Local leaders gathered at BC Hydro's new substation to celebrate the company's $56 million West Coast investment.

$56 million Hydro project doubles West Coast’s power

BC Hydro has doubled its power supply to the West Coast.

BC Hydro has doubled its power supply to the West Coast.

Hydro recently completed a $56 million project to replace two substations that deliver power to its roughly 3,900 West Coast customers.

The Great Central Lake substation near Port Alberni and Long Beach substation near the West Coast junction were both outdated and running at capacity, according to Hydro spokesperson Karla Louwers.

“For those peak winter months they couldn’t carry more load and wouldn’t be able to meet the growth in the communities,” she said.

“Not only were the previous substations at capacity but they were also at end-of-life…some of the equipment in those stations dated back to 1957.”

Hydro expects the West Coast’s power needs to grow by 2 per cent annually and the company believes the two new substations will keep the Coast humming for at least 30 more years, according to Louwers.

She said the two new substations carry twice the capacity of their predecessors.

“They’re new substations built to modern standards with new equipment,” she said.

“You’ve got new equipment in your area so your system is going to be more reliable and it also allows for that growth. There’s an economic benefit to the communities because there is now room for the communities to grow.”

She said the two replaced substations would be torn down by the spring of 2016.

andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca