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Manitoba plans $800 million Pointe du Bois modernization

Manitoba Hydro is seeking regulatory approval to build an C$800 million (US$750 million), 120-MW powerhouse to replace the utility’s 78-MW Pointe du Bois generating station.

The oldest generating station in Manitoba Hydro’s system, Pointe du Bois began operating in 1911 on the Winnipeg River, 150 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg. City Hydro, later known as Winnipeg Hydro, built the original project. Manitoba Hydro acquired the project in 2002 and awarded contracts to GE Hydro in 2003 for two replacement runners.

In addition to construction of a new powerhouse, the modernization program includes a spillway and dam with modern operating and safety standards near the existing powerhouse. Manitoba Hydro said the new powerhouse would add 42 MW to make full use of the water resource.

Construction is projected to take six years. The planned in-service date is 2015. Existing structures are to be decommissioned once modernization is complete.

Manitoba Hydro said the decision to rebuild followed an initial public consultation process. Next steps include filing a proposal under the Manitoba Environment Act. An environmental assessment of the modernization and an environmental impact statement also are needed. The utility said the EIS is to be completed by the end of 2008 for submission to regulators.

BC Hydro schedules construction of 500-MW Revelstoke Unit 5

BC Hydro plans to begin construction before the end of the year to add a newly approved 500-MW turbine-generator to 1,980-MW Revelstoke Dam, on the Columbia River in British Columbia.

The utility says it has now received the necessary provincial and federal authorizations and approvals to begin construction. Authorizations and approvals include the B.C. Utilities Commission’s certificate of public convenience and necessity, environmental assessment certificate, and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act screening report.

While the three regulatory approvals allow BC Hydro to begin construction, another approval will be required before the project can begin operation.

The targeted in-service date for Unit 5 is October 2010, with a backup date of October 2011.

Estimated capital costs for Unit 5 range from C$280 million to C$350 million (US$264 million to US$330 million).

In addition to the Unit 5 work, BC Hydro is investigating pricing for the civil works and penstock for the possible future addition of a sixth turbine-generator.

Canada approves $1.4 billion in aid to Québec Crees

The Canadian government agreed to disburse C$1.4 billion (US$1.34 billion) in aid over 20 years to Québec’s 15,000 Crees to improve health, security, and other services for the native Indians.

The funds will help resolve a long-standing dispute over issues such as public health and economic development that stretch back to the 1975 James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA). The pact called for the Crees to be paid in exchange for land where province-owned utility Hydro-Québec built the eight-powerhouse, 16,245-MW La Grande hydroelectric complex.

Under the latest agreement, the Crees would assume federal responsibilities for the administration of justice, and economic and social development. Reports said the agreement could lead to the Crees forming their own state within Canada.

To take effect, the agreement must be ratified in a referendum among Crees of voting age, and by the government of Canada. If ratified, the agreement would put an end to litigation regarding the implementation of the federal obligations of the JBNQA.

Canada and the Grand Council of the Crees agreed in 2004 to begin an out-of-court process to settle issues through discussion rather than through the courts.

Calling the new agreement a historic occasion, Grand Chief Matthew Mukash said the pact stemmed from a new relationship of co-operation between the Crees, Canada, and the mainly French-speaking province of Québec.

“We have come a very long way since 1975 when we signed the first modern treaty,” Mukash told reporters.

The Crees belong to the Algonquin linguistic family. Their lands are located mainly in the James Bay Basin in the province’s northwestern region.

Canada bank provides loan for 2.8-MW Cypress Creek

Synex International Inc. said Canadian Western Bank agreed to lend up to C$3.5 million (US$3.3 million) for construction of the 2.8-MW Cypress Creek hydroelectric project on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.

Synex is building the C$7.2 million (US$6.8 million) project, working toward a scheduled completion date in November.

Synex, of Vancouver, said it closed a private placement of C$2.3 million (US$2.17 million) that will provide funds for Cypress Creek and future hydroelectric opportunities.

Synex plans to submit the project in BC Hydro’s new request for independent power, expected in the fourth quarter of 2007.

In 2006, Synex sold four U.S. hydro plants in Michigan for US$4.85 million, with some of those proceeds to advance construction Cypress Creek.

