Gordon M. Shrum Generating Station Upgrades

BC Hydro is investing now in the projects that are needed to keep the lights on in our province over the next 50 years. The renewal of G.M. Shrum Generating Station is critical to meeting the current and future electricity needs of B.C., which are projected to rise by 20 to 40 percent over the next two decades.

About This Project

BC Hydro operates 31 hydroelectric facilities and three thermal generating plants, totaling 12,000 MW of installed generating capacity. Its hydroelectric facilities provide over 95 percent of the total electricity the province generates, and are located throughout the Peace, Columbia and Coastal regions of B.C.

Moreover, the G.M. Shrum Generating Station is a cornerstone of BC Hydro's system and supplies about 24 percent of all of BC Hydro's installed generation capacity. Located next to the W.A.C. Bennett Dam on the Peace River near Hudson's Hope, several projects are either underway or planned to start soon that will renew aging equipment at G.M.S. The most substantial projects involve the replacement of turbines in five units.

The turbine replacement will take several years to complete, with each unit taking seven months. Due to the province’s reliance on G.M.S., the turbines will be replaced in stages to ensure any units are not out-of-service during the peak load season - the winter, when demand in the province is the highest.

Peace Canyon Transformer Replacement

The Peace Canyon Dam and Generating Station has four generating units producing a maximum capacity of 694 megawatts, using the same amount of water as GMS. The project supplied one new large power transformer to the plant in the spring of 2012. Following the repair of the unit in 2013, the transformer was transported to PCN. Since the transformer was transported with all of its accessories detached, it is currently being built so that it can then be oiled, tested and installed. The installation is scheduled for spring 2014.

GMS Transformer Replacement Phase 3

GMS has thirty transformers that increase the voltage at the station to 500,000 volts for efficient transmission of electricity over long distances. Nine transformers were replaced in an earlier project that ended in 2011. Three additional 500 kilovolt transformers are scheduled to be replaced over the next year. The team is currently building the first unit for installation in spring 2014.

GMS Units 1 to 5 Turbine Replacement

This project is aimed to improve turbine efficiency and reliability. Turbines for Units 1 and 4 were refurbished and put into service in 2013. Work on the third unit is underway – it is being re-assembled for an expected return to service in June. New turbines for the other two generating units are planned to be in service by late 2017.

GMS Fire Alarm System Replacement

The 20-year-old fire alarm system at GMS is set to be replaced over the next two years. This upgrade will ensure that the fire alarm system meets current code and reliability requirements. A new alarm system will be installed, commissioned and verified before the existing alarm system is decommissioned and removed. Work on this project commenced in August 2013 and is scheduled to be completed ahead of schedule in late summer 2014.

GMS Generator Monitoring System

Over the next year new shear pins will be installed in Units 9 and 10. Shear pins are safety devices that are used to counter stress and protect important or expensive components of a system. The design for the air gap monitoring system for Unit 5 will start in 2013 with an engineering review of air gap monitoring systems already installed on Units 1 to 4 and Unit 8.

W.A.C. Bennett Dam Embankment

Several identification phase project activities are underway all aimed at improving dam performance. These range from identifying potential dam safety improvements and enhancements to measuring and monitoring equipment and procedures. Current activities include engineering assessments of embankment material properties, surveys, and development of a three dimensional computerized model of the dam. For spring/summer 2013 an underwater sonar survey is planned upstream of the Bennett Dam in the Williston Reservoir. As well, an application has been submitted to the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to conduct investigations at a South Moraine gravel pit in summer 2013, a short distance southeast of the Bennett Dam. The dam embankment was constructed from the material borrowed and sorted from the South Moraine gravel pit.

W.A.C. Bennett Spillway Gate Reliability Project

The project involves upgrades to the spillway gate system to ensure continued reliable operation. The project is in the definition phase and the team is currently undertaking the preliminary design, which is expected to be completed in October 2013. Construction activities are expected to start in the spring of 2014.

W.A.C. Bennett Spillway Chute Interim Upgrade

Repairs downstream of the top end of the spillway were completed in May 2012. The work included construction of a new waterstopped contraction joint, repairs to the existing contraction joint and repairs to the cracks in the chute slab between the spillway piers. In July 2012, field investigations were conducted to assess the extent of damage to the previously inaccessible areas, including a steep portion of the chute, and to scope the remaining repairs. Localized repairs in selected areas were completed in September 2012. Further repairs are planned for an approximately 130 foot long section of the chute adjacent to the lower end of the spillway, the ski jump-like section known as the flip bucket.

W.A.C. Bennett Spillway Slope Stabilization

The project involves the stabilization of the rock slopes above the W.A.C. Bennett spillway chute. Since the initial dam construction work occurred more than 40 years ago, the near vertical rock slopes above the spillway chute have weathered and deteriorated to the point where access into the spillway chute for routine maintenance and inspections could not be carried out safely. To ensure safe entry into the spillway, rock benches have been constructed above the spillway to stop rockfall and the rockface has been stabilized with shotcrete and draped with heavy duty steel mesh. All the construction work is now complete except for the installation of the safety fence along the chute spillway, which will be completed in December 2012.

Peace Canyon Spillway Gate Reliability Project

The project is nearing completion of the identification phase. Similar to the W.A.C. Bennett Spillway Gate Reliability Project, the purpose of this project is to upgrade the spillway gate system to ensure that it continues to provide reliable power. The team will be undertaking preliminary design throughout 2013 and the definition phase is expected to be completed in March 2014. Construction activities are expected to start in fall 2014.

More Information Online

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Project Status

Estimate Investment
$402.3 Million

Estimated Project Start Date

Estimated Completion Date

Project Partners


Proponent Contact

Bob Gammer
Community Relations Coordinator
BC Hydro

Economic Development Contact

Jennifer Moore
Regional Economic Development Officer
North Peace Economic Development Commission


Northern Development Initiative Trust

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