BC Hydro breaks ground on innovative clean energy project

Golden and Field home to a Canadian first

  • Jun. 14, 2011 9:00 a.m.

GOLDEN – Increased power reliability for Golden and Field will be achieved with a state-of-the-art clean energy storage source.  A battery bank unit will store clean energy produced by BC Hydro that can then be used to help meet electricity needs during high load periods or during a power outage.

The $15 million project is the first of its kind in Canada and was made possible thanks to $7.5 million in funding from Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Energy Fund.

“With this investment, our Government is once again demonstrating action to help position Canada at the forefront of clean energy technology,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “This innovative energy storage project is not only encouraging clean energy investment in British Columbia but it will reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional technologies.”

“I’m pleased to see a clean, innovative solution that will serve the electricity needs of residents in Golden and Field,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines. “Local businesses and families can now count on a reliable supply of power that is more dependable and environmentally friendly.”

In addition to improving reliability, the project will reduce the environmental impact and cost associated with using diesel generation to supplement power supply during peak hours and during prolonged outages.

“I am very pleased that our Government is helping to support this exciting clean energy project that will not only benefit Golden and Field but will provide an example for communities across Canada,” added David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia.

“We have been working with the communities of Golden and Field to address issues around reliability, capacity and access,” said Greg Reimer, executive vice-president of Transmission and Distribution, BC Hydro. “We are keeping the lights on in B.C. with integrated planning and the advancement of our system through the use of new technology. We are also strengthening and upgrading our existing system which has provided power to this province for 50 years.”

The project involves building and installing two one-megawatt batteries: one battery will be installed close to Golden and the other battery will be installed close to Field. The battery near Golden will supplement the community’s power supply during peak periods. The battery in Field will store up to seven hours of reliable back up supply that could be used during an outage.  The project also involves the installation of smart grid devices that will improve response times during power outages.

“We are very excited to play home to a demonstration project that is the first of its kind in Canada and one of only a few in the entire world,” said Mayor Christina Benty, Town of Golden. “I am pleased that BC Hydro, with help from the Clean Energy Fund, was able to propose a solution that meets the electricity needs of Golden and Field and could help shape the electricity supply in other capacity-constrained and hard-to-reach communities across the country.”

“The community of Field appreciates being chosen for this project and the efforts being made to improve reliability and supply. The battery storage project will assist our community when power is out, particularly during severe weather conditions which can have a significant impact on a remote community like ours,” said Craig Chapman, Chair of the Field Community Council.

The batteries will be supplied by NGK Insulators Limited of Japan and the system will be engineered and installed by S&C Electric Company, a global leader in renewable energy integration.

BC Hydro is also working on another significant project in the Columbia Valley. The Columbia Valley Transmission project involves the construction of two new transmission lines and a new substation and the expansion of existing substations in Golden, Invermere and Cranbrook.

Work on the battery storage project begins this summer and is expected to be complete by the spring of 2012. The Columbia Valley transmission project will be in service by the fall of 2012.

Fifty years ago, British Columbians turned to BC Hydro to build the clean electricity system they count on to power B.C.’s economy, create jobs in every region, and keep the lights on. Now, BC Hydro is building again for the next 50 years. B.C. continues to grow and so has the need for more electricity. That’s why BC Hydro is building, renewing, and encouraging conservation to meet today’s needs and those of future generations. In 2011, BC Hydro is celebrating 50 years of providing power for British Columbians, and inviting them to help prepare for the next 50 years.

Visit BC Hydro’s web site at www.bchydro.com or follow us on twitter: @bchydro