BC Hydro wins approval for 500-MW Revelstoke addition
British Columbia granted environmental approval to BC Hydro’s plan to add a 500-MW turbine-generator to 1,980-MW Revelstoke Dam on the Columbia River.
The approval, in the form of an environmental assessment certificate, includes 76 commitments BC Hydro must implement. For example, BC Hydro is to prepare environmental management plans for project construction, and to mitigate incremental effects to endangered white sturgeon. Another commitment is to maintain communications and reporting with First Nations on environmental performance and compliance.
British Columbia Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld made the decision to grant the Revelstoke Unit 5 project the certificate. The officials considered details of a review led by B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office, in making their decision.
The Environmental Assessment Office concluded the project’s effects would be within acceptable levels. The Environment Ministry added the project is consistent with the province’s goal of becoming self-sufficient in electricity by 2016, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Additional approvals required
In addition to the B.C. environmental certificate, BC Hydro needs other province and federal authorizations and approvals before the project can proceed.
BC Hydro filed an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity with the B.C. Utilities Commission in April. A certificate of public convenience and necessity would establish Revelstoke Unit 5 is the preferred option to meet customer demand.
Estimated capital costs for Unit 5 range from C$280 million to C$350 million (US$264 million to US$330 million). The target in-service date is October 2010.
Revelstoke Dam power plant began operating in 1984 near the city of Revelstoke. It originally was designed as a six-unit facility, with installation of Unit 5 and a sixth unit being deferred until additional capacity was needed.
Plutonic begins construction of 196-MW East Toba, Montrose
Plutonic Power Corp. began building its 196-MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek hydroelectric project in July, following receipt of all government approvals.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, and Transport Canada approved an environmental screening report for the British Columbia project, clearing the way for construction and operating permits to be issued.
The 123-MW East Toba River and 73-MW Montrose Creek developments will be built in the Toba River Valley 150 kilometers north of Powell River, B.C. A 145-kilometer transmission line will connect the plants to the transmission grid of BC Hydro, which will buy the project’s electricity. Capital costs could total C$550 million (US$491 million), including owner costs and interest.
British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office previously issued an environmental assessment certificate for the project, concluding more than two years of field work, analysis, and community and government consultation.
Developer plans four projects totaling 108 MW in B.C.
Plutonic Power Corp. plans to develop four new run-of-river hydro projects totaling 108 MW in British Columbia, near the headwaters of Bute Inlet, about 100 kilometers north of Powell River.
British Columbia’s Water Stewardship Division and Integrated Land Management Bureau accepted the company’s applications to secure a water license and crown land rights to develop all four projects.
The projects are 22-MW Algard Creek, 28-MW East Orford River, 22-MW North Orford River, and 36-MW Elliot Neighbour Creek.
The first three projects are named for sites on waterways of the same name. The site for the Elliot Neighbour Creek project is located on an unnamed creek, near Elliot Neighbour Creek.
The projects could generate a total of 362 gigawatt-hours annually.
The company is installing stream gages to collect data for studying the sites’ hydrology and for beginning environmental assessment.
Environment panel to assess 2,824-MW Lower Churchill
Canada Environment Minister John Baird announced an independent review panel will conduct an environmental assessment of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2,824-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Act provides for several types of environmental assessments, including assessment in some cases by an independent review panel. A panel is appointed to review and assess, in an impartial and objective manner, a project with likely adverse environmental effects. Only the environment minister may order an assessment by a review panel.
“A review panel, independent of government, will provide the best opportunities for the participation of the public and aboriginal groups in the environmental assessment process,” Baird said.
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s proposal to develop the hydroelectric potential of the lower Churchill River in Labrador includes 2,000-MW Gull Island and 824-MW Muskrat Falls. The Gull Island site is 225 kilometers downstream from the existing 5,428-MW Churchill project at Churchill Falls. Muskrat Falls is about 60 kilometers downstream of Gull Island.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is communicating with Newfoundland and Labrador Environment and Conservation about the possibility of a joint environmental assessment of the project. CEAA said it planned to make funding available to individuals and groups who want to participate in the assessment process.
In assessments by review panels, members of the public can participate in scoping meetings to identify issues to be addressed, and can later appear before the review panel to present evidence, concerns, and recommendations.
Once the review panel completes public hearings and its analysis, it will prepare an environmental assessment report summarizing its rationale, conclusions, and recommendations. The report will be submitted to the environment minister, who then will make it public.
Newfoundland announces Lower Churchill contracts
Meanwhile, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro awarded contracts to three consulting firms to provide engineering support services for the Lower Churchill project. The firms are: Hatch Energy; SNC Lavalin; and Fugro Jacques Geosurveys Inc.
The utility grouped the services it requires into specific work task orders, and assigned that work to the appropriate firms. Each consulting firm will include local companies in their engineering projects over a 12-month period.
Twenty bids were submitted in response to the utility’s request for proposals for engineering support services.
Yukon Energy plans expansion for 30-MW Aishihik
Yukon Energy says it is reviving plans to install a third 7-MW turbine-generator at its 30-MW Aishihik hydroelectric station. The new unit will help the utility meet growing electrical needs, especially in the winter.
The Canadian and Yukon governments pledged C$5 million (US$4.7 million) for the new turbine, which could be installed in the next two to five years, the utility said.
Yukon Energy first proposed adding a third unit to the Aishihik station in 1992. At that time, the utility received the necessary approvals for the addition, but ultimately chose not to pursue construction.
