British Columbia has a diverse range of energy projects and opportunities including hydroelectric, wind, solar, bio, and geothermal energy. 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. 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.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s energy industry consists of a select number of small-scale, independent power producers. The Savona plant, which is owned by EnPower Green Energy Generation, produces power through energy recovery generation. The capacity at this facility is 6 megawatts. The second independent power producer in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District is a bioenergy plant located at Domtar Pulp and Paper Products’ mill in Kamloops. The power is generated using biomass and the plant has a capacity of 76 megawatts.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District is ideally positioned in the province in that major transmission lines from the large power producing regions pass through the region and are concentrated north east of Merritt. High capacity lines (500 kilovolt circuits) come down from the Mica and Revelstoke dams as well as from the Peace region.



BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (Ministry) is responsible for B.C.’s electricity, alternative energy, mining and mineral exploration sectors. These sectors are made up of diverse interests that explore for and produce coal and other valuable minerals and that develop electricity, clean or renewable energy sources, including biomass, biogas, geothermal, hydro, solar, ocean, wind and low-carbon transportation fuels. Through teamwork and positive working relationships with its clients and stakeholders, the Ministry facilitates thriving, safe, environmentally responsible and competitive energy and mining sectors in order to create jobs and economic growth in communities across the province.

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.

The BC Sustainable Energy Association

The BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) officially launched in the summer of 2004. It concerns itself with the sustainable use and production of energy in British Columbia.

The BCSEA 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, B.C. and Ottawa, ON.

The BCSEA 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 BCSEA 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 BCSEA are made possible by the volunteer effort of its 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

Formerly known as the Independent Power Producers of B.C., 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, Clean Energy BC has been the voice of Clean Energy Producers in British Columbia, to government and the public.

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 B.C.

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

Sustainable Development Technology Canada

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) 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.

SDTC 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.

SDTC'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. SDTC works 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.


British Columbia is rich in hydroelectric energy potential, with 31 hydroelectric facilities currently in operation. To meet the energy needs of British Columbians, BC Hydro 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.





BC Hydro and Power Authority

BC Hydro is a crown corporation, owned by the government and people of B.C. The organization’s mandate is to generate, and to purchase, reliable, affordable electricity for its customers. BC Hydro is the main electric distributor in the province, serving 1.8 million customers in most areas.

As provincial crown corporation, BC Hydro reports to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and is regulated by the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

BC Hydro operates 32 hydroelectric facilities and 3 natural gas-fueled thermal power plants. As of 2014, 95% of the province’s electricity was produced by hydroelectric generating stations, which consist mostly of large hydroelectric dams.


British Columbia has better prospects for geothermal development than any other province in Canada. The many hot springs around the province mark some of the geothermal deposits. Most have been used only for local recreational or tourism purposes.

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 BC 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, it represents the interests of its 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 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 deep-heat geothermal 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 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 provides a reporting basis that is satisfactory to investors, shareholders and capital markets.

Clean Energy BC Geothermal Fact Sheet

British Columbia Geothermal Resources Map


British Columbia is the largest bio-energy-producing region in North America with capacity of 4,300 GWh/yr. Due to the large scale forestry operations throughout the province there is a large amount of bio-mass that is often under-utilized. The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations estimates there are approximately 3.1 million cubic meters of potential forest tenure available for use for bio-energy in BC. The Globe Foundation estimates that up to 47% of BC's total renewable energy potential is found n biomass. This potential combined with a growing network of companies throughout the region has positioned BC to grow as a global leader in the bio-energy industry.

To learn more about pursuing biomass energy opportunities and Technologies in British Columbia visit the following link:

Within the TNRD itself the bio-energy sector is still in the early stages of development. There is a modular mill for pellet production that operates out of Kamloops owned by SBC Firemaster International. Domtar Pulp and Paper Products’ operates as an Independent Power Producer at their mill in Kamloops.

The British Columbia Bio-energy Network

British Columbia has a number of organizations committed to positioning the province to take a leadership role in the advancement of next generation bioenergy on a global basis. Notably, the BC Bioenergy Network was established in 2008 with a $25 million grant from the provincial government, it is an industry-led initiative that is a catalyst for deploying near-term bioenergy technologies and supporting mission-driven research to build a world class bioenergy capability in British Columbia.

The BC Bioenergy Network is committed to maximizing the value of BC’s biomass resources; developing mission-driven research development and demonstration projects; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; networking and partnering in BC, Canada, and internationally to advance BC’s bioenergy sector; and levering funding to support BC-focused bioenergy technology and applications.

Wood Pellets

Canada is one of the top producers of wood pellets in the world and British Columbia is the source of roughly two-thirds of national pellet production. Around the globe, most of the pellets produced are used domestically. This is not the case in British Columbia, as the principal market exports to power generation facilities in foreign countries.

Wood pellets are principally manufactured from wood waste (typically sawdust and shavings) residuals created in the production of lumber or other solid wood product processing, as well as from wood recovered from grinding and chipping of non-merchantable timber in forests. Pellets have several advantages over other fuel sources, including a consistency in size and shape that makes them easy to transport, and a lack of artificial or toxic ingredients that render them hazard-free to handle and eliminates the possibility of toxic spills. In addition, pellets are more efficient than other fuels and offer a net carbon reduction if they displace non-renewable fuels.

There is one major pellet producer in the TNRD located in Merritt. Highland Pellet Manufacturing has a capacity of 60-120,000 tonnes a year. Highland Pellet Manufacturing opened just recently in the spring of 2011 it is expected to be operating at full capacity by the end of January 2012.

Wood Pellet Association of Canada

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada is a member-driven organization advancing the interests of Canadian wood pellet producers. Its goal is to help members grow through promoting the role of wood pellets in the Canadian and global markets, supporting market and technical research, and encouraging fair and open energy trade. Membership is open to Canadian pellet producers, as well as suppliers and partners.

For more information on the pellet industry in Canada or to find out how to become a member visit their website.

Wood Waste 2 Rural Heat

The Rural and Remote Communities Wood Waste 2 Rural Heat (WW2RH) project supporting the development of British Columbia’s bio-energy sector by providing market and industry development assistance for green heat projects.

In 2008, biomass thermal provided five percent of the energy needs of the commercial, institutional and residential sectors in BC. WW2RH proposes an ambitious but practical vision for expansion of biomass thermal to fifteen percent of B.C.'s commercial, institutional and residential energy demand by 2025. Huge economic and environmental benefits would result if that vision were realized, particularly in rural B.C. These include energy savings of over $240 million per year and 600+ new stable jobs, primarily in rural communities.

WW2RH works with communities, First Nations and Not-for-Profits throughout the Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB) epidemic zone, to assist them to understand and adopt biomass heating solutions, by providing resources, technical analysis, knowledge and best practices from around the world at no cost.

WW2RH is led by Community Futures East Kootenay (CFEK). Funding providers for the project are the Southern Interior Beetle Action Coalition (SIBAC), Columbia Basin Trust (CBT), the BC Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition (CCBAC) and the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition (OBAC).