Electricity generation is the process of producing electric energy by transforming other sources of energy. British Columbia is fortunate to have abundant and diverse energy sources.
Most of the world must rely on combustion processes using fossil fuels to produce electricity. These processes create local air quality concerns and greenhouse gas emissions. British Columbia’s electricity supply is predominantly a hydroelectric generation system, and currently over 90 per cent of electricity generation is renewable, low or no carbon electricity.
British Columbia also has abundant wind resources which can be harnessed to produce electricity, and with British Columbia’s forest industry, has feedstock for renewable electricity generation from biomass. Some other supply options, like ocean energy technologies, are also emerging. British Columbia also has abundant geothermal resources that could be developed for electricity generation.
2009 Estimated Five-year Average Electricity Supply by GW.h in B.C. by Fuel
Electricity generation operations in British Columbia range in size from large in scale, such as the BC Hydro GM Shrum Generating Station at 2730 megawatts and 1310 average gigawatt hours per year, to small in scale operations, such as the Hupacasath First Nation’s China Creek small hydro operation at 5.6 megawatts and 25 gigawatt hours per year.
There are also very small generating facilities – such as micro hydro or photovoltaic cells that produce electricity for use by individual residential customers. British Columbia is fortunate to have a wide variety of future supply options available to meet our growing demand for energy. In the development of its 2008 Long Term Acquisition Plan, BC Hydro undertook work on defining the electricity resource potential in British Columbia.
As well, British Columbia’s electricity generation potential is being further explored through the Western Governor’s Western Renewable Energy Zone Initiative and through the British Columbia Utilities Commission’s inquiry into the long term transmission needs of the Province.
2012 Forecasted Five-year Average Electricity Supply by GW.h in B.C. by Fuel