In its new resource plan, Yukon Energy includes the new unit as one of several ways to meet future electrical generation needs.
British Columbia helps fund 900-kW Hartley Bay
British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources announced it will provide C$488,000 (US$457,000) to support development of the 900-kW Hartley Bay hydroelectric project.
The project would generate electricity to meet the needs of Gitga’at First Nation’s Hartley Bay community, a remote site at the confluence of Greenville and Douglas channels, 145 kilometers southeast of Prince Rupert, on British Columbia’s north coast. The project is to provide clean power to replace diesel-generated electricity while meeting the community’s needs at less cost and reduced environmental risk.
The government said it is providing project funds to Gitga’at Development Corp. through the ministry’s 2006-2007 First Nation and Remote Community Clean Energy Program.
The project, planned for a site on the Gabion River, could be completed in December 2008. The community’s existing diesel generator would serve as a back-up system for the project.
BC Hydro replaces stators at Mica, Peace Canyon
BC Hydro is replacing the stators in eight generators at its 1,668-MW Mica and 700-MW Peace Canyon hydroelectric projects.
At Mica, BC Hydro is replacing stators in each of four generators. Through this work, the utility says it expects to reduce forced outages and ensure reliability. Output of each unit will increase to 500 MW from 417 MW.
Work on Unit 4 is complete, and the unit is in service. Work on Unit 3 is scheduled for completion in September, followed by Unit 1 in July 2008, and Unit 2 in July 2009.
Alstom Canada is designing, supplying, and installing the equipment for the C$78 million (US$70.2 million) stator replacement.
At Peace Canyon, BC Hydro is replacing the four original 1979-1980 vintage Mitsubishi 184-megavolt-ampere stators. The replacements are expected to reduce a risk of forced outages. The utility budgeted C$69 million (US$62.1 million) for the work.
The first stator replacement at Peace Canyon was completed in the fall of 2006. Work on the remaining three units is to be completed at the rate of one per year, with the last generator to be returned to service in fall 2009.
Mitsubishi Canada Ltd. is supplying and installing equipment.
Rattling Brook refurbishment will add 2.9 MW to capacity
Refurbishment of Newfoundland Power’s 11.2-MW Rattling Brook will increase project capacity by 2.9 MW and production by 6.2 gigawatt-hours (GWh).
Under a C$20.9 million (US$18.66 million) program, Newfoundland Power is replacing:
– 5,600 feet of 7.5-foot-diameter woodstave penstock with 9.5-foot-diameter steel penstock;
– 2- to 60-inch butterfly valves; and
– Plant switchgear, protection, and controls.
Other work includes upgrades to cooling water and ventilation systems, instrumentation, and governors, and rehabilitation of a steel surge tank.
Contractors and their tasks include: Northland Contracting Ltd., penstock; Black & McDonald, mechanical and electrical installation; ABB, switchgear supply; EMCO, main valve supply; North American Hydro, governor modifications; and Bowringer Engineering, surge tank refurbishment.
Work began in May; both turbine-generator units are to be returned to service in November, the company said. Civil work will continue in 2008, including replacing a spillway and outlet gate and upgrading two dams and site access roads in the water storage system.
Rattling Brook began operation in 1958 and generates about 69.8 GWh annually, providing 16.6 percent of Newfoundland Power’s total hydro generation.
Canadian Hydro secures agreement for 3.2-MW Misema
The Ontario Power Authority will purchase electricity generated at Canadian Hydro Developers’ 3.2-MW Misema hydro project, under terms of a standard offer contract.
Under the 20-year contract, Canadian Hydro Developers receives C$145 (US$136) per megawatt-hour (MWh) during on-peak hours, when customers use more electricity, and C$110 (US$104) per MWh during off-peak hours, when customers use less.
The Misema plant is 10 kilometers north of Englehart, on the south side of the Misema River at Eighty-foot Falls. The plant began operating in 2003; Canadian Hydro bought the project from Canadian Renewable Energy Corp. in 2005.
Misema is one of five hydro projects so far to win agreements in the government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program, launched in November 2006.
The program allows generators of electricity from renewables under 10 MW to supply electricity to the grid. It provides standard terms and conditions intended to make it simpler and less costly for operators of small facilities to participate in the electricity supply system.
The other four projects receiving a standard offer contract under the program are:
– Bracebridge Generation Ltd.’s 1.5-MW High Falls;
– Quinte Conservation’s 950-kW McLeod Dam; and
– Pic Mobert Hydro Power Joint Venture’s 8.28-MW Gitchi Animki Bezhig and 9.9-MW Gitchi Animki Niizh.
Canada industry groups unite to advocate for renewables
Four national associations representing the hydropower, geothermal, solar, and wind industries are collaborating on an initiative to promote sustainable development of renewable energy.
The Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) represents the hydro industry in the newly created Canadian Renewable Energy Industry Network (CREIN), announced in June.
CHA, Canadian GeoExchange Coalition, Canadian Solar Industries Association, and Canadian Wind Energy Association will use the network to advocate for a greater role for renewable energy in the federal government’s response to air pollution and climate change.
Canada’s federal government is consulting on details of its regulatory framework for air emissions. CREIN’s four members plan to collaborate actively on the process to ensure renewable energy is an important element of the government’s strategy.
Specifically, CREIN said it wants to ensure: renewable energies are allowed to participate in any future emissions trading systems through the creation of offsets; any technology fund will support deployment of renewable energies; and past efforts to deploy renewable energies are recognized and credited.