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BC Hydro to add two units at 1,668-MW Mica Creek

BC Hydro plans to install two new turbine-generators at the 1,668-MW Mica Creek project, on the Columbia River in southeastern British Columbia.

The utility said it will install vertical shaft Francis-type turbines, each with a minimum rated output of 520.3 MW. Turbines will be coupled to synchronous generators, each with a nominal rating of 570 megavolt-amperes (MVa).

Mica Creek powerhouse was designed for six vertical shaft turbine-generators. It now contains four generating units featuring Francis-type turbines coupled to umbrella-type generators rated at 457 MVa. Space is provided for the two additional units.

BC Hydro plans to add the two new units, Units 5 and 6, to increase the project’s installed capacity. The new units also are to provide more effective regulation of the power plant under various loading conditions.

In addition, BC Hydro is conducting a C$97 million (US$82.1 million) program to replace stators on all four existing units, to be completed in fiscal year 2010. Output of each unit will increase to 500 MW from 417 MW.

Redevelopment under way at four OPG projects in Ontario

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is re- developing three projects on the Upper Mattagami River and one project on the Lower Montreal River. The province-owned utility expects to gain more than 22 MW through the redevelopment.

OPG said redevelopment would increase capacity of the three Upper Mattagami plants in northeastern Ontario: 10.4-MW Wawaitin, to 15 MW; 3-MW Sandy Falls, to 5.5 MW; and 5.3-MW Lower Sturgeon, to 14 MW. Upgrades would allow the utility to make full use of water at the three sites without changing operating levels and flows, OPG Northeast Plant Group Manager Peter Murray said. Annual production would increase to 180 gigawatt-hours (GWh) from 108 GWh.

OPG plans to decommission and remove three existing powerhouses and associated equipment such as penstocks and surge tanks. It will construct new powerhouses, install equipment, and refurbish dams, weirs, and other civil structures. It plans to build a new canal for Sandy Falls.

The 3.6-MW Hound Chute development on the Lower Montreal River south of Cobalt is the fourth project being redeveloped. OPG plans to build a 10-MW replacement powerhouse and install a weir that will eliminate most fluctuations in water. The redevelopment is expected to increase annual energy production to 47 GWh from 26 GWh.

OPG named Kiewit-Alarie A Partnership, a joint venture construction company formed by Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and Leo Alarie and Sons Construction Ltd., to perform work on all four projects. Construction started in June 2008.

Wawaitin, Sandy Falls, and Lower Sturgeon were built in 1912, 1911, and 1923 to supply power to the gold mining industry in Timmins. The Hydro Electric Power Commission, a predecessor to OPG, acquired the facilities in 1944. The Hound Chute powerhouse was built in 1908 to provide power to the silver mining industry in the Cobalt area. The Hydro Electric Power Commission purchased the project in 1948.

Rio Tinto to add 225-MW unit at Québec’s 947-MW Shipshaw

Anglo-Australian miner Rio Tinto Ltd. will invest C$296 million (US$228 million) to construct a new 225-MW high-efficiency turbine at Rio Tinto Alcan’s 947-MW Shipshaw hydroelectric project in Saguenay, Québec.

The Shipshaw powerhouse is a major component of Rio Tinto Alcan’s hydroelectric network, which features a total installed capacity of about 2,900 MW in Québec.

Rio Tinto agreed in 2007 to buy Canada’s Alcan Inc. for C$49 billion (US$38.1 billion). At that time, it reiterated it would maintain Alcan’s commitment to invest some C$2.6 billion (US$2 billion) in Québec expansion projects and manage waterways on which it produces electricity for its smelters.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Officer Tom Albanese said the modernization and upgrading of Shipshaw underscores the importance the company places on secure, competitively priced energy resources. He added Rio Tinto remains committed to sustainable, value-creating investments in Québec and the rest of Canada.

Prior to purchase by Rio Tinto, Alcan started engineering work for the new Shipshaw turbine as part of a planned ten-year C$2.3 billion (US$1.8 billion) investment in facilities in Québec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Region.


In her first official outing, Canada’s new Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt (center) attended the Canadian Hydropower Association’s Forum and met with the association’s leaders, including Pierre Fortin, president (left), and Colin Clark, chairman of the board (right).
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Canada official pledges to promote hydropower

Canada’s new Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt said she looks forward to working with the Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) and its members to further promote the development of hydropower.

