The Canadian utility will this week submit one of its largest ever applications to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for approval of the upgrade work at the dam, which has not received significant modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s.

“The upgrades at Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse are just one example of the real need to keep our heritage assets working hard for British Columbians,” said Energy Minister Steve Thomson. “B.C. is growing and electricity is the backbone of that economic growth. We need to maintain our competitive advantage of having among the lowest rates in North America, while at the same time investing in our facilities to ensure British Columbians continue to enjoy safe, clean and reliable electricity for future generations to come.”

The Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse were built in 1930 and are located in Mission, B.C. After 80 years of service, this project is required to upgrade the facility to modern safety and seismic criteria and replace the powerhouse equipment which is in poor condition.

Construction is scheduled from 2012 to 2018 and includes replacing the spillway gates and dam bridge, rehabilitating the powerhouse structure and installing new turbines, generators and ancillary equipment.

The upgrade work is part of BC Hydro’s three-year capital investment strategy to renew and expand the province’s electricity system. These investments are required to improve and replace aging facilities that were built primarily between 1950 and 1980, ranging from upgrading dams and generating stations, to building entirely new transmission lines linking existing and new substations, and more.