Ruskin Dam hydro project upgrade included in BC Hydro plan

BC Hydro is planning a C$800 million upgrade of the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse as part of its C$6 billion, three-year regeneration plan to meet growing power needs.

The Canadian utility will submit one of its largest ever applications to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for approval of the upgrade work at Ruskin Dam, which has not received significant modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s, a press release states.

Ruskin Dam and its powerhouse were built in 1930 and are located in Mission, B.C. After 80 years of service, this project is required to upgrade the facility to modern safety and seismic criteria and replace the powerhouse equipment which is in poor condition, BC Hydro reported.

Construction is scheduled from 2012 to 2018 and includes replacing the spillway gates and dam bridge, rehabilitating the powerhouse structure and installing new turbines, generators and ancillary equipment.

The upgrade work is part of BC Hydro's three-year capital investment strategy to renew and expand the province's electricity system. These investments are required to improve and replace aging facilities that were built primarily between 1950 and 1980, ranging from upgrading dams and generating stations to building entirely new transmission lines linking existing and new substations and more.

In other news, BC Hydro is moving forward with a plan to decommission a small concrete dam on Haida Gwaii that has not been used in many years.

Built in the 1940s, the four-meter high, 11-meter wide Sturdy Creek Dam has completely filled in with earth and the creek now runs over the top of the structure, a press release states.

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