between 2024 and 2026.