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Bidders prepare proposals for 435-MW Waneta Expansion

Three groups agreed to submit design-build proposals for construction of the 435-MW Waneta Expansion hydroelectric project on the Pend d’Oreille River in British Columbia’s West Kootenay Region.

Waneta Expansion Power Corp., a venture of Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust, announced that the companies contractually committed to submit proposals.

Prospective bidders are: Peter Kiewit Sons Co., Edmonton, Alberta; SNC-Lavalin Inc., Vancouver, B.C.; and Bilfinger Berger – North America Construction Joint Venture, a Vancouver-based joint venture of Bilfinger Berger (Canada) Inc. and North America Construction (1993) Ltd.

Waneta Expansion Power Corp. issued a request for proposals (RFP) to interested parties in May 2008, following an earlier call for expressions of interest. Design-build proposals are due in spring 2009.

Waneta Expansion Power Corp.’s own studies determined the project is economically feasible. However, the corporation said it would reassess project viability after evaluating proposals. If it makes a determination to proceed, construction could begin as early as summer 2009 and be completed in 2012.

Waneta Expansion involves the design and construction of a second powerhouse at 400-MW Waneta Dam, owned by Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., south of Trail, British Columbia. Waneta Expansion would share the dam’s hydraulic head and make use of flows that otherwise would be spilled. The C$400 million (US$338 million) project would reduce the amount of water spilled at Waneta Dam, reducing total dissolved gas downstream and improving Columbia River water quality.

Canada’s environment minister determined in May 2008 that Waneta Expansion is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, paving the way for release of the RFP. The project cleared British Columbia’s environmental assessment process in 2007.

Columbia Basin Trust President Neil Muth said Waneta Expansion would create about 600 person-years of direct employment during the four-year construction. Economic spinoffs include about C$90 million (US$87 million) in direct employment income and local procurement.

Manitoba Hydro awards contract for Wuskwatim construction

Manitoba Hydro awarded a C$289 million (US$244 million) contract for general civil construction of the 200-MW Wuskwatim project on Manitoba’s Burntwood River.

The utility awarded the contract to O’Connell-Neilson-EBC Partnership. The consortium consists of: managing partner H.J. O’Connell Construction Ltd., St. John’s, Newfoundland; Neilson Inc., Saint-Nicholas, Québec; and EBC Inc., L’Ancienne-Lorette, Québec.

The contract includes a schedule advancing the in-service date of the station to 2011. At one time, the scheduled in-service date was December 2012.

Manitoba Hydro is replacing runners (left) and rewinding generators (right) at its 224-MW Kelsey Generating Station in northern Manitoba. The C$265 million (US$224 million) program will add 84 MW to the project’s capacity.
Click here to enlarge image


Click here to enlarge image

General civil work to be performed includes construction of earthen dams and dykes, and the concrete structures that form the generating station. The consortium also will be responsible for excavating rock; supplying and installing powerhouse walls, roof, and superstructure steel; and maintaining roads and cofferdams.

Manitoba Hydro manages the project, including the tendering process, under Wuskwatim Power L.P. Manitoba Hydro is developing Wuskwatim in partnership with the Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. The powerhouse is to be built at Taskinigahp Falls, 40 kilometers southeast of Nelson House. The project is expected to inundate less than a square kilometer.

An original general civil contract was tendered in 2007 and only one bid was received. As a result, that tender was canceled. Manitoba Hydro, as project manager, divided the work originally planned into smaller construction contracts. It awarded Peter Kiewit & Sons Ltd. a contract to do overburden and initial rock excavation and to construct several cofferdams. It awarded Pennecon a second contract to do structures area rock excavation and produce concrete aggregate.

Construction of the C$1.3 billion (US$1.1 billion) project began in 2006, with the building of a 48-kilometer access road. The upstream containment dyke and Stage 1 upstream and downstream cofferdams also are complete. Project infrastructure – including power line, communications, camp, offices, and sewer and water – is complete.

Hawkeye Energy proposes 12 B.C. run-of-river projects

Hawkeye Energy Corp. proposes to develop 12 run-of-river hydroelectric projects totaling 180 MW, all on the southwest coast of British Columbia.

On its Internet site, Hawkeye Energy identified the projects by stream name. See Table 1 for the list.

The projects would generate about 800 gigawatt-hours annually, and offset 540,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, it said. The company added it plans to build a 150-kilometer transmission line to connect the 12 projects to BC Hydro’s electricity grid.

Table 1: Hawkeye Energy’s Proposed Hydro Plants
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Hawkeye Energy, a private company incorporated in 2006, said it owns 34 run-of-river projects in various stages of development in B.C. The dozen projects, prepared for BC Hydro’s Clean Power Call, represent Phase 1 of the company’s 350-MW Green Energy Grid portfolio.

Andritz Hydro to refurbish 162-MW Aubrey Falls

Hydro operator Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. awarded a contract to Andritz Hydro to refurbish generating units at the 162-MW Aubrey Falls hydroelectric project on Ontario’s Mississagi River.

Andritz Hydro, which incorporates the former GE Hydro, received a C$9.2 million (US$7.8 million) contract for supply and installation of new stator windings and refurbishment of field windings and poles for two 87-megavolt-ampere generators at Aubrey Falls, which began operation in 1930 east of Sault Ste. Marie. The first unit is to return to operation by May 2009.

Manitoba Hydro continues work at 224-MW Kelsey

Manitoba Hydro reports it is making progress on a major rehabilitation and upgrade program involving all seven turbine-generator units at its 224-MW Kelsey Generating Station, on the Nelson River in northern Manitoba.

The work is expected to add 84 MW of capacity to the project, which originally entered operation in 1961. Outages are scheduled over about six years, ending in 2012, the province-owned utility said.

