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Quebec to invest billions to boost hydropower capacity

Quebec said it plans to spend an additional C$32 billion by 2035 to expand hydropower capacity and increase sales to the U.S.

Provincially-owned utility Hydro-Quebec has already budgeted C$25 billion (US$31 billion) to build hydro projects and transmission lines that will help it add 4,500 MW of capacity by 2015.

Recently, a pair of Vermont utilities signed a memorandum of understanding with Hydro-Quebec, setting the stage for a new power supply contract for Vermont customers.

The C$32 billion (US$30 billion) to be spent from 2016 to 2035 would boost Hydro-Quebec's potential output by 3,500 MW.

Forty-six hydro projects win FIT contracts

The Green Energy Act Alliance, a coalition of Ontario groups committed to furthering green power, applauded the recent government announcement that contract offers had been made for 2,500 MW of new hydropower and other renewable energy projects.

The news was the latest in a series of announcements related to the feed-in-tariff program (FIT), which guarantees a stable price for renewable energy. The 184 projects announced will generate enough energy to power 600,000 homes, the Ontario Power Authority reported.

"These projects are the latest accomplishments of the Green Energy Act, which is making Ontario a place of destination for green energy development, manufacturing and expertise," said Ontario's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Brad Duguid.

Forty-six of the approved projects are hydro projects, 76 are ground-mounted solar photovoltaic, and 47 are on-shore wind. Also, there are seven biogas, two biomass, four landfill gas, one roof top solar, and one off-shore wind projects.

"With this announcement, Ontario has flicked the switch on a new era of green energy prosperity," said Dr. Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence, a member of the Green Energy Act Alliance. "This occasion is potentially as significant for Ontario's economic prosperity as the signing of the Auto Pact in 1965. The provincial government has served notice today that the new center of global green investing is right here in Ontario."

BC Hydro gets environmental approval for Mica Dam upgrade

British Columbia granted environmental approval to BC Hydro's plan to add 1,000 MW of capacity to its Mica Dam hydro project on the Columbia River.

The provincially-owned utility is planning to add two turbines to the project, north of Revelstoke Dam. The additional units will bring the project's total installed capacity to 2,805 MW.

The project still requires approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission.

Alstom Hydro to supply equipment for La Romaine 2

Alstom Hydro signed a contract with provincial Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec to supply equipment for the La Romaine 2 hydropower project in Quebec.

As part of the 70 million euro (US$94.1 million) contract, Alstom will supply a pair of turbine-generator units.

Each unit will comprise one 320-MW vertical Francis turbine and the associated generator, with other key equipment including two inlet valves and two governing systems. Alstom is responsible for installing the equipment.

The project is the first of four power plants to be constructed in the next ten years on the La Romaine River. Commissioning is planned for the end of 2014. Core components will be engineered and largely manufactured in Quebec, at Alstom Hydro's factory in Sorel-Tracy.

BC Hydro awards more purchase agreements

BC Hydro awarded the second round of electricity purchase agreements in its clean power program.

As of March 31, 2010, an additional four projects have been selected for an award of an Electricity Purchase Agreement, including two run-of-river hydro projects.

The first round of purchase agreements included 19 run-of-river hydro and wind projects. Additional project selections are planned for the future, BC Hydro said.

Following execution of the contracts, BC Hydro will submit the purchase agreements to the British Columbia Utilities Commission for its review. Further project details, including the range of electricity prices to be paid, will be available in BC Hydro's filing to the commission.

Fort Chicago completes purchase of Northbrook New York

Fort Chicago completed the purchase of a 100-percent interest in Northbrook New York LLC, which owns the 33-MW Glen Park hydropower plant in upstate New York.

The aggregate purchase price paid was about US$80.1 million, including working capital at closing, and was financed from existing bank credit facilities, Fort Chicago said.

The Glen Park run-of-river project is on New York's Black River.

Calgary-based Fort Chicago is a publicly traded limited partnership that owns and operates energy infrastructure assets across North America.

Reservoir Capital to buy hydro projects in Turkey

Canadian renewable energy firm Reservoir Capital Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire a 75-percent stake in six small hydroelectric projects in Turkey.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2010, with the first hydropower plant coming on-line in early 2011 and the remainder in stages before the end of 2012. The projects have a planned combined capacity of about 30 MW. Reservoir agreed to acquire a 25 percent interest in the portfolio by providing equity contributions of US$1.5 million payable by the end of March 2010, US$2.5 million payable by the end of May 2010, and US$2 million payable by the end of January 2011.

Debt financing for the projects is anticipated to be arranged through Turkish banks, with the current shareholders of the portfolio providing the remaining equity funding. Reservoir will acquire an additional 50-percent interest in the portfolio (for a total of 75 percent) for US$17 million, which will be paid in stages as the projects are completed and fully operational.

Small hydro generator signs 20-year contract with OPA

St. Catharines Hydro Generation Inc. signed a 20-year contract with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) to provide the province's ratepayers with a secured source of renewable power.

SCHGI, based in St. Catharines, Ontario, produces 5.75 MW of electricity from hydropower utilizing two DBS Escher Wyss turbines within the 12 Mile Creek. SCHGI will now receive a base rate of 6.9 cents per kWH.

The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in 2009 called for OPA to negotiate new contracts with existing hydroelectric generation facilities. In all, about 125 facilities ranging in size from 40 kW to 239 MW for a total potential of 1,200 to 1,300 MW can participate as their contracts come due.

The contract with SCHGI is one of 11 small generating facilities that have been brought under the new compensation terms thus far.

SNC Lavalin wins contract for Gourbassi project

SNC-Lavalin of Canada was awarded a $1.5 million contract for a feasibility study and summary preliminary draft of the 25-MW Gourbassi hydroelectric project on the Faleme River in Mali, Africa.

Feasibility study work is to include updating previous studies of the project and collecting topographic, hydrological, climatic, geological, and hydrogeologic information, in addition to other work.

The river management agency, Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Senegal (OMVS), received a credit of US$110 million from the World Bank's International Development Association for an integrated management program that includes feasibility studies of five multipurpose hydroelectric projects, including Gourbassi.

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