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Kokish River hydropower project gets environmental stamp of approval

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Canada 12/20/11 (PennWell) -- British Columbia's US$192 million, 45-MW Kokish River hydroelectric project has been awarded an environmental assessment certificate, the province's Ministry of Environment announced.

Kwagis Power Limited Partnership -- a joint effort between Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. and 'Namgis First Nation -- is spearheading the hydropower project that will be located 15 km east of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. The group first pitched the facility in 2009 as part of BC Hydro's "Clean Power Call" initiative.

Once completed, the project will include a 500-meter transmission line that will deliver power to the BC Hydro grid as part of an electricity purchase agreement that stipulates Kwagis must deliver power by April 2014.

Conditions of the environmental assessment certificate stipulate that Kwagis Power must adhere to a number of requirements throughout the design, construction and implementation of the project. Key requirements include:

• Project construction oversight by an independent environmental monitor.
• Ensuring project in-stream works and infrastructure do not obstruct fish migration upstream and downstream.
• Maintaining sufficient river flows for all life stages of key fish species as determined by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
• Preparing and implementing a habitat compensation plan acceptable to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
• Effectiveness and response monitoring during project operations.
• Facilitating kayaking opportunities during project construction and operations. Consulting recreation organizations during project construction, operation and decommissioning to ensure continued angling and other recreational access to the Kokish River.
• Annual compliance reporting during construction and throughout the life of the project.

The project is expected to take two years to complete, but Kwagis Power must still obtain necessary provincial and regulatory approval before construction begins.

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