BC Hydro has released the draft version of its Integrated Resources Plan, outlining electricity planning in the province for the next 20 years.

The report includes 12 recommendation and was released to the public for consultation until July 6. First Nation consultation will take place from June 26 to August 13.

BC Hydro will submit the final IRP to the B.C. government for approval in December.

The draft IRP addresses three key long-term questions facing the Crown-owned utility:

  • How much electricity will British Columbians need over the next 20 years?
  • What is the gap between existing supply and forecast demand?
  • How can BC Hydro close the electricity gap in the Province?

The draft says BC Hydro customers will need considerable new energy and capacity over the next 20 years. Specifically, in the next 10 years, they will need an additional 4,900 gigawatt-hours of firm energy and 1,100 megawatts of peak capacity to meet probable needs.

While some of this demand increase will be a result of greater use of electric vehicles, the greater stress on electricity demand is from new mining, oil and gas development in northern B.C.

The draft IRP includes measures to encourage energy conservation and efficiency.

"Pursue voluntary conservation programs that encourage industrial, commercial and residential customers to reduce electricity consumption during peak periods," the draft said.

It also includes a few recommendations for infrastructure capital investment for both capacity and transmission purposes.

The $7.9-billion Site C Dam is also supported with an explicit recommendation to build the dam as soon as possible.

The plan also recommends acquiring up to 2,000 gigawatt hours per year from clean energy producers for projects that would come into service between 2016 and 2018.

 

With files from the CBC's Calyn Shaw