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Hydro Review

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Canada starts review of 2,824-MW Lower Churchill

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH) began the environmental assessment process for the 2,824-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project by registering the project with province and federal environmental regulatory agencies.

NLH announced in December 2006 that it registered the project with the Newfoundland Department of Environment and Conservation as required by the province ’s Environmental Protection Act. NLH also filed a project description required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams said the environmental assessment process is a critical component of the project ’s schedule, ensuring due diligence and best practices are followed.

“Government and NLH are committed to a comprehensive and fully consultative environmental assessment process, ” Williams said. “In support of that commitment, the project has been filed and registered with the appropriate regulatory agencies at the earliest opportunity. This action also indicates there is significant progress being made as the project has not reached this stage in its development since 1991. ”

NLH President Ed Martin said development of the Lower Churchill has been the subject of environmental studies for several decades and, as such, there is a comprehensive body of environmental assessment work completed. During 2006, NLH commissioned environmental baseline studies to update that previous information and to compile more information on areas where limited study previously was conducted.

The project would feature two power plants on mainland Labrador, 2,000-MW Gull Island and 824-MW Muskrat Falls. Gull Island would include a 99-meter-tall, 1,315-meter-long dam, a reservoir, and a powerhouse containing four, five, or six Francis turbine-generators. Muskrat Falls would feature a 32-meter-tall dam, a reservoir, and a powerhouse containing four units. The project also would include transmission lines interconnecting the two new generating stations with the 5,428-MW Churchill Falls project.

Construction seen in 2009 for 2,000-MW Gull Island

Although a tremendous amount of work has been done to bring the project to its present point, Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale said much more remains to be completed to win project approval by 2009.

A nine-year construction period is scheduled to begin at Gull Island in 2009, with first power scheduled for mid-2014. Construction of Muskrat Falls is to be initiated about three years after Gull Island construction starts.

Martin noted NLH and the Innu Nation are working together to undertake consultation within Innu communities, to conduct negotiations toward an impacts and benefits agreement, and to involve the Innu in project environmental and technical work.

Earlier in 2006, NLH asked the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator to approve transmission of power into Ontario from the project. Newfoundland also has applied for permission from neighboring utility Hydro-Qué bec to use its transmission lines to carry project power to markets in Qué bec, Ontario, the Maritime Provinces, and the U.S.

Manitoba, York nation agree on process for Conawapa

Manitoba Hydro and York Factory First Nation signed an agreement advancing development of the 1,250-MW Conawapa hydroelectric project in northern Manitoba.

The agreement, signed in December 2006, sets out a process and funding mechanism for the First Nation ’s participation in planning and consultation on the development. It also covers environmental and regulatory matters.

Parties reached agreement a month after the Manitoba government announced it would proceed with plans to build the long-delayed project on the Nelson River. Conawapa is expected to cost C$5 billion (US$4.4 billion) to develop and build.

Manitoba Hydro President Bob Brennan said activities supported through the agreement would ensure the First Nation is fully engaged and that all parties have the best information available for decision-making.

Manitoba Hydro said it also is planning process agreements with Fox Lake First Nation and Cree Nation Partners, consistent with the utility ’s approach of working closely with First Nations to plan and develop new generating projects.

Canada initiates assessment for 42-MW Elizabeth Falls

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are conducting an environmental assessment of the 42-MW Elizabeth Falls project proposed for northern Saskatchewan.

Black Lake First Nation proposes to build and operate the new generating station at a site on the Fond du Lac River between Black Lake and Middle Lake.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act requires an environmental assessment because Indian and Northern Affairs Canada might provide federal lands for the project, and because Fisheries and Oceans Canada might be required to issue a permit or license under the Fisheries Act.

Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada also are participating in the study, because they also could be required to conduct an environmental assessment of the project.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is the federal coordinator of the environmental assessment, which began in March 2006. The project also is being assessed by the government of Saskatchewan. Elizabeth Falls is listed in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry, reference number 06-03-18189.

A federal-provincial project administration team is in the process of completing a “terms of reference ” document that will detail the scope of the environmental assessment, and the information that federal and provincial reviewers will require. The document will be released for public review.

Ontario names developers for four small projects

Ontario ’s Ministry of Natural Resources named four companies to explore development of hydropower sites on government-owned land. The sites total 10.8 MW.

Minister David Ramsay announced the sites and applicants of record:

– Grassy River near Timmins, Woods Power Generation;

– Larder River South, near Englehart, Wendigo Power Partnership;

– Wasdell Falls, Black Severn River, near Washago, WESA Group Inc.; and

– McGraw Falls, near the town of Kakabeka Falls, McGraw Falls Water Power.

Wasdell Falls and McGraw Falls involve redevelopment of existing dams owned by the Ministry of Natural Resources.

