There were four generating units installed at the Mica Generating Station, located 145 kilometres north of Revelstoke on the Columbia River, when it was built in 1977, but an eight-year upgrade and expansion has been completed to house a total of six generating units as was initially intended, which will account for roughly 22 per cent of BC Hydro’s generation capacity.
The two new generating units increase the Mica Dam’s capacity by about 1,000 megawatts, bringing its total capacity to more than 2,805 megawatts. The project cost $714 million.
“BC Hydro is making investments to secure our province’s future electricity needs — an important part of this is looking at existing facilities to see if they can be upgraded to add even more power to the system,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines in a recent press release. “The two new units give us access to more clean power for decades.”
There are over 650,000 home each year being powered thanks to the Mica Dam.
“Our Mica facility will continue to play an important role in meeting increased winter demand.” said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “Our new high voltage Interior to Lower Mainland transmission line is bringing the power generated at Mica to our high load centres on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.”
BC Hydro began upgrading and expanding the Mica Dam between 2009 and 2014 in order to replace dated gas-insulated switchgear equipment in the underground powerhouse and to install additional equipment needed to support the new generating units, which help deliver high voltage electricity from underground generating units to the above-ground transmission lines.
In addition, BC Hydro also recently upgraded the facility’s aging switchgear equipment and constructed a new series capacitor station on the transmission line from Mica near Seymour Arm.