The B.C. government has given its approval for a third dam on the Peace River.

Premier Christy Clark says the decision to give B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam the go ahead was not an easy one, but she argues it’s the right one.

“Some alternative options are certainly just as clean and just as sustainable, but none are as affordable for taxpayers and ratepayers; none are as reliable. Rain or shine, day or night, wind or no wind, we are blessed in British Columbia.”

The now $8.775 billion hydroelectric project will flood 5,550 hectares of land over an 83 kilometre stretch of valley between Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope.

B.C. Hydro says the dam would generate an estimated 1,100 megawatts of capacity, which would be enough to power the equivalent of 450,000 homes a year.

Construction is expected to start next summer, although it’s still being challenged in court by First Nations and local landowners.