Published On: Tuesday, 29 March 2016

BC Hydro Completes Major Upgrade

BC Hydro Completes Major Upgrade

THOMPSON / OKANAGAN – BC Hydro has completed a $714 million project to add two new generating units at the Mica dam. With the addition of units five and six, the facility now has six generating units.

"BC Hydro is making investments to secure our province's future electricity needs. An important part of this is looking at existing facilities to see if they can be upgraded to add even more power to the system," said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. "The two new units give us access to more clean power for decades. BC Hydro has also recently added one more unit at Revelstoke dam and will add another one at Revelstoke in the coming years."

Mica produces power for more than 650,000 homes each year. The two new generating units increase Mica's capacity by about 1,000 megawatts, bringing its total capacity to more than 2,805 megawatts. When Mica was built in the 1970s, it was built with four units and space for two more to be added in the future.

"Our Mica facility will continue to play an important role in meeting increased winter demand," said Jessica McDonald, President and CEO, BC Hydro. "Our new high voltage Interior to Lower Mainland transmission line is bringing the power generated at Mica to our high load centres on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island."

The addition of the turbines is one part of an eight-year upgrade and expansion of Mica. Unit five went into service last winter and unit six went into service this winter. BC Hydro also recently upgraded the facility's aging switchgear equipment and constructed a new series capacitor station on the transmission line from Mica near Seymour Arm.

To date, construction activities for the Mica expansion and upgrade projects have created about 1,000 full time jobs for tradespeople in the region.

BC Hydro is in the midst of a major capital plan to upgrade its generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure in B.C. BC Hydro completed construction of the new, high-voltage, Interior to Lower Mainland transmission line in November. The line is the first 500-kilovolt transmission line added to the system in 30 years. It will bring power from facilities like Mica and Revelstoke to B.C.'s largest population centres to meet growing demand.

Quick Facts:

  • Mica is the cornerstone of BC Hydro's Columbia River generation system and now accounts for about 22 per cent of BC Hydro's generation capacity.
  • The Mica projects have also helped create trades training capacity in nearby communities by providing a total of $120,000 towards local hands-on trades training programs.