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Quebec eyes potential for medium-sized hydro totaling 5,000 MW

The Montreal Economic Institute reports Quebec could develop medium-sized hydroelectric projects that would provide a capacity of 5,000 MW and generate several million dollars worth of private investment.

MEI, an independent non-profit research and education organization, issued an Economic Note, saying that while giant hydro projects have been pursued by Hydro-Quebec and small hydro has been developed by the private sector, the medium-scale niche of projects from 50 to 125 MW has been neglected.

In May, the government of Quebec launched Plan Nord, a multi-billion-dollar program to open northern reaches of the Canadian province to mining and energy development, including an estimated 2,000 MW of hydropower.

The note said there are about 50 potential medium-sized hydro sites that could provide a capacity of 3,000 to 5,000 MW. However, it said the development of the promising multi-purpose sites is constantly being postponed.

The note said Hydro-Quebec concentrates on large projects that are more economical per kWh produced, even though medium-sized projects would be sufficiently profitable. It noted the big utility’s mission is production, transportation, and distribution of electricity, not considering the real estate, tourism, and recreational benefits stemming from the smaller projects.

Canada, B.C. agree to assess 1,100-MW Peace River Site C

The Canada and British Columbia governments have initiated a joint environmental assessment of the 1,100-MW Peace River Site C hydroelectric project in British Columbia.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office issued a draft agreement creating a joint environmental review panel process. Province-owned utility BC Hydro submitted a project description report to the agencies in May.

Under the process, BC Hydro is to identify and assess potential environmental, economic, social, cultural, and health effects, and opportunities to provide benefits to the region and the First Nations. Where effects cannot be avoided, the utility is to identify and evaluate mitigation options.

The estimated C$8billion (US.8 billion) project is expected to produce electricity at a cost of C$87 to C$95 (US$85 to US$92.75) per megawatt-hour. It would create up to 35,000 direct and indirect jobs through all stages of development and construction.

Canadian developer advances McLymont, Volcano projects

Energy developer AltaGas Ltd. and the Tahltan Central Council have signed agreements to advance construction of the 66-MW McLymont Creek and 16-MW Volcano Creek hydro projects in the Tahltan Nation’s territory in British Columbia.

AltaGas Chairman David Cornhill said the impact benefit agreements establish a formal partnership with the Tahltan Nation to develop the projects in collaboration.

“We look forward to strengthening our relationship with AltaGas as we work together in the development of these projects, ensuring our nation, people, and businesses receive financial benefits, including revenue sharing, jobs, and contract opportunities, while also minimizing the environmental impacts and protecting our culture and way of life,” Tahltan Central Council President Annita McPhee said.

Sprott Power sells hydropower assets

Sprott Power Corp. agreed to sell its partnership interests in several hydropower projects in northwestern British Columbia to its partner, Anyox Hydro Electric Corp.

The C$4.8 million sale includes the 30-MW Anyox Creek Hydroelectric Project and other nearby hydro assets. The deal was scheduled to close Sept. 30

“Our existing partner was in the best position to successfully develop these assets,” said Jeff Jenner, president and chief executive officer of Sprott Power. “The cash provided from this sale will be utilized to expand our project portfolio, as we continue to purchase renewable energy development and operational assets in North America.”

Jeff Wolrige, president of Anyox Hydro, said the company is “very excited about owning these hydro projects, particularly with the anticipated demand for power as a result of the significant precious mateals mining renaissance in the immediate project area.”

Sprott Power is a developer, owner and operator of renewable energy.

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