Canadian utility and hydropower project operator BC Hydro has been directed to conduct a final round of consultations on its most recent draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with First Nation groups, key stakeholders and the public.
The draft IRP details BC Hydro's recommended actions to meet an expected 40% increase in British Columbia's demand for electricity over the next 20 years while keeping power rates affordable. Canada's Clean Energy Act requires a plan to be submitted at least once every five years.
The most recent proposal is a response to an earlier draft that was made available for public consultation in May 2012. Feedback on its current iteration will be accepted from September 3 through October 18, after which BC Hydro will re-submit the IRP for government consideration by November 15.
"BC Hydro has carefully considered the many trade-offs required to serve our 1.9 million customers while planning for the electricity needs of future generations," company president and CEO Charles Reid said. "The IRP renews our commitment to conservation to provide customers with the ability to reduce their electricity bills and address the province's long-term electricity requirements which we will meet with clean, renewable and cost-effective supply options."
Specifically recognized in the draft IRP is the proposed 1,100-MW Site C hydropower project on British Columbia's Peace River, which, BC Hydro said, "would meet the long-term energy needs of customers with cost-effective, reliable and renewable electricity."
The plan also details the utility's desire to diversify its generating fleet to include other forms of power production -- most notably with liquefied natural gas -- though hydroelectricity is still noted for its past and future importance.
"From the first time BC Hydro was created more than 50 years ago, British Columbia has built some of the most ambitious hydroelectric projects in the world," the company said in a release. "Generations of British Columbians have benefited from the foresight of these historic investments."
For more information about BC Hydro's draft Integrated Resource Plan, visit here.