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Upgrade to Ruskin facility included in BC Hydro plan

BC Hydro is planning a C$800 million (US$822.5 million) upgrade of the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam and powerhouse as part of its C$6 billion (US$6.2 billion), three-year regeneration plan to meet growing power needs.

The Canadian utility will submit one of its largest ever applications to the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) for approval of the upgrade work at the dam, which has not received significant modifications since the last generator was added in the 1950s, a press release states.

Ruskin Dam and powerhouse were built in 1930 and are located in Mission, B.C. After 80 years of service, this work is required to upgrade the facility to modern safety and seismic criteria and replace the powerhouse equipment, which is in poor condition, BC Hydro reported.

Construction is scheduled from 2012 to 2018 and includes replacing the spillway gates and dam bridge; rehabilitating the powerhouse structure; and installing new turbines, generators, and ancillary equipment.

The upgrade work is part of BC Hydro's three-year capital investment strategy to renew and expand the province's electricity system. These investments are required to improve and replace aging facilities that were built primarily between 1950 and 1980, ranging from upgrading dams and generating stations, to building entirely new transmission lines linking existing and new substations and more.

Innergex to acquire hydro developer Cloudworks Energy

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. announced it will buy privately-owned Cloudworks Energy Inc. for C$185 million (US$187 million), expanding its hydroelectric assets in British Columbia.

The acquisition will help diversify the assets of Innergex, a small Canadian renewable energy producer, which operates run-of-river hydro projects and wind farms mostly in its home province of Quebec.

Cloudworks, which has 30 employees, owns a 50.01 percent stake in six run-of-river hydro facilities with a combined gross installed capacity of 150 MW, news agencies reported.

President and Chief Executive Michel Letellier said in a statement the deal will increase Innergex's installed power capacity to 401 MW.

Veresen acquires small projects in British Columbia

Veresen Inc. has completed a $114.9 million deal with Enmax Corp to acquire a portfolio of small hydro facilities and development projects in British Columbia, Canada.

The assets acquired from Enmax include 99 percent interest in the 11-MW Furry Creek hydro facility, 100 percent interest in two 11-MW Clowhom hydro facilities, and 50 percent interest in the 15-MW Culliton Creek project.

Veresen, formerly Fort Chicago Energy Partners LP, converted from a limited partnership to a corporation under the new name on January 1, 2011.

AbitibiBowater sells stake in Ontario hydro assets

AbitibiBowater has signed an agreement for the sale of its 75 percent stake in hydroelectric generating assets in Ontario, the company reported.

The forest products firm will get about C$300 million (US$303.6 million) for its indirect interest in ACH Limited Partnership.

The buyer is a consortium formed by a major Canadian institutional investor and a private Canadian renewable energy company, AbitibiBowater said.

As part of the transaction, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec has agreed to sell its 25 percent interest in ACH LP.

The agreement values the hydro assets, which have a combined capacity of 131 MW, at about $640 million.

Hydro-Quebec, Innu reach Romaine hydro project deal

An Innu community has reached a C$125 million agreement-in-principle with Quebec to allow provincial utility Hydro-Quebec to run transmission lines through its ancestral territory.

The tentative deal is over Hydro-Quebec's 1,550-MW Romaine project on the Romaine River.

The Innu of Uashat Mani-Utenam, on Quebec's north shore, signed an agreement in principle with the utility that will see them receive $80 million in cash over the next 50 years, local media reported.

The remaining $45 million will take the form of contracts to be allocated to the community of 4,000 during the construction of power lines to transmit electricity from the four dams to be built on the Romaine River near Sept-Iles, about 600 kilometers northeast of Quebec City.

In exchange, the Innu agreed to drop legal proceedings against the utility that could have blocked the construction of power lines for the project – considered one of the largest infrastructure works under way in the country.

The $6.5 billion Romaine project will have a capacity of 1,550 MW of power, beginning in 2020.

The deal only compensates the Innu of Uashat for the Romaine project. The band still has pending legal proceedings of nearly $2 billion against Hydro-Quebec and the Quebec government for other hydroelectric developments.

The parties hoped to ink a final agreement in March. The final deal will be subject to the approval of the Innu community by referendum in April.

Hydro-Quebec has already reached agreements with four other Innu communities affected by the Romaine project.

Voith Hydro to equip Decew Falls hydro project

Voith Hydro Canada won a contract to supply equipment for the Decew Falls 1 hydropower project.

Operator Ontario Power Generation is overhauling the plant that has been supplying electricity to the grid for more than a century. Voith will supply the turbine runner, shaft and wicket gates of Unit 8. The overhaul will be complete in early 2012.

Voith also had been the original equipment supplier for Decew Falls 1. Early in the 20th century, the owner, Hamilton Cataract Power Company, ordered four turbine units in Heidenheim for the plant located in direct vicinity to the Niagara falls.

With delivery from 1904 to 1912, these units were among the first ones Voith supplied to North America.

Decew Falls was inducted into the Hydro Hall of Fame in 1998. The Hydro Hall of Fame, established in 1995, recognizes hydro achievement throughout North America.

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