New run-of-river project near McBride provides power to grid, improves reliability

A McBride area run-of-river project is now delivering clean, reliable power to BC Hydro’s grid

VANCOUVER – A McBride area run-of-river project is now delivering clean, reliable power to BC Hydro’s grid. The Castle Creek facility began producing electricity this week and is expected to generate 34 gigawatt hours of clean electricity a year – enough electricity to power 3,100 homes annually.

The project is designed to provide “islanding” for McBride – if a problem affects the BC Hydro transmission line supplying power to the community and causes a power outage, the Castle Creek facility can supply power to the community.

The project was developed by Castle Mountain Hydro. BC Hydro signed an agreement in 2010 to purchase power from the project under the Clean Power Call – a request for proposals from projects capable of providing clean electricity using proven technologies such as hydro, wind and solar, among others.

The call resulted in agreements for 27 projects, which are expected to generate 3,266 gigawatt hours of electricity a year – enough to power more than 290,000 homes annually.

“I am proud that we have a strong, sustainable energy industry in B.C. Projects like Castle Creek complement our large hydro-generating facilities well, and allow BC Hydro to continue to deliver locally generated, clean, reliable electricity to British Columbians,”  said Bill Bennett,  Minister of Energy and Mines.

The project is located on a tributary of Castle Creek about 25 kilometres southeast of McBride, and will connect to an existing distribution line to McBride to deliver power.

During construction, the project created about 30 jobs in the McBride area and injected $3 million into the local community. It cost an estimated $15 million to construct.

Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and MLA for Prince George-Valemount stated, “I’m excited to see this local project in service, delivering clean, renewable energy to the Robson Valley. During construction, it contributed to the local economy by providing a number of community-based jobs. Moving forward, it will continue to have a positive impact on the McBride area by providing backup power in the event of an outage, improving reliability.

It is also important that the community was given the opportunity to tour the project and a large number of residents chose to participate to get firsthand knowledge of the work that made the project viable.”

Now that the project is operational, it will create six long-term local jobs for operations and maintenance.

The Castle Creek project has a contracted capacity of 6 megawatts, and can provide power to the local community during an outage.

“The Castle Creek project is unique because it will generate clean electricity and directly improve the quality of electrical service to McBride. Until now, BC Hydro has had to rely on a diesel generating unit for backup power for McBride,” said Jessica McDonald, President and CEO, BC Hydro, “The configuration with the new project will reduce the need for diesel generation, and reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions.”