The government did not release capacities for individual sites, saying only that the sites could generate 10.8 MW, enough to meet the needs of 9,700 homes for electricity. The ministry previously said Wasdell Falls could support a hydropower project of about 3 MW.

With the announcement, made in November 2006, the companies now are free to pursue various approvals to develop hydropower facilities at the sites. The proposed sites also will be subjected to environmental assessments and public review before construction can begin.

Hydro-Qué bec reports progress at two projects

Hydro-Qué bec reports construction is advancing at its 62-MW Chute-Allard and 76-MW Rapides-des-Coeurs hydroelectric stations in Qué bec ’s St. Maurice River Valley. Excavation began in August 2005, followed by concreting of the power stations in March 2006. Turbine-generator equipment is to be installed in spring 2007, and commissioning is scheduled for spring 2008.

Hydro-Qué bec reports planning of work for the two projects is similar. Work was suspended for a time in August 2006 at both projects after mold was discovered in workers ’ dormitories. However, work resumed at both projects within several weeks. The utility said the delay would not affect project completion.

Contractors for Chute-Allard and responsibilities include: Fernand Gilbert Ltee, powerhouse excavation; Demathieu and Hand-barrow-Cegerco S.E.N.C., concreting of the power station and gravity dams; and Litostroj/Arno, supply and installation of turbine-generator equipment. CLS Enterprise and S.E.P. are to supply and install mechanical and electrical equipment.

Contractors for Rapides-des-Coeurs include Constructions Bob-son Inc., which is responsible for excavation of the power station. Demathieu et Bard-Cegerco SENC is handling concreting of the power station. Litostroj/Arno is responsible for supplying and installing the project ’s turbine-generator groups.

Refurbishment planned for 11.2-MW Rattling Brook

Newfoundland Power said it plans to spend C$20.9 million (US$18.66 million) over two years to refurbish the 11.2-MW Rattling Brook hydroelectric plant in central Newfoundland Island. The work is scheduled to begin in early 2007.

The utility said the Newfoundland and Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities approved spending C$18.82 million (US$16.8 million) in 2007. It plans to spend an additional C$2.08 million (US$1.86 million) in 2008 for other work at the project, in the community of Norris Arm South.

Newfoundland Power said the approval enables it to begin detailed construction planning and procurement of materials so work can begin on the first portion of the refurbishment as soon as weather permits in early 2007.

Work planned for 2007 includes replacement of a deteriorated woodstave penstock, replacement of main valves, and refurbishment of the surge tank. Electrical and mechanical upgrades also are planned, although there are no plans for turbine-generator work.

Rattling Brook began operation in 1958 and generates about 69.8 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually, providing 16.6 percent of Newfoundland Power ’s total hydro generation. By refurbishing the project to deliver water to turbines more efficiently, the utility expects to generate an additional 6.2 GWh. It also will add 2.9 MW to the Island Interconnected electrical system.

Newfoundland Power also said it planned to prepare and execute tenders in 2007 for work to be carried out in 2008, including the replacement of a spillway and an outlet gate, and upgrades to two dams and site access roads in the water storage system.

Hydro association names new officers, board members

The Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) announces new officers and board members. The new chairman of the board of directors is Colin Clark, executive vice president and chief technical officer of Brookfield Power. Clark is a founding member and former secretary of CHA.

New board members elected to two-year terms are:

– Eduard Wojczynski, division manager, power planning and development, Manitoba Hydro, who also serves as co-vice chairman of the board; and

– Mary Hemmingsen, general manager, generation capital planning, asset management and projects, BC Hydro, who also serves as board secretary.

Five board members were renamed for another two years:

– Myriam Truchon, director, environment and sustainability, Hydro-Qué bec, who also is co-vice chairman of the board;

– John C.W. Ritchie, director, corporate affairs, Hatch Energy, who is board treasurer;

– Francois Berthiamume, vice president, marketing North America, Alstom Canada;

– John Tammadge, group manager, Ottawa/St. Lawrence Plant Group, Electricity Production, Ontario Power Generation; and

– Ed Pietraszek, president, Columbia Power Corp.

Rounding out the board are six members, serving the second year of their two-year terms:

– Pierre Cossette, director, Energy North America, Alcan;

– Paul Dufresne, senior vice president and general manager, Energy Division, SNC-Lavalin;

– James Haynes, vice president, regulated operations, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro;

– Keith Pomeroy, president, VA Tech Hydro Canada;

– John Evans, chief engineer, Fortis; and

– Denys Turcotte, president and chief executive officer, Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation.

Pierre Fortin is CHA ’s president.

Founded in 1998, CHA is a national association representing the interests of Canada ’s hydropower industry. CHA members represent more than 95 percent of Canada ’s hydropower capacity.

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