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Innu agree to Lower Churchill hydro project deal in Canada

An aboriginal group voted in favor of an agreement to approve the multi-billion dollar Lower Churchill hydropower project in Labrador.

The agreement approves the Lower Churchill hydro project, settles the land claim and provides compensation for the Churchill Falls Dam that was built in the 1960s.

Joseph Riche, grand chief of the Innu nation, said that in preliminary results the community of Sheshatshiu voted 84 percent in favor, while the community of Natuashish voted 96 percent in favor. There are about 2,400 Innu living in the Labrador communities of Sheshatshiu and Natuashish.

Nalcor and Emera’s $6.2-billion Phase 1 of Lower Churchill includes an 824-MW hydro plant at Muskrat Falls and undersea lines linking Labrador, Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

The “New Dawn” agreement gives Innu hunting rights in large parts of Labrador and ends a decades-old dispute. The Innu will have a stake in the hydro project and collect millions in royalties.

Guide on Ontario environmental assessment processes available

The Ontario Waterpower Association announced the publication of the “Practitioner’s Guide to Federal Requirements for Waterpower Development Environmental Assessment Processes in Ontario,” an initiative undertaken in partnership with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The Practitioner’s Guide details the unique requirements of federal legislation, regulation and policy to waterpower projects in a framework designed to integrate these requirements with the OWA’s Class Environmental Assessment.

U.S. power sales require added hydropower capacity

Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger announced that provincially-owned hydropower producer Manitoba Hydro signed agreements for a 250 MW sale of electricity to Minnesota Power and a 100-MW sale to Wisconsin Public Service.

Combined with a previously completed 125-MW sale to Northern States Power, these sales total 475 MW, with an estimated value of $4 billion, Selinger said.

The premier said these sales will require the construction of new hydroelectric generating capacity in Manitoba. They will trigger the development of the 695-MW Keeyask Generating Station on the lower Nelson River 175 km northeast of Thompson in the Split Lake Resource Management Area.

The Keeyask hydropower station is to be developed by a partnership consisting of Manitoba Hydro and the Keeyask Cree Nations-Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation and York Factory First Nation. The $5.6-billion project will provide some 4,500 years of construction employment, Selinger said.

Hydro project in Canada moves to assessment stage

The proposed Site C dam and hydropower project in northeast British Columbia took the first step through the environmental assessment process.

BC Hydro submitted a project description report for the Site C dam and hydro project to the federal and provincial environmental assessment agencies.

A formal regulatory process will begin once the report has been reviewed and accepted by the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

The estimated cost of the proposed 1,100-MW hydropower project is around $8 billion. Site C is to be built on the Peace River.

Site C would be a source of clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity for more than 100 years, BC Hydro said.

Hydro-Quebec unveils charging network for electric vehicles

Hydro-Quebec and its partners--les Rotisseries St-Hubert, METRO and the Agence metropolitaine de transport announced the creation of “The Electric Circuit,” Canada’s first public charging network for plug-in electric vehicles.

Supplied with clean, renewable energy, the first charging stations will be operational in early 2012 at the founding partners’ business sites and at several AMT park-and-ride facilities.

Initially, The Electric Circuit will consist of about 100 240 V charging stations. Quick-charge (400 V) stations will be rolled out in 2012.

“We are proud to be able to count on partners of this caliber whose banners can be seen at over 900 locations in Quebec,” said Hydro-Quebec CEO Thierry Vandal.

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