BC Hydro’s Site C project—its third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia—will generate enough energy to power about 450,000 homes or 1.7 million electric vehicles per year when it comes on-line in 2025.

The Peace River already has two large hydroelectric facilities (W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Peace Canyon Dam) that rely primarily on the Williston Reservoir for water storage. As the third project on the Peace River, Site C will rely on water already stored in the Williston Reservoir. This means that Site C will generate about 35 per cent of the energy produced at W.A.C. Bennett Dam, with only five per cent of the reservoir area.

Construction on Site C began in July, 2015. The project is about 80 per cent complete and remains on-track to have all six generating units in-service by 2025, Greg Alexis, Manager of Public Affairs & Community Relations, Site C, tells Business Elite Canada.

“In July, 2023, we announced the completion of the earthfill dam,” says Alexis. “The earthfill dam stands about 60 metres tall (the height of a 20-storey building), stretches more than one kilometre across the Peace River and is about 500 metres wide at its base. In total, about 16 million cubic metres of earthfill material was placed, enough to fill the Great Pyramid of Giza six times.”

The completion of the earthfill dam is one of the essential milestones required before BC Hydro can begin filling the Site C reservoir. “While we are aiming to begin filling the reservoir later this fall, there are still a number of key areas that need to be completed first: approach channel, spillways, tailrace area, dam intake structures and certain components of the powerhouse,” says Alexis.

Filling the reservoir is one of the last steps in building Site C, as it allows the generating station, spillways, turbines and generators to be put into operation. The reservoir will be more than 80 kilometres long and cover 5,550 hectares of land, with a total surface area of about 9,330 hectares. It will take about four months to fill the Site C reservoir.

Once the Site C project is complete in 2025, it will provide British Columbia with 1,100 megawatts of firm capacity and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours of clean electricity each year.

The Clean BC Plan

An astounding 98 per cent of energy generated by BC Hydro is clean energy.

At the core of the province’s clean energy strategy is reducing fossil-fuel consumption, increasing new biofuel consumption, and shifting to using more clean B.C. electricity. Specifically, by 2030, the policies in this strategy will require an additional 4,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity over and above currently projected demand growth to electrify key segments of our economy. This is equivalent to increasing BC Hydro’s current system-wide capacity by about 8 per cent, or about the demand of the City of Vancouver.

To meet this requirement means harnessing B.C.’s vast wealth of clean, renewable power—something that BC Hydro plays a large role in.

“Site C also plays a key role in British Columbia’s CleanBC plan to lower climate-changing emissions by displacing higher carbon fuel sources with clean electricity,” says Alexis. “About 98 per cent of the power BC Hydro generates comes from clean or renewable resources and most of that is powered by water, making British Columbia a leader in clean electricity generation in western North America.”

For more information, please visit www.sitecproject.com