Horizon Hydro to develop 3.2-MW Big Falls project

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources announced it selected Horizon Hydro Inc.’s proposal to develop the 3.2-MW Big Falls hydropower project on Troutlake River in western Ontario.

Big Falls also must undergo environmental assessments and public review before construction.

The government’s original solicitation called for proposals to develop three sites on Troutlake River identified as 5QC15, 5QC16, and 5QC17. Horizon Hydro said it plans to use all three sites in the project, but will build a powerhouse at only one site. The company said the powerhouse would feature one turbine-generator operating under a head of 16 meters.

The project could be eligible to participate in the Ontario government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program. Launched in November 2006, the program allows generators of electricity from renewable projects under 10 MW to supply 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.

Horizon Hydro is part of the Horizon Legacy Energy Group and provides financing for projects as owners and operators.

The ministry said about 35 hydropower site release applications were in stages of review and approval. Successful developers lease the land for the projects from the ministry.

Plutonic reports progress on multiple B.C. projects

Plutonic Power Corp. announced it is making progress in developing multiple hydroelectric projects in British Columbia.

In July, Plutonic filed applications to secure water licenses and crown land rights to develop two projects, 95-MW Jewakwa River and 60-MW Scar Creek. Those projects are near the headwaters of Bute Inlet, north of Powell River.

That same month, Plutonic authorized contractor Peter Kiewit Sons Co. to begin building infrastructure for the 123-MW East Toba River and 73-MW Montrose Creek project. That project is located in Toba River Valley.

In another announcement, British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office said it would conduct an environmental review of Plutonic’s proposed 120-MW Upper Toba Valley project. The project would include three power plants: 30-MW Dalgleish Creek, previously proposed for 28 MW; 50-MW Jimmie Creek, previously proposed for 48 MW; and 40-MW Upper Toba River.

Additionally, Plutonic and the Sliammon First Nation reached an accord outlining terms of future agreements for development of 21-MW Freda Creek. The proposed site lies near Powell River within the traditional territory of Sliammon First Nation in British Columbia. Plutonic secured a water license and crown land rights from Land and Water British Columbia in 2005.

Taylor NGL acquires B.C. developer for $8.3 million

Taylor NGL L.P. acquired Highwater Power Corp., a hydropower developer based in British Columbia. Highwater owns a stake in the 7-MW Boston Bar project and is developing two others.

The Canadian investment firm said 5.5 million common shares of Highwater were tendered in response to an offer to buy all outstanding shares for C$1.50 (US$1.40). At that price, the amount paid totals about C$8.3 million (US$7.8 million). Taylor said it now owns 91.5 percent of Highwater, which will become a subsidiary of Taylor NGL.

Highwater’s principal operation involves the 7-MW hydro plant, operating since 1995 near Boston Bar, B.C. Highwater owns a 25 percent interest in a group partnership that operates the plant. The two other projects are 9.99-MW Log Creek and 9.99-MW Kookipi Creek, proposed for British Columbia’s Fraser River system. Those projects are in final stages of permitting and licensing.

BC Hydro has agreed to buy power from Log Creek and Kookipi Creek. The utility awarded power purchase agreements in 2006 to Cogenix Power Corp., a Highwater subsidiary involved in both projects.

Iris Power purchases ADWEL International

Koch Industries’ Iris Power L.P. bought ADWEL International Ltd. from Black & McDonald Ltd.

Iris Power and ADWEL said the merger would enable the companies to better serve a broad spectrum of the global electrical testing and measurement market. Iris Power provides products and services for partial discharge analysis testing; ADWEL possesses expertise in stator core testing of generators and motors.

The newly structured company trades as Iris Power L.P.

Voith Siemens moves head office in Canada

Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation moved its Canadian head office from downtown Montreal to new larger offices in nearby Brossard, Québec, on Montreal’s South Shore.

Denys Turcotte, president and chief executive officer of Voith Siemens Hydro Power in Canada, said the company relocated the offices to improve efficiencies and strengthen its presence.

Fifty people work for Voith Siemens Hydro in Brossard, and 125 employees work at the company’s manufacturing plant in Mississauga, Ontario. The number of employees in Brossard is expected to reach 100 shortly, the company said.


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