Ottawa kicks in for Peace electrification project

Ottawa contributing $83.6 million to $289 million transmission project to electrify natural gas industry

Government says electrification could result in 2.6 megatonne annual reduction in GHGs.

Ottawa is kicking in close to a third of the cost of building a new transmission line that will increase access to clean power to the natural gas industry in the Peace region.

Work is already underway on the $289 Peace Region Electricity Supply (PRES) project, which is a twin 230-kilovolt transmission line that will run from Site C dam to the Groundbirch region near Chetwynd.

In a joint provincial-federal announcement Thursday, April 18, it was announced that Ottawa will contribute $83.6 million to the project, under the $180 billion Canada Plan.

The PRES will be the second electrification project undertaken by the province in the Peace. A number of natural gas plants now run on electricity, rather than natural gas, thanks to the Dawson Creek-Chetwynd Area Transmission (DCAT) project.

Electrifying the natural gas fields in northeast B.C. is a critical part of getting a liquefied natural gas industry to fit within the greenhouse gas emission reductions targets set by the B.C. government under its Clean BC plan.

The province said the PRES line could reduce GHGs by 2.6 megatonnes annually. Electrification not only reduces CO2 from the burning natural gas to generate electricity for natural gas power plants, pipelines and other infrastructure, it can also reduce methane emissions, if pneumatic valves are replaced with electric actuators, since the pneumatic vales use gas pressure and release natural gas every time they activate.

“We know the gas industry is a primary driver for electricity demand in the South Peace region,” BC Hydro CEO Chris O'Riley said in a press release. “The PRES project will ensure we can reliably provide electricity to our industrial customers who want to power their facilities with clean energy - significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions."

BC Hydro is aiming for commissioning the new PRES line in the fall of 2021.