MIL-OSI Canada: Growth in Burnaby powered by clean, affordable electricity

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Source: Government of Canada regional news

BC Hydro will construct more than $1.25 billion in capital projects throughout Burnaby 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. “In Burnaby and 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., which is a 50% increase in investments over its previous capital plan. These new construction projects are forecast to support 10,500 to 12,500 jobs on average annually, and will increase and maintain BC Hydro’s capital investments as major projects such as the Site C hydoelectric dam 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 cities like Burnaby, where we are seeing significant housing, building, transportation and industrial growth, we are embarking on significant upgrades to our electricity system, including investments in new and expanded substation projects as well as voltage conversion projects 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.”

Burnaby is experiencing significant growth in the Brentwood, Metrotown and Burquitlam/Lougheed communities, as well as forecasting industrial growth in the Big Bend and Lake City areas. To meet growth in these areas, BC Hydro is investing in several projects as part of its 10-year capital plan, including:

  • Horne Payne substation expansion: will power an additional 10,000 to 17,500 homes, expected completion in 2027.
  • Newell substation expansion: will power an additional 10,000 to 17,500 homes, expected completion in 2027. 
  • Lougheed substation expansion: will power an additional 20,000 to 35,000 homes, expected completion in 2029.
  • Barnard substation expansion: will power an additional 18,000 to 30,000 homes, expected completion 2029.
  • New substation to serve Metrotown area: will power an additional 40,000 to 70,000 homes, expected completion 2033.
  • Voltage conversion projects in Metrotown and Barnard.

Converting BC Hydro’s equipment to a higher voltage will power quality and reliability in these areas without having to add more power lines and equipment.

“Burnaby residents and business owners are seeking affordable and reliable options for clean energy and these investments in electricity infrastructure will help meet those needs as our city grows,” said Sav Dhaliwal, acting mayor of Burnaby. “We seek to be a leader in the transition away from carbon-intensive energy and these foundational investments from BC Hydro are essential steps on that path.”

Separate from its 10-year capital plan, BC Hydro recently launched a call for power to acquire approximately 3,000 gigawatt hours per year of clean electricity. This is BC Hydro’s first competitive call for power in more than 15 years and will add 5% to its current supply, and will be the first in a series of calls for power as BC Hydro requires more power to electrify B.C.’s growing economy and reduce harmful pollution.

Quotes:

Raj Chouhan, MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds –

“This significant investment by BC Hydro is crucial for Burnaby. As our city continues to grow rapidly, these upgrades and expansions will ensure that our residents and businesses have access to reliable and clean electricity. This not only supports our economic development, but also aligns with our commitment to a sustainable and clean economy. I’m proud to see these upgrades coming to Burnaby.”

Graeme Hutchison, president, MoveUP (The Movement of United Professionals) –

“This substantial investment by BC Hydro will ensure a safe electrical supply for generations. It is not only an investment in critical infrastructure, but also in the future of people in British Columbia. It is an investment to help people power their homes, businesses, and vehicles. It will also create good paying, unionized jobs in our communities for workers like our members at BC Hydro and Powertech who provide an essential service to people across the province every day.”

Quick Facts:

  • Currently, 98% of the power generated for B.C.’s integrated grid comes from clean or renewable resources, making B.C. a leader in North America when it comes to clean energy.
  • Electricity demand in B.C. is expected to increase by 15% or more between now and 2030.
  • BC Hydro has kept rate increases below the rate of inflation for six years in a row.
  • British Columbia has the second-lowest residential electricity rates in North America, and the third-lowest commercial and industrial rates.
  • BC Hydro was a net exporter of electricity for the past five years (2019-23), with the majority of imports coming from dedicated clean sources of electricity.

Learn More:

To view BC Hydro’s 10-year capital plan, Power Pathway: Building BC’s energy future, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/CS-4307-CapitalPlan_LTR.pdf

To view a graph of BC Hydro’s planned capital spending, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/CS-4307-CapitalExpenditures_Chart.pdf

For details about BC Hydro’s call for power, visit:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023EMLI0036-000941

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