BC Hydro seeks partners to develop new transmission line

BC Hydro is negotiating with clean energy producers for the co-development of a new transmission line for the province’s Robson Valley, located in eastern British Columbia about 200 km (124 mi) east of Prince George, the company said May 22.

The utility is seeking partners to help fund the New Robson Valley transmission project, which would include a new 138-kV transmission line that would run from Valemount to the Village of McBride. At present, the village is served by an 85-km (53-mi) distribution-level line, which BC Hydro says is at its maximum capacity. As a result, the region experiences more frequent outages than the provincial average, the utility said.

“The need for additional capacity and service reliability has been a significant issue for residents and industry alike,” the area’s provincial legislator, Shirley Bond, said in a statement announcing the negotiations. “A new transmission line will help create jobs, secure power and act as a badly needed catalyst for economic development in the Robson Valley.”

A new transmission line would improve the reliability of service and support future economic development opportunities in the area while connecting new clean energy projects.

BC Hydro will fund approximately C$50m (US$48.6m) of system upgrades at the Valemount substation that are required for the transmission line to McBride. Clean energy producers in the region will fund the costs of the transmission line and a new substation at McBride.

In addition to the transmission line, BC Hydro will begin negotiating power purchase agreements with clean energy producers in the region.

The total cost of the project, including upgrading the existing Valemount substation, building a new substation in the McBride area, building the line, and the estimated in-service date have not yet been determined, a BC Hydro spokesperson told TransmissionHub on May 23.