Approval has been granted for the replacement of the John Hart generating station near Campbell River, a project that will cost close to $1 billion and create 400 construction jobs.
The B.C. Utilities Commission approved the replacement after considering reliability and seismic, environmental and fisheries issues, said B.C. Hydro in a statement issued Friday.
Most of the electricity used by Vancouver Island residents comes from the mainland, supplemented by the John Hart station.
The 66-year-old station is nearing the end of its life, the BCUC determined.
The current facility would not withstand a low to moderate earthquake, said B.C. Hydro. Its six generating units are in poor condition and their capacity is declining.
The project involves constructing a new water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam by replacing three 1.8-kilometre pipelines with a 2.1-km tunnel. A new generating station will be built beside the existing station.
A new facility will ensure a continuous supply of reliable, clean and cost-effective energy for Vancouver Island customers, B.C. Hydro said.
Once complete, the John Hart power supply will increase power generation by seven per cent, providing enough power to supply about 80,000 homes.
The BCUC approved a project cost of $940 million. Construction is expected to take five years. The next step will be to choose a preferred proponent to design and build the project.
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