Site infrastructure improvements made to accommodate a construction workforce are complete. They include a camp for construction workers, sewer and water system upgrades, fire protection system upgrades, and new storage buildings.

The C$265 million (US$224 million) rehabilitation and upgrade program involves installing new runners with higher output ratings and new embedded parts in water passageways, refurbishing unit intake gates, rewinding generator stators, and rehabilitating and upgrading rotor field windings. In addition, Manitoba Hydro is installing new static exciters, unit transformers, servomotors, self-lubricated wicket gate regulation system bushings, scroll case access hatches, and unit control and monitoring systems.

A number of contractors are involved in the work, including PCL Constructors Canada, civil construction contractor, and Comstock Canada (Manitoba), mechanical construction contractor. Alstom Hydro Canada is supplying the new turbines, rewinding generators, and rehabilitating rotors. ABB Canada is supplying new digital static excitation systems. Other suppliers include: Enerfin, Québec, new generator coolers; Hitachi Canadian Industries, embedded parts, refurbishment of operating rings, and inner and lower headcovers; and Pauwels Canada, new transformers.

Ontario approves new EA process for hydropower

Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment approved a new “class” environmental assessment (EA) process, specific to review of hydropower projects. The new process is expected to accelerate and expand hydropower development in the province.

The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) proposed the Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects, which replaces an earlier environmental screening process. Provisions took effect Oct. 8, 2008.

The Class EA is intended to provide direction for effective project assessment, OWA said. It brings together key federal and province regulatory requirements into a single, coordinated process for planning and evaluating hydropower projects. It includes a specific focus on public engagement and aborigine community involvement.

The new process requires a formal environmental report for every project and requires all new hydropower projects to be screened against environmental, social, cultural, and economic criteria.

The Class EA is designed to ensure sponsors of hydropower projects consistently take into account the potential effects their projects would have on the environment using an approved process that is specific to hydro projects, OWA said. It sets out a planning process that is to be followed for specific project types.

The process provides a single document that can be used for assessing projects according to their type and scale of activity, potential for environmental effect, and level and extent of public, aborigine, and agency interest. The document is intended to provide a common process for developers, the public, government agencies, aborigine communities, and others of the planning, evaluation, reporting, and involvement process for each category.

Class EA documents are available on the OWA Internet site,

Income fund to acquire stake in 45-MW Pingston

Great Lakes Hydro Income Fund intends to acquire from Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. a 49.9 percent interest in half of a joint venture that owns the 45-MW Pingston hydroelectric project in British Columbia.

Great Lakes Hydro Income Fund announced it closed on a deal in January that would provide C$65 million (US$55 million) to finance the acquisition of the interest in Pingston and in a 189-MW wind farm in Ontario. The proposed acquisition is expected to close by the end of March.

The Pingston project, near the town of Revelstoke, B.C., is owned and operated as a joint venture between Brookfield and Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., with each party holding a 50 percent interest. The project originally was commissioned as a 30-MW facility in 2003; a 15-MW expansion was added in 2004.

Pingston is subject to an operations and maintenance agreement between Canadian Hydro and Brookfield Energy Marketing Inc. (BEMI). The agreement is to remain in force for the life of the project. BEMI is responsible for managing and administering Pingston’s revenues, selling the power generated, and administering contract terms.

Groups to help assess 2,824-MW Lower Churchill

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) awarded a total of C$125,000 (US$106,000) to help three organizations participate in the environmental assessment process for the 2,824-MW Lower Churchill hydroelectric project in Labrador.

CEAA said groups receiving funds are the Sierra Club of Canada’s Atlantic Canada Chapter, the Natural History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Grand Riverkeeper Labrador Inc.

Recipients can use funds to review Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro’s environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project and to participate in public hearings.

It is the second phase of CEAA funding for the project, which would feature 2,000-MW Gull Island and 824-MW Muskrat Falls, both on the Lower Churchill River. In 2007, CEAA allocated C$50,000 (US$42,000) to help recipients review draft guidelines for the EIS.

In July 2008, federal and provincial regulators issued final guidelines for preparation of the EIS.

B.C. compensates First Nation for effects of Bennett Dam

The government of British Columbia and province-owned utility BC Hydro have agreed to pay millions of dollars to the Kwadacha First Nation in compensation for economic and social problems caused by W.A.C. Bennett Dam, part of the 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum hydroelectric project.

The agreement provides an initial payment of C$15 million (US$12.7 million) and annual payments of about C$1.6 million (US$1.4 million) to the Kwadacha First Nation, with future adjustments for inflation. Most of the initial payment is to establish an endowment fund to secure future economic returns. The Kwadacha also will establish an advisory committee to hear community members’ requests and suggestions for spending the money.

The settlement releases the province and BC Hydro from litigation initiated by the Kwadacha First Nation in 2001 for alleged breach of fiduciary duty, infringement of aboriginal rights, and damages related to construction and operation of Bennett Dam and Williston Reservoir. The agreement is intended to provide certainty of current and future operations of BC Hydro’s Peace River facilities – W.A.C. Bennett Dam, Williston Reservoir, and 694-MW Peace Canyon Dam.

In December 2006, the B.C. government announced an agreement in principle between the province, BC Hydro, and the Kwadacha First Nation to recognize the socioeconomic effects of building the dam and reservoir.

The dam, completed in 1967, impounds the largest body of water in British Columbia. Creation of the reservoir exacerbated isolation of the Kwadacha and increased their cost of living, BC Hydro said. The First Nation said the project also impaired its ability to continue its traditional way of life based on hunting, trapping, and gathering.

As a result of the agreement, Kwadacha First Nation is undertaking a plan to address housing shortages and improve living standards in the community of Fort Ware. The agreement also will provide the First Nation with contracting and employment prospects, the parties said.

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