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BC Hydro seeks approval for 500-MW Revelstoke addition

BC Hydro filed an application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission to add a fifth turbine-generating unit at its 1,980-MW Revelstoke Dam in British Columbia. The new unit would add 500 MW to the project. The utility says the additional capacity is needed for system reliability.

Earlier this year, the utilities commission endorsed the spending of C$12.5 million (US$11 million) by BC Hydro on the definitional phase of the addition.

Prior to filing the application, BC Hydro staff spent several months discussing the idea of adding the unit with stakeholders, First Nations, and governmental agencies.

In October 2006, the utility submitted an application to the province’s Environmental Assessment Office.

Following receipt of regulatory approvals, the utility says it will begin detailed engineering and contracting. Under one scenario, construction would begin in 2008.

The Revelstoke Dam power plant began operating in 1984. It originally was designed as a six-unit facility, with installation of two units deferred until additional capacity was needed. The project is on the Columbia River near the city of Revelstoke.

Alcan plans turbine upgrade at Québec’s 896-MW Shipshaw

Alcan Inc. is beginning engineering work to install a new 225-MW turbine at its 896-MW Shipshaw hydroelectric project on the Saguenay River near Arvida, Québec.

The new turbine eventually is to replace older, less efficient equipment, the company said. The turbine replacement project represents an investment of about US$130 million. It is part of a planned ten-year US$1.8 billion investment in the aluminum company’s facilities in Québec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Region.

In keeping with a strategy for profitable growth, plans for the new turbine leverage Alcan’s strong power position, Alcan Primary Metal Group President Michel Jacques said.

Jacques said the turbine would allow Alcan to use its existing water resources more efficiently and to supply additional backup peaking capacity to Hydro- Québec, as agreed to in a December 2006 commitment with the Québec government.

The first step of the project is expected to cost about US$13 million, and calls for technical studies and preliminary pre-construction engineering. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2009. The new turbine should be put in service in the first quarter of 2013.

Shipshaw houses 12 turbines. It was finished in December 1943. At that time, Shipshaw was the largest hydroelectric installation in the world under one roof, according to an engineering company involved in the original project.

B.C. issues certificate for 196-MW East Toba-Montrose

British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office issued an environmental assessment certificate, advancing development of Plutonic Power Corp.’s 196-MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek project and transmission line in the Toba River Valley.

The certificate concludes more than two years of environmental field work, analysis, and community and government consultation, Plutonic Power President Donald McInnes said.

“This project will make a significant contribution in helping B.C. achieve energy self-sufficiency and provide numerous economic benefits to residents in the Powell River area,” McInnes said. “We are extremely excited about moving this project forward and anticipate starting construction in the next few months once … construction permits are granted.”

The project triggered a screening level review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, prompting the environmental assessment office and federal agencies to collaborate. A federal environmental decision on the project is imminent, Plutonic says.

Plutonic received the environmental assessment certificate April 25. The company said it next would secure provincial licenses and leases, and federal authorizations, approvals, and leases so the project can proceed.

Plutonic holds agreements with the Klahoose and Sliammon first nations to support the project. Construction could begin before September, after closing of financing, finalization of an interconnection agreement with British Columbia Transmission Corp., and conclusion of a fixed-price construction agreement with Peter Kiewit Sons Co.

The 123-MW East Toba River and 73-MW Montrose Creek developments will be built on the East Toba River and Montrose Creek 150 kilometers north of Powell River, B.C. A 145-kilometer transmission line will connect the power plants to the grid of BC Hydro, which has agreed to buy the project’s electricity. Capital costs for the power plant and transmission line are expected to total C$550 million (US$491 million), including owner costs and interest.

Plutonic pursues more development

Meanwhile, Plutonic said it is seeking regulatory approvals to develop three more hydroelectric projects, totaling 116 MW, near the headwaters of Toba Inlet in British Columbia.

Plutonic said it filed applications to secure a water license and crown land rights for the 28-MW Dalgleish Creek, 48-MW Jimmie Creek, and 40-MW Upper Toba River projects, 100 kilometers north of Powell River, B.C. The projects are expected to generate a total of about 350 gigawatt-hours annually.

Applications were made to B.C.’s Water Stewardship Division in the Ministry of the Environment and the Integrated Land Management Bureau in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.


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