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BC Hydro submits impact statement for Site C project

BC Hydro submitted an environmental impact statement in January for its proposed 1,100-MW Site C project to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office.

The statement includes justifications for the US.8 billion project, potential effects, and proposed measures to avoid or mitigate those effects, BC Hydro said.

The Site C Project, to be located on the Peace River in British Columbia's northeast, will now be subject to a review process, including reviews by the government-led Advisory Working Group and an independent Joint Review Panel. This phase of the review also includes time for public hearings, input from Canada's aboriginal groups, and other organizations and agencies.

OWA offers guide to advance environmental protection

The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) has completed a best practices guide to assist hydro project developers in mitigating environmental impact issues during development.

The resource covers 38 best practices categorized by activity, including civil construction, vegetation management and in-water work. Prepared by GENIVAR, National Resource Solutions, and other industry experts, the resource was designed to assist developers and environmental planners by equipping them with best practices to ensure minimal environmental impact, OWA says.

"Its use will provide a solid basis for environmentally responsible projects and continuous improvement," says OWA President Paul Norris.

The "Best Management Practices Guide for the Mitigation of Impacts of Waterpower Facility Construction" is part of OWA's Best Practices series, alongside similar resources aimed toward fish protection, specifically lake sturgeon, American eel and channel darter.

Ontario has an installed hydro capacity of about 8,127 MW, with an additional 3,000 MW of untapped development potential.

The guide is available for purchase at http://owa.ca/waterpower-information/waterpower.

OWA represents the interests of the province's hydropower sector through responsible resource management and sustainable development.

Canada's 824-MW Muskrat Falls gets official approval

The controversial 824-MW Muskrat Falls project received approval from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale in December 2012.

A guaranteed federal loan of up to US$6.3 billion recently announced by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will lower borrowing costs for the US.4 billion hydropower project, although Newfoundland and Labrador will have to make other arrangements for the US$1.1 billion difference.

A term sheet guarantees up to US$6.3 billion in debt over 35 to 40 years for financing of the project. The guarantee will be managed by Natural Resources Canada. The government will act as advisor to ensure that "the support provided to the projects is financially responsible to Canadian taxpayers."

Already, Nalcor said it has spent about $322 million on preliminary engineering and construction work at the site, which is set to increase immediately.

The Muskrat Falls plant is part of the Lower Churchill project, which could also eventually include the 2,250-MW Gull Island plant. Both would be located on the Churchill River in Labrador.

Officials said the first of Muskrat Falls' generating units could be producing power in 2017.

Correction

In the October 2012 issue of Hydro Review, Bethany Duarte reported in the cover story "Industry Snapshot: Development and Regeneration in Canada" that power generated by the 824-MW Muskrat Falls hydroelectric plant would be transmitted to the coast of Newfoundland. The high voltage line will actually connect power to the Island of Newfoundland, as opposed to the coast, which is a separate region.

Also, a formal agreement on the project was formed between Nalcor Energy and Emera Inc., as opposed to between Labrador and Nova Scotia.

Subsequent to publication of the article, additional details were made available. They are as follows. For 20% of the project cost, Emera Inc. will purchase 20% of the power for use in Nova Scotia. Newfoundland and Labrador will have transmission rights to move surplus power to markets for export. Transmission access on the Maritime Link is provided to Nalcor Energy at no additional cost to Nalcor. An additional 40% may be exported by Nalcor Energy into Atlantic Canadian and New England markets or retained for the company's use as needed.

New employment and economic numbers were released shortly after publication of the article. The new numbers are as follows: In the Atlantic Canadian region, employment is expected to be 26,600 person-years over the life of the project. The average annual income is to be $370 million, with $2.2 billion in total income.


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