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BC Hydro Slowly Improves Construction in Site C Dam Site After Covid-19 Lockdown

One of the most significant undertakings in British Columbia is the Site C Clean Energy Project. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered these plans. On August 16, 2021, Northern Health declared an outbreak of the virus at the construction site.

On October 12, 2021, Medical Health Officers declared an end to a COVID-19 outbreak due to the implementation of enhanced infection control measures. These measures included the enforcement of mask-wearing, social distancing protocols, and workforce immunization programs. Since then, BC Hydro has made good progress on the Site C Dam.

Details on Site C Dam Project

The Site C Clean Energy Project is an essential milestone in Canada's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40-45% in 2030. It will be the third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in British Columbia, providing clean energy to over 450,000 homes, making it an integral part of Canada's commitment to fighting climate change.

Construction commenced in the summer of 2015 and aims to be completed by November 2025. Upon completion, Site C will provide clean and affordable energy for up to 100 years, with a projected output of 1,100 megawatts. Not only will it help meet the province's growing electricity needs, but it will also create jobs and boost economic development.

Current Progress Updates

BC Hydro CEO Chris O'Riley has set an ambitious timeline for completing the commissioning of the project by 2025. Regardless of the unprecedented disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Hydro CEO Chris O'Riley is still optimistic that Site C will be able to generate its first power this December. BC Hydro reports they are now nearing completion, with the project at more than 70% completed overall. 

Despite delays to the project's schedule, O'Riley remains confident that with additional resources and a well-thought-out plan, Site C will deliver abundant clean energy for British Columbians.

  • Third-Party Oversight

EY Canada has been instrumental in providing independent oversight for the project. This oversight includes budget management, scheduling, commercial management evaluation, and risk assessment analysis. The team of professionals at EY Canada has a deep understanding of the complexities associated with large-scale projects and is committed to ensuring successful completion.

The project continues to make impressive progress, evidenced by its life-to-date costs of $9.9 billion. This amount is well below the approved budget and puts the project completed within the approved timeline and the remaining costs of $6.1 billion. With this rate of progress, it looks like the project will come in on time and within the approved $16 billion budget.

  • COVID-19 and Other Disease Prevention

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, it's essential for BC Hydro to plan for its potential long-term effects. The project is taking extra safeguards to safeguard employees. As such, they collect vaccination status information from anyone who accesses the site with their permission. Doing so helps keep personnel safe and informed about the risks associated with interacting in person during the pandemic.

The project team and onsite medical clinic have taken the initiative to ensure that COVID-19 booster shots and seasonal flu vaccinations are in place to protect people from any future spikes in cases. Doing so provides an additional layer of preventive protection against the virus or other seasonal illnesses.

  • Maintaining Quality Work

BC Hydro is committed to its customers' safety and its infrastructure's reliability. To ensure that all materials used in their civil works projects meet their high standards, they have implemented a program of independent materials testing alongside their main contractor. This program has successfully ensured that the materials used are of good quality and there is a good correlation between the test results and the expected outcomes.

They meet weekly to discuss and resolve open nonconformity reports and other topics, such as contractor quality and performance. They look to improve their work efficiency while meeting all safety regulations and requirements. Thanks to that, the project continued to progress smoothly, and the main sub-project of civil works had no major quality problems.

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