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Project Overview

The proposed John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project will help ensure the continued supply of reliable, cost-effective and clean electricity on Vancouver Island.

BC Hydro’s John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project

BC continues to grow and so does the demand for electricity. As part of BC Hydro’s regeneration of its key capital assets, the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project will ensure the continued supply of safe and reliable power on Vancouver Island.

The Campbell River dams and generating stations have provided safe and reliable power on Vancouver Island for 67 years. And it’s not always about power generation as these facilities have provided flood risk management, in addition to benefits for fish habitat and reservoir recreation. John Hart’s power generation was the catalyst for Campbell River’s growth and is part of its legacy.

The John Hart facility has been operating since 1947. There are three key reasons why BC Hydro is replacing John Hart:

  • Safety. There are seismic risk to the pipelines and generating station – the facility may not withstand a moderate earthquake;
  • Reliability. To have long term power reliability at the John Hart Generating Station – the current six 21 MW units are in poor condition and although designed to a capacity of 126 MW, are currently rated at 121 MW and declining; and
  • Environment. The ongoing environmental risk and consequence to fish from a potential reduction in river flow – 95% of the lower Campbell River comes out of the generating station; should the station be forced out of service the river flows will be reduced and may impact salmon through de-watering habitat or stranding.

BC Hydro reviewed a number of possible project alternatives, including deferral, rehabilitation, replacement, and decommissioning. By weighing the financial, environmental and social considerations of these options, facility replacement was approved by our Board of Directors in February 2012. A key part of these approval processes is the continued consultation with First Nations. BC Hydro continues to engage government agencies and stakeholders.

All key project regulatory processes and procurement processes have been concluded.

In February 2014, BC Hydro signed the contract with InPower BC for the John Hart project which includes the construction of an innovative, underground powerhouse that will enhance public safety and improve the site’s environmental footprint. The signing was a major milestone for the redevelopment of the project, as it provided the green light for construction. The project will bring many economic benefits to the community of Campbell River, including more jobs. The number of people working at the site will grow to 200 by the end of this year and peak at 360 in 2016.

The estimated cost of the project is $1.093 billion. The project scope is to:

  • construction of a replacement water intake at the John Hart spillway dam,
  • replacement of three 1.8-kilometre long penstocks with a 2.1-kilometre long tunnel, and
  • construction of a new generating station and water bypass facility upstream of the existing station. The new generating station will be underground and further up the site – not directly beside the river. The existing station will continue to operate during the construction phase, and then transfer operations to the new facility.

InPower BC is a special purpose project company in which SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has 100 per cent interest. SNC-Lavalin will run the project out of its Vancouver office, including working and coordinating with international team members on the specialised design and fabrication of components like generators and turbines.

Project construction began in June 2014 and is expected to last about five years.

BC Hydro, Campbell River and District Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Island Construction Association and Vancouver Island Economic Alliance have been collaborating to provide good two-way communication on BC Hydro’s procurement strategy and potential economic opportunities. This has resulted in this web portal site to cover all aspects of the economic awareness and opportunities of the John Hart project. It provides the forum for businesses and suppliers to register within a database.