Hydropower represents more than 70,000 MW of installed capacity in Canada, generating more than 60 percent of the nation’s electricity. In addition to generation to be gained through refurbishment and upgrading of facilities, an additional 163,000 MW could be developed, CHA said.

Raitt attended a CHA reception in Ottawa in November 2008, in her first official outing since being named minister. She used the opportunity to congratulate CHA members on the association’s tenth anniversary.

For the anniversary, CHA produced a booklet Hydropower in Canada: Past Present and Future. The publication highlights hydropower’s social, economic, and environmental contribution to Canada over 127 years.

The booklet is free and available upon request by sending an e-mail to info@ canhydropower.org. It also can downloaded from the Internet: www. canhydropower.org/hydro_e/p_what.htm.

The publication builds on the theme of CHA’s annual meeting, the 2008 Forum on Hydropower, celebrating Canada’s leading source of electricity since 1881.

CHA noted hydropower contributes to the economy by creating tens of thousands of jobs for development, maintenance, upkeep, and refurbishment of hydropower installations.

As for the future, more than C$50 billion (US$38.8 billion) will be invested over ten years in hydropower development, CHA said.

Developer proposes 16 plants totaling 280 MW

Developer Run of River Power is pursuing development of 16 new hydroelectric plants totaling 280 MW in British Columbia’s upper Klinaklini and Mosley watersheds.

Run of River Power completed initial stages of the process necessary to secure water licenses and crown land rights from the Agriculture and Lands Ministry’s Integrated Land Management Bureau and the Environment Ministry’s Water Stewardship Division.

The projects are proposed for areas south of Tatla Lake and about 220 kilometers west of Williams Lake on the Chicotin Plateau of central British Columbia. The areas include the traditional territories of the Ulkatcho First Nation (Anahim Lake Band) and the Nanwakolas Council.

Plants in the Klinaklini cluster would have a total design capacity of 184 MW, while the plants in the Mosley Cluster would feature a total design capacity of 96 MW. Run of River Power estimates the combined total output of the 16 power plants would exceed 900 gigawatt-hours annually. The company did not identify the individual plants by name.

Run of River Power said it is prepared to begin hydrological and baseline environmental studies. Local communities and First Nations will be consulted before approval is sought to build the projects, it added.

The company intends to move the projects forward with formal commencement of the First Nations referrals process with the Ulkatcho First Nation and Nanwakolas Council. The process includes development of an impact and benefits agreement addressing matters such as long-term economic participation and employment initiatives for community members, Run of River President Jako Krushnisky said.

The plants have similar attributes to existing development activities in the company’s run-of-river portfolio, Krushnisky said. Run of River Power is developing hydro projects totaling more than 680 MW of non-firm capacity, including a seven-powerhouse 180-MW Upper Pitt River project northeast of Vancouver. It also operates 7.6-MW Brandywine Creek.

Run of River Power subsidiary Northwest Cascade Power Ltd. could submit an application for environmental review of Upper Pitt River in spring 2009, looking to obtain an environmental assessment certificate in fall 2009. However, in the meantime, it is pursuing alternatives for the Upper Pitt River project, including a review of how the cluster could most effectively connect to BC Hydro’s grid. In early 2008, British Columbia’s environment minister rejected a proposal that would have adjusted park boundaries to accommodate transmission lines for the project.

Officers, directors guide Canadian Hydropower Association

The Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) reappointed Colin Clark, Brookfield Renewable Power, chairman of the association’s board of directors.

Two board members – Gilles Favreau, Hydro-Québec, vice chairman, and Zak Erzinclioglu, Hatch Energy, treasurer – were named officers in 2007. They were elected to the board in 2008 for a two-year mandate.

Two other officers are serving the second year of two-year terms: Ed Wojczynski, Manitoba Hydro, vice chairman; and Mary Hemmingsen, BC Hydro, secretary.

Three members were elected to the board of directors in 2008 for two-year terms: Francois Berthiaume, Alstom Canada; Victor Jmaeff, Columbia Power Corp., and Mike Martelli, Ontario Power Generation.

The new board members join eight members elected in 2007 for two-year terms:

Pierre Fortin, CHA’s president, plans to step down at the end of June.

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.


Correction

A story in “Canadian News” (October 2008, page 65) reported that ENMAX Energy Corp. is involved in development of two 5.8-MW hydroelectric projects: Savona and 150 Mile House. These are energy recovery generation projects, not hydro projects.


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