Site C Clean Energy Project

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Image Credit: BC Hydro

Ranking for 2014: 1

Industry Sector: Energy

Specific Sector: Hydroelectric

Range: $5 billion +

Project Value: $10,700,000,000

Provincial: $10.7 billion

Government Funds Involved:

Funding Source: Public

Location: Near Fort St. John, British Columbia

Estimated End Date of Substantial Completion: November 2024


This hydroelectric earthfill dam on the Peace River includes several components: an earthfill dam 1,050 metres long and 60 metres high, a 1,100-MW generating station and associated structures, an 83-kilometre-long reservoir, realignment of six sections of Highway 29, and two 77-kilometre transmission lines along an existing transmission line right-of-way, connecting Site C to the existing provincial power grid.

The project’s rigorous environmental assessment was completed in October 2014 and approval granted after numerous consultation meetings, presentations, and events with the public, Aboriginal groups, and local governments. Preliminary engineering work has been done, including the development of plans for construction access roads, clearing plans, construction materials, geotechnical shoreline investigations, and reviews of highway realignment plans.

In 2017, the new NDP-Green coalition government called for an independent review of the Site C project by the B.C. Utilities Commission to determine if it should be continued, delayed, or cancelled outright. As a result of the delays caused by the investigation, BC Hydro president and CEO Chris O’Riley announced that the project cost had risen by $610 million. The total forecast project cost now sits at $8.945 billion, with the additional project cost set aside as a contingency fund. The increased cost was associated with the inability to meet the timeline of river diversion in 2019. However, it was determined that the project completion deadline of November 2024 was still attainable.

In September of 2018, BC Hydro announced that it had selected the new alignment for the Highway 29 redesign. As a result of the construction of the Site C project, the highway has to be realigned in six locations across a 30-kilometre span. Construction works for this project are expected to commence in 2020.


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