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Task force to help government reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) is prepared to participate in a clean electricity task force established by Canada’s federal government to work with provinces and industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

Once it is formed, the task force is to examine how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing production of electricity from facilities powered by hydropower, other renewables, and nuclear energy.

CHA said Canada’s hydropower potential can be developed with respect for the environment and in collaboration with local communities. The association says it has identified 13,400 MW of new hydropower projects in various planning stages in six provinces.

The task force will work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond the government’s national target of reducing emissions by 20 percent by 2020. The government said it wants the task force to help achieve additional emissions reductions from the electricity sector.

The government’s climate change plan, “Turning the Corner,” identifies several possible actions for meeting this goal, including development of more hydroelectric projects. Other actions could include construction of an east-west power grid, new nuclear reactors, and the retirement of fossil-fueled plants.

The task force will report to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources.

Canada awards C$47 million to 120-MW Brilliant Expansion

The government of Canada announced its ecoEnergy for Renewable Power Program will provide up to C$47 million (US$46.4 million) in incentive payments to the 120-MW Brilliant Expansion project in British Columbia.

Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust brought Brilliant Expansion on line in September 2007. (See “Hydro Construction in Canada: A Snapshot of Activity,” Hydro Review, November 2007.) The project is on the Kootenay River near Castlegar, downstream of the partners’ 145-MW Brilliant Dam.

Natural Resources Canada announced in June the ecoEnergy program would contribute up to C$47 million over ten years to ensure renewable energy from the C$205 million (US$202.4 million) Brilliant Expansion can be delivered to Canadian consumers at competitive prices.

The ecoEnergy for Renewable Power program provides an incentive of 1 cent per kilowatt-hour for up to ten years to eligible low-impact, renewable electricity projects built between April 1, 2007, and March 31, 2011.

EcoEnergy for Renewable Power is part of the ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative announced by Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January 2007. The renewable power program is to provide C$1.48 billion (US$1.46 billion) to increase Canada’s supply of clean electricity from renewable sources.

Government officials attended a grand opening ceremony for Brilliant Expansion on June 20.

Brilliant Expansion’s expected annual generation is 500 gigawatt-hours, enough to supply about 50,000 homes.

Completion of Brilliant Expansion concludes the second of three major hydroelectric projects undertaken by the partners. The first project, 185-MW Arrow Lakes, was completed in 2002. Planning is under way for the third project, 435-MW Waneta Expansion, near Trail.

Developer, engineer partner in B.C.’s Green Corridor

Plutonic Power Corp. and consulting engineering firm Knight Piesold Ltd. have agreed to extend a business relationship responsible for identifying the 40 hydroelectric projects in Plutonic’s 2,000-MW Green Power Corridor in British Columbia.

Under an agreement announced in May, Plutonic and Knight Piesold will continue their partnership for identifying and evaluating potential run-of-river sites into 2014. The agreement provides Plutonic with a right of first refusal to acquire new projects identified by Knight Piesold. It also includes a standard non-compete clause.

The agreement provides for the issuance of 100,000 common share purchase warrants to Knight Piesold, which can be exercised at the price of C$7.93 (US$7.92) per share for a period of two years, and a bonus structure if identified projects become commercially viable. Knight Piesold also is entitled to payment of its fees for services provided.

Plutonic Chief Executive Officer Donald McInnes noted Plutonic and Knight Piesold have been involved in a mutually beneficial relationship since 2003.

Alstom Hydro acquires Canada’s SITCA

Alstom Hydro’s Canada unit announced it acquired SITCA, a Québec-based service provider for hydroelectric and cogeneration power plants.

“We are very pleased to have this team of 25 professionals join our group,” President Claude Lambert of Alstom Hydro Canada Inc. said. “With the growth of demand in services from our clients operating hydroelectric power plants, this acquisition will allow us to offer wider and better services to our customers.”

Established in Granby for more than ten years, SITCA specializes in services such as maintenance, technical assistance, and repair and service of power plants. In the past five years, SITCA has worked on more than 200 assignments in Canada, the United States, Romania, Germany, Pakistan, and other areas.

Following the acquisition, SITCA teams are to be fully part of the Alstom Hydro Canada organization, Alstom Hydro said.

Alstom Hydro is a joint venture of Alstom power engineering group and French conglomerate Bouygues.

Boralex adds Ocean Falls plant to hydro portfolio

Boralex Inc. signed an agreement to acquire its first hydroelectric project in British Columbia, the 14.5-MW Ocean Falls project in the province’s Central Coast region.

Boralex, headquartered in Montréal, Québec, says it intends to expand the project’s capacity, perhaps to 37 MW. It also said it is acquiring two small hydropower projects with a total capacity of about 10 MW under development in the same area.

The transaction will be completed following the receipt of regulatory approvals and consents, Boralex said.

Boralex did not disclose the purchase price or identify the seller. However, Ocean Falls power plant owners have included Central Coast Power Corp., an independent power producer that acquired the plant years ago from Ocean Falls Corp.

The hydroelectric project is located in the small coastal community of Ocean Falls, in a remote area of British Columbia about 300 miles north of Vancouver and 55 miles west of Bella Coola.

The power plant generates about 13,000 megawatt-hours annually for customers in Ocean Falls and for sale to BC Hydro under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Canada’s 8-MW Tommy Creek would power gold mine

Developer Max Pacific Power Inc. applied for a water permit to build an 8-MW run-of-river hydroelectric project on Tommy Creek, which runs through Oxbow Resources’ Bristol Gold property near Lillooet, British Columbia.

Oxbow Resources, which acquires and develops gold properties, is headquartered in the U.S., in Dover, Del.

Oxbow said the Tommy Creek project would provide improved infrastructure, inexpensive and clean electricity, and road improvements for exploration and mining of the Bristol Gold project.

The Bristol Gold property is about 175 kilometers northeast of Vancouver. It is 20 kilometers northeast of the Bralorne-Pioneer gold mine, the largest gold mine in British Columbia.

Max Pacific Power of Vancouver is developing a number of other hydro projects in British Columbia. They include the Chilliwack Valley Cluster, featuring the Chipmunk Creek, Airplane Creek, and Foley Creek power plants, all downstream of BC Hydro’s 63-MW Wahleach project. The company’s 30-MW Anderson Creek Cluster would feature intakes at Anderson, East Anderson, and Uztlius.

Max Pacific Power also is developing the 103-MW Downton Cluster, which would generate electricity from four high-elevation intakes in the Coast Mountains’ Pacific Range.

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