BC Hydro is set to undertake an unprecedented wave of construction in the coming decade, strategically expanding British Columbia’s electricity system to fuel the growth of a sustainable economy and support local communities while fostering job creation. The work will include upgrading BC’s dams and generating facilities to make them safer, more reliable and more efficient.

In an announcement at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum in Prince George, Premier David Eby revealed a bold $36-billion initiative aimed at bolstering British Columbia's electricity infrastructure, fostering a burgeoning clean economy, and generating numerous employment opportunities.

Premier Eby emphasized the critical need to expand the electrical system to accommodate industrial development, power homes and businesses, and support the province's future growth. The plan, titled "Power Pathway: Building BC’s energy future," marks an unprecedented investment by BC Hydro over the next decade, representing a 50% increase over the previous capital plan. This substantial funding will focus on community and regional infrastructure projects to deliver clean, affordable electricity.

The updated 10-year capital plan includes almost $36 billion in investments from 2024-25 to 2033-34, with a considerable rise in funding for electrification and emissions-reduction infrastructure projects, reaching nearly $10 billion, up from $1 billion.

These ambitious construction projects are expected to generate between 10,500 to 12,500 jobs annually on average, providing a significant boost to the province's employment sector. The plan also addresses the growing demand for electricity, attributed to factors such as population growth, housing construction, increased industrial development, and the transition from fossil fuels to clean electricity.

Key components of the plan include the construction of high-voltage transmission lines from Prince George to Terrace to meet industrial demands in the north coast area, the expansion of substations, and the upgrading of dams and generating facilities for improved safety, reliability, and efficiency.

“We’re taking action to build a clean energy future and create thousands of construction jobs for skilled workers as major infrastructure projects like Site C reach completion,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “Together with our first call for power in over 15 years, BC Hydro’s new capital plan – with almost $4 billion in spending every year for the next decade – will drive economic growth for communities all over the province and ensure households and businesses can power up with clean, reliable and affordable electricity.”

BC Hydro aims to acquire new sources of clean, renewable electricity, including wind and solar, leveraging the province's integrated system of hydro-electric dams as flexible energy storage solutions. 

“Our electricity grid is already one of the cleanest in the world, and to meet the scale and pace of what’s required, we need to invest in our system and build for the future,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “We have already taken significant steps toward sourcing the clean electricity needed to meet the future demand, and we are now embarking on the next step, our $36 billion 10-year capital plan, which includes everything from investing in our generation assets and large transmission infrastructure to the substations and local wires that deliver power to homes and businesses across the province.”

In addition to the capital plan, Premier Eby announced a streamlined, one-window approval process to expedite approvals for electricity projects, supporting industries in need and facilitating job creation. The streamlined process, managed by the Climate Action Secretariat and BC Hydro, will enhance efficiency and provide funding certainty for proponents.

The Premier's announcement comes at a crucial time, with electricity demand projected to increase by 15% or more between now and 2030.