BC Hydro announced it will build more than $3 billion in capital projects on Vancouver Island over the next decade to upgrade and expand the electricity grid and provide clean power for homes and businesses in growing communities.

“We must build out B.C.’s electrical system like never before, to power our homes and businesses, to power a growing economy and to power our future,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “On Vancouver Island and in communities across B.C., these construction projects will create thousands of good jobs over the next decade and ensure that people have access to clean, affordable and reliable electricity, when they need it and where they need it.”

In January 2024, the Province announced BC Hydro’s updated 10-Year Capital Plan, which contains $36 billion in regional and community infrastructure investments throughout B.C., a 50 per cent increase in investments over its previous capital plan. These construction projects are forecasted to support 10,500 to 12,500 jobs annually, on average, and will increase and maintain BC Hydro’s capital investments as major projects such as Site C are completed.

The plan reflects growing demand for electricity across sectors due to population growth and housing construction, increased industrial development, and people and businesses switching from fossil fuels to clean electricity, among other factors.

“In growing regions like Vancouver Island where we are seeing substantial housing, building, transportation and industrial growth, we are embarking on significant upgrades to our electricity system, including investments in our generation plants, new and expanded substation projects as well as major distribution investments to support underground and overhead infrastructure extensions to ensure we can continue to provide reliable and clean electricity to our customers,” said Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro. “We are also making important changes to our customer-connections process to speed up timelines for newly constructed homes and buildings.”

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Vancouver Island is experiencing significant growth in Victoria, Saanich, Langford, Colwood and Nanaimo. To meet growth in these areas, BC Hydro is investing in several projects as part of its 10-Year Capital Plan, including:

  • building a new substation in the Langford area that will power an additional 40,000 to 70,000 homes and be in service by 2030;
  • replacing end-of-life transmission underground cables that service Victoria, Esquimalt and Saanich, increasing capacity more than 60 per cenbt, enough to power more than 100,000 additional homes;
  • major distribution investments to increase power-line capacity to support new residential housing and anticipated residential load growth in:
  • Bear Mountain and Langford Heights;
  • Victoria, Oak Bay and Esquimalt;
  • District of Saanich and central Saanich; and
  • North and South Nanaimo.
  • upgrades of transmission capacity to Vancouver Island by replacing old undersea cables with new cables by the Gulf Islands; and
  • seismic upgrade projects to BC Hydro’s three dams within the Campbell River system – John Hart, Strathcona and Ladore – to maintain downstream public safety and to ensure a continuing reliable local supply of energy, with all three projects planned to be in service by 2030.

BC Hydro is also investigating the feasibility of grid-scale batteries on Vancouver Island to provide additional capacity to address anticipated growth and improve reliability in the region.

“This significant investment by BC Hydro will support the sustainable growth of communities on southern Vancouver Island. Our fast-expanding region has ambitious housing, economic development and climate targets that this commitment to clean and dependable electricity will directly support. Generations of residents and businesses in Saanich will experience the benefits of this upgraded and expanded infrastructure,” said Dean Murdock, mayor of Saanich.

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In north Vancouver Island, work is being undertaken to voltage convert and upgrade the existing system supplying Port Alice, which will provide BC Hydro with more options to restore outages, as well as allow more and larger customers to connect to the system. BC Hydro is also making investments to replace its substation in Woss.

Featured image: (L to R) MLA Ravi Parmar; Dean Murdock, Mayor of Saanich; MLA Rob Fleming; Darlene Rotchford, Councillor and Acting Mayor, Township of Esquimalt; Bruce Williams, CEO, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce; Josie Osborne, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation; Marianne Alto, Mayor of Victoria; and Chris O’Riley, president and CEO, BC Hydro. (BC Hydro)

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