B.C.’s natural geography and public policies have contributed to the establishment of hydro as the province’s largest source of electricity. Biomass was the second largest source of electricity, mainly consuming wood waste from the forestry, and pulp and paper industries. This is the highest biomass share of any province or territory in Canada.
How is the market structured?
British Columbia has a vertically integrated electricity market. The majority of the province is served by the provincial utility BC Hydro. Independent power producers may provide power to incumbent utilities under power purchase agreements.
What are the geographic boundaries of the market?
The market covers the province of British Columbia and is interconnected with the province of Alberta to the east and the state of Washington to the south.
What are the relevant price and delivery zones?
The British Columbia Utilities Commission is responsible for setting electricity rates. Nodal pricing does not exist in British Columbia except for at interconnections with neighboring regions.
Can I buy long-term power in the traded markets?
There is no liquid market for buyers to hedge price risk in British Columbia.
Who do I need to contract with to buy power?
Consumers receive power from their local utility (the utility covering the geographic area in which the load is located). The majority of British Columbia is served by the provincial utility BC Hydro.
Retail choice is not available in British Columbia.
How are system costs and other social charges levied?
In general, a bill can be broken into three components: generation, transmission and distribution. In a vertically integrated market, these costs reflect the local cost of the utility.
How do I prove I've bought renewable power?
Renewable generation is often certified and tracked using RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates). One REC is issued for every MWh of eligible renewable energy that is delivered to the electric grid. A REC contains unique identifying details of the energy generated, including the renewable fuel type, project name and location, the vintage of the project and the generation, and serial number.
Within British Columbia, the Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) is used to track generation ownership and attributes.
How are RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates) procured? N/A
Are renewable Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) available? No
Are Green Tariffs available? No
What are the key institutions?
- BC Hydro
Key Government Departments:
- The British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines is responsible for the provinces electricity sector, including oversight of BC Hydro.
- The British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) regulates and oversees the electricity industry in the province.
- The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to assure the reliability and security of the bulk power system in North America
- The National Energy Board (NEB) is responsible for regulating international and certain interprovincial power lines in Canada, as well as electricity exports.