The North Central region of British Columbia has a diverse range of energy projects and opportunities including hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal. The Provincial Government has set a goal to achieve energy self-sufficiency by 2016 and is working with industry to achieve this goal. British Columbia is blessed with an abundance of clean energy potential and many of these resources are available in the North Central region, particularly wind and hydroelectric.

British Columbia’s companies are at the leading edge, developing technologies to turn our abundant natural resources into renewable energy. Finding new markets for solar, wind, bio-mass and other technologies can turn B.C. into a clean technology powerhouse.

BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Responsible for Housing

The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Responsible for Housing is the legislative body responsible for Electricity and Alternative Energy Division within the province and implementing the BC Energy Plan: a Vision for Clean Energy Leadership. The BC Energy Plan was designed to help British Columbia reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen its long-term competitiveness and electricity self-sufficiency. The plan intends to put British Columbia at the forefront of environmental and economic leadership through the production of clean and renewable energy to meet the needs of the provincial economy.

The Electricity and Alternative Energy Division facilitates thriving, competitive, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible electricity, alternative energy and energy efficiency sectors for the benefit of British Columbians. The Division is responsible for:

  • Legislation, policies and programs to support all forms of electrical power generation and transmission;
  • Province-wide energy conservation and efficiency measures;
  • Alternative energy development;
  • Renewable and Low Carbon Transportation Fuels;
  • Policy advice and direction to electrical utilities and their regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission;
  • Fostering private sector investment in new electricity resources;
  • Operational policy support for independent power producers; and
  • The LiveSmart BC Energy: Efficiency Incentive Program.


BC Sustainable Energy Association

The BC Sustainable Energy Association officially launched in the summer of 2004. It concerns itself with the sustainable use and production of energy in British Columbia.
The BC Sustainable Energy Association is an effective and respected advocate on British Columbia's energy scene. Their regional chapters and hundreds of provincial members advance informed and progressive perspectives in their own communities as they champion best policies in Victoria and Ottawa.

They frequently share their educational and research work with governments at all levels, calling for policies–-like energy efficiency incentive programs, the carbon tax, and greenhouse gas-free electricity generation-–that are helping them realize their potential. The BC Sustainable Energy Association participates in regulatory reviews of BC Hydro’s energy plans, bringing expert evidence to prove the advantages of conservation and other sustainable solutions.

The activities of the BC Sustainable Energy Association are made possible by the volunteer effort of their individual members. Members are empowered to develop new initiatives and shape the direction of the organization. Organization members have the opportunity to raise their profile in the province and further the business goals of their organization.

The BC Sustainable Energy Association’s website provides useful information on renewable energy technologies, a sustainable energy directory, and access to membership.


Clean Energy BC

Photo Credit: Daryl Mitchell

Formerly known as the Independent Power Producers of BC, Clean Energy BC

aims to develop a viable independent power industry in British Columbia that serves the public interest by providing cost-effective electricity through the efficient and environmentally responsible development of the Province's energy resources.

Since 1992, the Clean Energy BC has been the voice of Clean Energy Producers in BC, to government and the public - when the members have chosen to send a collective signal. Members and non-members also send their own corporate signals.
Clean Energy BC has been active in advocacy with government electricity policy formulation, regulatory processes, permitting procedures, BC Hydro procurement, BCTC services, media coverage, informing the public, local and First Nations governments and resource users throughout BC.

The Clean Energy BC website provides resources, information about their annual conference and membership access.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Sustainable Development Technology Canada is a not-for-profit foundation that finances and supports the development and demonstration of clean technologies which provide solutions to issues of climate change, clean air, water quality and soil, and which deliver economic, environmental and health benefits to Canadians.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada operates two funds aimed at the development and demonstration of innovative technological solutions. The $590 million SD Tech Fund™ supports projects that address climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil. The $500 million NextGen Biofuels Fund™ supports the establishment of first-of-kind large demonstration-scale facilities for the production of next-generation renewable fuels.

Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s mission is to act as the primary catalyst in building a sustainable development technology infrastructure in Canada. The Foundation reports to Parliament through the Minister of Natural Resources Canada. They work closely with an ever-growing network of stakeholders and partners to build the capacity of Canadian clean-technology entrepreneurs, helping them form strategic relationships, formalize their business plans, and build a critical mass of sustainable development capability in Canada.

The Sustainable Development Technology Canada website provides information on funding programs, descriptions of projects that have received funding, and contact information.

Oil & Gas

Northern British Columbia is home to an expanding natural gas industry that is driven by demand from overseas markets. There are many proposed projects in the North East region and the development of pipeline connectivity to western ports is required for them to move forward. Northwest BC is the window to the Asian Pacific markets and offers year round ice-free, deep-sea ports. These projects, if approved, will cross from east to west through the North Central region where pipeline connectivity facilities such as pump stations will be required. There are also a number of existing pipelines that have pump stations in the North Central region.

Wind Energy

British Columbia’s world-class wind resources have attracted significant attention and investment from across North America, and many projects are in the planning phase or under construction. British Columbia’s policies for wind power projects enable the orderly and secure development of the industry. The policies include a 10-year exemption from participation rents for new wind projects, and establish maximum permissible noise levels for wind farms near residential properties.

According to the Western Renewable Energy Zones Phase 1 Report, BC has the potential to generate 13,943 MW of energy from wind. There are a number of sites in North Central BC that are identified as having potential for wind energy development, such as the proposed Mt. George Wind Park, 38 kilometres east of Prince George. Currently there are no utility-scale wind farms in operation in British Columbia but the opportunity in Northern BC is immense. Wind energy is well positioned to limit huge increases in greenhouse gas emissions that would result from powering new industrial developments with fossil fuels.

