Canadian News

BC Hydro launches program to buy power, including hydro

BC Hydro formally launched its Standing Offer Program for clean or renewable electricity sources, inviting power projects of up to 10 MW, including hydropower, to sell to BC Hydro at a fixed price and with standard contract terms and conditions.

“The Standing Offer Program will help the province achieve two important goals of the BC Energy Plan: becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016 and generating 90 percent of electricity in the province from clean or renewable sources,” Richard Neufeld, British Columbia’s minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, said.

The province-owned utility released draft terms and conditions of the program in June 2007, in support of British Columbia’s Energy Plan. The offer was formally issued in April 2008 following B.C. Utilities Commission approval.

To be eligible, projects must generate clean or renewable energy or use high-efficiency cogeneration. They must be located in British Columbia and use non-nuclear, proven technologies.

“Clean” and “renewable” are defined by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. A ministry spokesman said hydropower projects of 10 MW or less would qualify with no other restrictions. He said ocean power projects might qualify, unless BC Hydro does not consider them proven technologies.

The B.C. Energy Plan established three general design principles for the new program:

    – Simplify the process, contract terms, and conditions for small power projects;

    – Offer competitive pricing for the projects relative to other supply sources; and

    – Ensure cost-effectiveness, transparency, and fairness.

Ontario extends deadline for waterpower site applications

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) is extending its deadline for new applications and expressions of interest for waterpower site development. The new deadline is Dec. 10, 2008. The previous deadline was March 31.

MNR supports new hydropower generation by providing opportunities to develop sites on government-owned land where no dams exist, and by using existing government-owned dams for generation of electricity.

Announcements about the solicitation are available on the ministry’s Internet site,, under Energy and Waterpower. The site includes information on policy and procedure, hydropower opportunities on government land, and forms and documents.

Canada minister approves 435-MW Waneta Expansion

Canada’s environment minister approved the 435-MW Waneta Expansion Project proposed for the Pend d’Oreille River in British Columbia’s West Kootenay Region.

Environment Minister John Baird is responsible for determining whether to advance a project for action or refer it for further environmental assessment by a review panel or a mediator. Baird determined Waneta Expansion is unlikely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and sent the project to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada for action.

Canadian environmental agencies previously issued a report by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada that also found Waneta Expansion is unlikely to have significant adverse effects. The project cleared British Columbia’s environmental assessment process in 2007.

Waneta Expansion Power Corp., a venture of Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust, proposes building and operating the new power plant at an existing dam south of Trail, B.C. The new powerhouse would feature two Francis turbine-generators and a 10-kilometer transmission line connected to BC Hydro’s Selkirk substation.

The C$400 million (US$403 million) project would reduce the amount of water spilled at 400-MW Waneta Dam, owned by Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., reducing total dissolved gas downstream and improving Columbia River water quality.

Construction of Waneta Expansion is expected to begin in spring 2009. The project could go on line in 2012.

Developer to acquire stake in 18 projects exceeding 200 MW

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. said it would acquire two-thirds of a joint venture with Ledcor Power Group Ltd. to develop 18 run-of-river hydroelectric projects in British Columbia totaling more than 200 MW.

The projects, all of which have secured water licenses in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, would generate more than 1 million megawatt-hours annually. The companies did not disclose project names, waterways, or potential installed capacities.

Innergex said it would invest C$8 million (US$8.05 million) in the acquisition from cash on hand. It also is to issue 200,000 warrants to Ledcor, which will own a third of the joint venture. The acquisition price for the 18 projects is less than C$40,000 (US$40,250) per MW, the company said.

“This acquisition will consolidate our position in B.C. by adding over 200 MW to our existing portfolio of prospective projects, bringing the total to more than 1,800 MW,” Innergex President Michel Letellier said. “Pre-development studies, as well as technical assessments were conducted by Innergex’s development team, which confirmed the projects’ feasibility.”

Most of the 18 projects are in early stages of development, but Innergex said some are ready to be submitted to BC Hydro’s call for “clean” power and the utility’s Standing Offer Program.

Innergex said it would finalize details of the agreement with Ledcor and close the transaction, subject to customary conditions, including due diligence review.

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. is an independent developer and operator of renewable power generating facilities, focusing on hydroelectric and wind power projects. It also manages the Innergex Power Income Fund’s hydro facilities.

Canada province accepts applications for 11 projects

The government of British Columbia accepted applications for licenses and land rights to develop 11 run-of-river hydropower projects totaling 305 MW.

Plutonic Power Corp. said the Water Stewardship Division in B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and the Integrated Land Management Bureau in B.C.’s Ministry of Agriculture and Lands accepted the company’s applications.

Plutonic did not identify the projects by name, citing competitive concerns, but one company official said capacities ranged from 18 MW to 41 MW. As a group, the plants are expected to generate a total of about 972,000 megawatt-hours annually.

“While not all of these projects may become viable, identifying and adding these 11 new potential sites to our project portfolio is indicative of the abundance of clean energy potential we are blessed with in the region,” Plutonic Chief Executive Officer Donald McInnes said.

In addition to determining whether to grant the water licenses and land rights, the government must determine whether the projects are subject to the province’s environmental assessment process.

