- BC Hydro will be issuing a call to procure renewable energy in Spring 2024, its 1st in 15 years
- It will target mostly utility scale wind and solar power plants among other renewables
- Projects should be ready to start delivering power from 2028 for the utility to feed growing electricity demand from cleaner sources
The British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority (BC Hydro) in the Canadian province of British Columbia in Canada will issue its 1st public call for power in 15 years in 2024, to procure locally produced renewable energy, including wind and solar power, as it targets to increase its power generation capacity with emission-free energy in the face of growing electricity demand.
The call will accept only utility scale wind and solar energy projects among other renewable energy sources and support these with a $140 million support the province is providing to the BC Indigenous Clean Energy Initiative (BCIEI).
Call will be announced in Spring 2024 to start power procurement from 2028 onward. It may be followed by subsequent calls.
According to BC Hydro, the province will see its electricity demand growing by 15% from now to 2030 as population grows and more homes and businesses move to clean electricity in the future. It estimates the need to acquire about 3,000 GWh annually for new clean or renewable energy generation by 2028.
Previously, the state-owned utility says it had bought ‘too much power from independent power producers at the wrong time, and paid too much for it’. “When the program was indefinitely suspended in 2019, it was offering 25- to 40-year contracts at an average price of $108 MWh, well above the market price of power at that time,” it added.
Learning from this will prompt the utility to plan for smaller, competitive calls at regular intervals, better aligned with electricity demand and offering cost-effective pricing in the future. Wind and solar are high on priority as the technologies have improved enough to bring costs down and their installation times have also reduced.
“BC Hydro is well positioned to integrate additional wind and other intermittent energy projects, thanks to its flexible hydroelectric system built around dams with reservoirs that act as ‘batteries’. The reservoirs store water and allow BC Hydro to ramp production up or down almost instantly,” stated the utility.