VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark announced today the Province has approved the Site C Clean Energy Project, concluding it will provide British Columbia with the most affordable, reliable clean power for over 100 years.

“Affordable, reliable, clean electricity is the backbone of British Columbia’s economy. Site C will support our quality of life for decades to come and will enable continued investment and a growing economy,” said Premier Clark.

B.C.’s population and economy are growing, and the demand for power is expected to increase by 40% over the next 20 years. Site C will be required even with BC Hydro’s ambitious Power Smart programs that are targeted to meet 78% of future electricity growth.

“British Columbia has the third-lowest electricity rates in North America and we need to meet our future needs in a way that keeps rates down,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. “It’s clear that to keep rates low, we must choose the option of building Site C.”

Over the first 50 years of Site C’s project life, ratepayers will save an average of $650 to $900 million each year, compared to alternatives – this amounts to average annual savings of approximately six to eight per cent for the typical household. The project will generate a century of low-cost power, providing enough electricity for about 450,000 homes per year – an eight-per-cent increase in supply to BC Hydro’s system in 2024.

As the third project on the Peace River, the firm energy it provides will support the development of more independent power projects (IPPs) by backing-up intermittent resources, such as wind. IPPs currently provide 25% of B.C.’s electricity and will continue to play a vital role in meeting the province’s energy needs.

“Site C is essential to keeping the lights on while maintaining low rates for our customers,” said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “This project will build on the success of our existing hydroelectric system and benefit British Columbians for generations to come.”

The capital-cost estimate for the project has been updated to $8.335 billion, and government has also established a project reserve of an additional $440 million to account for events outside of BC Hydro’s control that could occur over an eight-year construction period, such as higher than forecast inflation or interest rates, for a total of up to $8.775 billion. The reserve is subject to provincial Treasury Board approval.

The project, which has undergone a thorough and independent multi-year environmental assessment process, will start construction in summer 2015 and will provide approximately 10,000 direct construction jobs.

“Today’s announcement is a historic milestone and we look forward to building this important provincial project,” said Susan Yurkovich, executive vice-president responsible for Site C. “We will continue to work with First Nations, communities and landowners to ensure that we deliver on our commitments and realize the many benefits of this project.”

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