Doing Business in B.C.'s Electricity Sector

B.C.’s climate and geography provide vast and enviable opportunities for independent power production. Independent projects can generate electricity using water, wind, biomass, waste wood, sun, tides, geothermal heat and other sources in ways that addresses economic, environmental and social concerns.

However, developing an independent power production business can be a long, expensive and complex process. Requirements and regulations are constantly being updated and clarified. There are a number of environmental regulations and stringent requirements that must be addressed before a project can begin. Proponents must communicate regularly with government agencies and ensure that they fully understand what will be required for their project to be successful.

Procurement

As the main supplier of electricity in British Columbia, BC Hydro uses different ways to get new power, such as competitive calls, standing offers and bilateral negotiations. Each offer has specific eligibility criteria, process requirements and documentation. Project proponents bid competitively for the opportunity to supply power to BC Hydro when it issues a call for power.

BC Hydro’s Standing Offer Program is available for projects smaller than 15 megawatts.

Commercial customers who wish to generate their own electricity can participate in net metering programs available from the primary utilities.

Learn about net metering programs

Permits & Licences

All electricity projects on Crown land, regardless of size or type, require licences and permits under the Water Act and the Land Act. In deciding whether to issue these licences and permits, Government considers technical information, federal and provincial agency feedback, and feedback from the public, local government and First Nations.

  • Contact FrontCounter BC to find out more about the licence and permit requirements for your project.

Environmental Assessment

All power projects, regardless of size, must meet stringent environmental requirements to receive the necessary permits to construct and operate generation facilities. Projects may be subject to an assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act and, if so, must not proceed until they have received an Environmental Assessment Certificate.