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Energy minister tours Site C construction site for start of main civil works

FORT ST. JOHN – The Site C Clean Energy Project reached an important construction milestone this week with the start of main civil works. Building Site C is part of BC Hydro's plan to meet an expected 40 per cent increase in electricity demand over the next 20 years.

To mark this important milestone, Energy Minister Bill Bennett and MLA Pat Pimm toured the construction site to observe progress on the project.

"British Columbia is leading the country in economic growth. Building Site C is crucial for our province to maintain its competitive advantage of low cost, reliable, clean energy that attracts investment and drives economic development," said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. "Main civil works is the largest single contract for Site C and its start is an important milestone for the project."

Bennett said Site C will help meet the long-term electricity needs of a growing economy and population. More than one million additional British Columbians are expected over the next two decades.

Main civil works includes the construction of an earthfill dam, two diversion tunnels and a concrete foundation for the generating station and spillways.

"I'm pleased to see Peace River Hydro Partners hiring workers from the region," said Pat Pimm, MLA for Peace River North. "There are more than 100 local companies benefiting from Site C construction. As construction activities ramp up, I'm expecting to see many more local workers and companies involved in project construction."

The $1.75 billion main civil works contract was awarded to Peace River Hydro Partners in December 2015. Its partners include ACCIONA Infrastructure Canada Inc., Petrowest Corporation and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.

"The construction of Site C is progressing according to plan," said Jessica McDonald, President and CEO of BC Hydro. "Site preparation activities have been underway since last summer to have the site ready for the start of main civil works, and this has been accomplished."

The $8.8 billion Site C project will create 10,000 person-years of employment during construction, and add $3.2 billion to the province's GDP. Construction has been underway since last July, and will be completed in 2024.

Key Facts

  • The main civil works contract includes:
    • Approximately 32 million cubic metres of excavation for structures, including the approach channel and tailrace.
    • River diversion works, including construction of two 10.8 metre internal diameter concrete-lined tunnels between 700 metres to 800 metres in length, and associated cofferdams and intake and outlet structures.
    • Earthfill dam – central core zoned earth embankment approximately 1,050 metres long and 60 metres above the present river level.
    • Roller-compacted-concrete buttress – approximately 800 metres in length to a maximum height of 70 metres.
  • Peace River Hydro Partners mobilized to site in March, setting up offices, and moving equipment and workers to the construction site. PRHP expects to have 600 workers on site by fall of this year. Approximately 1,500 people will be working on main civil works at the peak of construction.
  • BC Hydro's latest employment numbers for the month of April show a total of 1,261 workers on the project, of which 970 are from B.C. (77 per cent). 

The Site C Clean Energy Project is a hydroelectric dam and generating station under construction in northeast B.C. Once built, Site C will provide clean, reliable and affordable electricity for more than 100 years.

BC Hydro Media Relations