CHETWYND, B.C. – BC Hydro is beginning consultations with stakeholders about its plans to upgrade the capacity of the transmission lines that send electricity from the Peace Region to the rest of the province.
In late April, Hydro announced the Peace to Kelly Lake Capacitors Project, which would see up to four new capacitor stations built along its 500-kilovolt transmission lines in Northern and Central B.C. According to BC Hydro, the upgrades are needed since the system is currently at 95 percent of capacity.
Sabrina Locicero with BC Hydro’s Stakeholder Engagement department says that around one third of B.C.’s electricity, or 4,300 megawatts, is generated in Northeast B.C. She said that amount is forecast to increase by roughly 1,500 megawatts in the next 15 years.
In order to allow the current 500-kV transmission lines to send that increase in power across the provincial grid more efficiently, Locicero explained that Hydro will need to build the capacitor stations to reduce the drop in the electrical voltage that occurs over long distances. Between two and four new capacitor stations would be built between Hudson’s Hope and the Kelly Lake substation, which is located between Lilloett and Clinton.
In each of the three alternatives proposed by BC Hydro for the project, two new capacitor stations would be built in Northeast B.C.: the first would be located near Powder King Mountain Resort in the Pine Pass, while the second would be built around 80 kilometres north of Prince George near Bear Lake. Other new capacitor stations would be built near Prince George, Quesnel, and Williams Lake, depending on which of the three proposals BC Hydro chooses.
Licicero said that the project is still in the early planning stage, with a completion date between 2024 and 2026. She added that at this point, there’s no estimated cost for the project.