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Alstom wins contract for work at Robert-Bourassa hydro plant

Hydro-Quebec has awarded Alstom a contract worth about US$64 million to modernize the 5,616-MW Robert-Bourassa facility.

The plant, located on northern Quebec's La Grande River, consists of 16 units. The facility is coupled with the 2,100-MW La Grande 2-A generating station as the second part of Hydro-Quebec's James Bay project. Following Robert-Bourassa's refurbishment, the hydro plants will account for more than 20% of Hydro-Quebec's installed capacity.

Under terms of the contract, Alstom will design, manufacture and deliver four new 333-MW Francis turbine runners for Units 1-4 at the plant. The company will also refurbish and modernize two turbine-generator groups.

The contract also includes an option for the supply of four more runners for Units 4-8 and the refurbishment and modernization of six more turbine-generator units. Commissioning of the first upgraded unit is scheduled for fall 2013.

Niagara tunnel project reaches milestone

Construction of the Niagara Tunnel Project reached a significant milestone in January 2012, at which time half of the tunnel was fully lined with concrete, Ontario Power Generation announces.

When complete, the tunnel will allow waters from the Niagara River to flow 10.2 km to the 2,000-MW Sir Adam Beck hydro facility, increasing its output by about 1,600 GWh. The tunnel is as tall as a four-story building and will propel water at a rate of 500 cubic meters per second.

"The Niagara Tunnel Project is an example of how the province is transforming Ontario's electricity system and investing in the clean energy economy," says Canadian Minister of Energy Chris Bently.

Digging of the tunnel itself was finished in May 2011 and was accomplished using the world's largest hard rock boring machine, according to an OPG release.

The entire tunnel project is expected to be complete in 2013 at a cost of US$1.42 billion.

Partnership to facilitate construction of Keeyask station

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a 15-year, 250-MW power purchase agreement in January 2012 with Canadian provincial utility Manitoba Hydro.

Manitoba Hydro produces most of its power from hydroelectric stations, and this agreement facilitates construction of the 695-MW Keeyask Generating Station, which is being developed through a partnership with the Keeyask Cree Nations. Manitoba Hydro reached a similar deal with Wisconsin Public Service in May 2011 in which the Candadian utility will provide 100 MW annually from 2012 to 2027.

Manitoba Hydro's agreement with Minnesota Power will begin in 2020. In the meantime, the two companies are evaluating power transmission options, as the agreement will require additional new transmission capacity between Manitoba and the U.S.

Under the agreement, Minnesota Power will also have the ability to store excess wind energy, generated in North Dakota, in Manitoba Hydro's hydroelectric system, thus maximizing the value of the wind resource. Minnesota Power purchases, operates and is developing wind energy centers that will represent more than 400 MW of capacity by the end of 2012.

Kokish River project receives environmental stamp of approval

British Columbia's US$192 million, 45-MW Kokish River hydroelectric project has been awarded an environmental assessment certificate. Kwagis Power Limited Partnership - a joint effort between Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. and 'Namgis First Nation - is spearheading the hydropower project that will be located 9 miles east of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island.

The group first pitched the hydro facility in 2009 as part of BC Hydro's "Clean Power Call" initiative.

Once completed, the project will include a 500-meter-long transmission line that will deliver power to the BC Hydro grid as part of an electricity purchase agreement that stipulates Kwagis Power Limited Partnership must deliver power by April 2014.

Conditions of the environmental assessment certificate stipulate that the company must adhere to a number of requirements throughout the design, construction and implementation of the Kokish River project.

Key requirements include:

The project is expected to take two years to complete, but Kwagis Power Limited Partnership must still obtain necessary provincial and regulatory approval before construction can begin.

 

Yukon project completed ahead of schedule

Yukon Energy Corporation's Mayo B project in Canada's central Yukon began producing power in late 2011, four months ahead of schedule.

The Mayo B hydro project involved a more than $120 million expansion of facilities on the Mayo River. The project involved construction of a two-unit powerhouse, supplied by a canal and penstock, near the existing 5-MW Mayo project.

Yukon Energy undertook the project to support the province's growing demand for electricity by enhancing existing hydro infrastructure to increase the power generated at the site.

Equipment supplier ABB provided two 5-MW Francis hydro units installed in a new powerhouse, as well as generators, excitation systems, governor and hydraulic power units and other mechanical and electrical auxiliaries. ABB executed the project as part of a strategic alliance with Chongqing Yunhe Hydropower Group, which provided the turbines and generators.

The project was financed in part by Canada's Green Infrastructure Fund, part of Canada's Economic Plan to create jobs, boost the economy through infrastructure investments, promote long-term growth and improve the environment.

Mayo B is expected to reduce Yukon's reliance on diesel generation by more than 40% by 2012.

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