The wind independent power producers industry is growing in B.C. and more wind projects are expected to be bid into future power Calls. BC Hydro issued a call for power from clean energy producers in 2010. Projects that were awarded Electricity Purchase Agreements through BC Hydro included run-of-river, wind and waste heat. North Central British Columbia, with its potential in the wind energy sector, is a strong candidate for future calls for power.


Canadian Wind Energy Association

The Canadian Wind Energy Association is a non-profit trade association that promotes the appropriate development and application of all aspects of wind energy in Canada, including the creation of a suitable policy environment. Established in 1984, the Canadian Wind Energy Association represents the wind energy community — organizations and individuals who are directly involved in the development and application of wind energy technology, products and services. Their members are Canada’s wind energy leaders. They are wind energy owners, operators, manufacturers, project developers, consultants, and service providers, and other organizations and individuals interested in supporting Canada’s wind energy industry.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association leads the effort to ensure Canada fully realizes its abundant wind energy potential on behalf of its members - and for the benefit of all Canadians – to build a cleaner, stronger future. A dedicated and passionate team engages in this mission through advocacy, education, communication, partnerships and the promotion of industry best practices. The Canadian Wind Energy Association believes wind energy can satisfy 20% of Canada’s electricity demand by 2025 and generate $79 billion in investment that will make Canada’s wind energy sector a real player in a $1.8 trillion global wind industry.

The Canadian Wind Energy Association’s website provides further information about the association, the potential for wind energy in Canada, resources, links and case studies, and access to membership.

WindVision 2025: A Strategy for British Columbia – Canadian Wind Energy Association 

Western Renewable Energy Zones Initiative

Assessment of the Energy Potential and Estimated Costs of Wind Energy in British Columbia – BC Hydro

Canadian Wind Energy Atlas

BC Hydro Wind Energy Page

Wind Energy Sector in British Columbia – Province of British Columbia


Photo Source: - Photo Credit: Val UtgarenBritish Columbia is rich in hydroelectric energy with 31 hydroelectric facilities currently in operation. To meet the energy needs of British Columbians, BC Hydro plans and delivers the clean energy for electricity while fostering job creation throughout the province and helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Over 80% of British Columbia’s hydro power comes from the Peace and Columbia rivers. 18,286 kilometres of transmission lines move electricity from generating stations to distribution substations, where it is transformed to lower voltages for distribution to customers. Over 10,000 MW of hydroelectricity is currently generated in British Columbia.

British Columbia’s population and industries are continuing to grow and that growth demands more electricity. BC Hydro projects that by 2031, British Columbia’s electricity demand could grow by 50%. To meet this demand, efforts are being made toward conservation and acquisition of clean power from independent power producers. The growing demand for clean electricity in British Columbia is driving the development of hydroelectric generation facilities in the North Central region.

The proposed Robson Valley Transmission Project would facilitate the expansion of independent power projects to produce hydroelectricity for sale to the BC Hydro grid. A number of projects will take advantage of this opportunity. Small-scale hydroelectric production is on the rise and in partnership with BC Hydro, the Province has put out many resources on how to create a clean energy project, including the Handbook for Creating Micro Hydro in BC.  This handbook is a step by step guide on developing a run of river project, including plan development, site selection, costs and financing, permitting process, grid interconnection and power sales, construction, and finally operation, maintenance, and surveillance.


British Columbia has better prospects for geothermal development than any other province in Canada. The many hot springs found around the province mark some of the geothermal deposits. Most have been used only for local or recreational purposes.
In March 2004, the BC government started accepting bids from geothermal energy companies that want to develop the resource potential in the Canoe Reach area near Valemount, British Columbia. BC Hydro has identified 16 prospective geothermal sites in the province, with the six most likely prospects having an estimated geothermal potential of over 1,000 megawatts collectively. Among these sites is the Canoe Reach area in North Central British Columbia, near Valemount.

Geothermal energy is considered to be one of the cheapest forms of large-scale grid-tied energy. Advances in technology have reduced geothermal electricity generation costs by over 25% in recent years. Generation costs are expected to drop a further 20% between 2000 and 2020, while operation and maintenance costs are expected to drop by 30% by 2020.
Geothermal projects in B.C. are subject to the Geothermal Resources Act and Regulations; and to a full range of provincial licensing and permitting requirements covering land leases, drilling permits, wildlife protection, public health and safety, environmental monitoring and protection, road construction and use and water use. Projects in excess of 50 megawatts are subject to review under the B.C. Environmental Assessment Act and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.


Canadian Geothermal Energy Association

The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association is the collective voice of Canada’s geothermal energy industry. As a non-profit industry association, we represent the interests of our member companies with the primary goal of unlocking the country’s tremendous geothermal energy potential. Geothermal energy can provide competitively priced, renewable, round-the-clock energy to the Canadian and U.S. markets.

There are several classes of geothermal energy, and the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association is focused on developing deep-heat geothermal, which raises heat from the earth’s crust and turns water into steam. British Columbia has significant potential, and estimates forecast a resource field of between four and six thousand megawatts exists here. Currently there are no major geothermal projects in Canada, and only one province, British Columbia, has a geothermal energy policy.  This is beginning to change as the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association builds new relationships with different levels of government, and Natural Resources Canada.  The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association is also working to educate Canadians about geothermal energy’s incredible potential as a clean power source. 

The Canadian Geothermal Energy Association’s website provides access to membership, resources and links, and the Canadian Geothermal Code for Public Reporting which provides a reporting basis that is satisfactory to investors, shareholders and capital markets.

Clean Energy BC Geothermal Fact Sheet

British Columbia Geothermal Resources Map 

For information on this region’s world class bioenergy sector please see the bioenergy sector page