The 11 projects are among 40 Plutonic has proposed for a Green Power Corridor. The 40 projects include C$660 million (US$664 million) 123-MW East Toba River and 73-MW Montrose Creek, now under construction. The 40 projects total about 2,000 MW and could power 620,000 homes while offsetting 4 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, Plutonic said.

Manitoba-Wisconsin power sale tied to new hydro projects

Manitoba Hydro and Wisconsin Public Service Corp. announced an agreement in which the Canada utility will supply the U.S. utility 500 MW of hydropower. To meet the agreed-to amount of electricity, Manitoba Hydro says it will need to construct two new hydro projects on the Nelson River totaling 1,870 MW.

The utilities said they signed a term sheet to negotiate a contract for a 15-year purchase valued at more than US$2 billion (C$1.99 billion), beginning in 2018. The province-owned Manitoba Hydro already supplies 100 MW to Wisconsin Public Service, which serves 429,000 customers in northeastern and central Wisconsin.

The agreement, subject to regulatory approvals, requires construction of the US$3.5 billion (C$3.48 billion), 620-MW Keeyask (Gull) and US$5 billion (C$4.97 billion), 1,250-MW Conawapa hydroelectric projects on Nelson River in northern Manitoba, as well as the Bipole 3 transmission line, Manitoba Hydro said.

Manitoba Finance Minister Greg Selinger said the agreement is in line with the province’s plans to develop clean, renewable energy to its full potential to benefit Manitobans.

“We are moving forward with construction on the (200-MW) Wuskwatim Dam, working on a cooperative agreement with First Nations on Keeyask, and continuing development work on the Conawapa generating station,” Selinger said.

The new line and hydro projects also will be used to export 250 MW to U.S. utility Minnesota Power beginning in 2020 under an agreement signed earlier in 2008. Manitoba Hydro is to export carbon-free surplus electricity to Minnesota starting in 2008. The second stage of that deal is a 15-year purchase of 250 MW by Minnesota Power, starting about 2020.

Regulators review proposed 134-MW Crab/Europa project

Environmental regulators are reviewing Kitamaat Renewable Energy Corp.’s plan to develop the 134-MW Crab/Europa project on Crab River and Europa Creek in British Columbia.

British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office is reviewing the run-of-river project under the Environmental Assessment Act because the project is to exceed 50 MW.

The project would include two powerhouses, at sites 50 and 70 kilometers south of Kitimat. It would have an average generating capacity of 51.3 MW, and an ability to generate up to 134 MW during high-flow conditions.

Crab River would have a rated nameplate capacity of 32 MW and average generating capacity of 15.2 MW. Europa Creek would have a rated nameplate capacity of 102 MW and an average capacity of 36.1 MW. The project also would feature a 70-kilometer transmission line.

Kitamaat Renewable Energy’s majority partner is 728078 BC Ltd., a partnership between Haisla Nation and Alexander Eunall. Kitamaat Renewable Energy has retained Triton Environmental Consultants Ltd. to manage and conduct environmental studies for the project. Triton also is to prepare the application for an environmental assessment certificate.

Upper Pitt River developer undeterred by ruling

Northwest Cascade Power, a subsidiary of Run of River Power Inc., said the company would continue planning for its 180-MW Upper Pitt River project despite a government official’s decision to reject a proposal to adjust park boundaries.

British Columbia Environment Minister Barry Penner rejected the proposal, which would have adjusted park boundaries to accommodate transmission lines.

Penner decided not to recommend that the cabinet and B.C. Legislature approve the Northwest Cascade Power proposal to adjust boundaries of Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. Boundary changes require legislative approval.

Penner cited public opposition to the plan and concerns raised by his staff that the proposal did not meet strict environmental criteria. He said the proposal did not have sufficient support from the public, some First Nations, and local government.

Run of River President Jako Krushnisky said the minister’s announcement came as a surprise to the company and to the Katzie First Nation, which he said is a co-manager of the park, and on whose traditional territory the proposed project is located.

“The pre-emptive action by the minister before the process was allowed to complete this phase of progress has raised a number of questions about the government’s next steps,” Krushnisky said. “For our part, as we have done at every milestone in this long process, we are evaluating where we’re at, project planning is continuing, and we are considering our next steps going forward.”

Northwest Cascade Power originally announced plans to develop eight hydroelectric plants at seven sites totaling 120.7 MW. It later boosted the total proposed capacity to 161 MW, and then to 180 MW. It said the projects would require a capital investment of C$350 million to C$400 million (US$352 million to US$402.5 million). The plants would be constructed sequentially from 2009 to 2016.

The proposed projects and their capacities, as identified in the draft terms of reference, are: 38-MW Bucklin; 16-MW Steve; 29-MW Pinecone; 15-MW Homer; 30-MW Boise; 16-MW Shale; 20-MW Corbold; and 16-MW East Corbold. Corbold and East Corbold would share a powerhouse.

A ministry spokesman said the minister’s decision does not mean the project will not advance, only that it will not advance as proposed.

Engineering contract awarded for 151.8-MW Harrison Hydro

Contractor Peter Kiewit Sons Co. awarded a C$1.6 million (US$1.61 million) contract to Rutter Hinz Inc. for electrical engineering and for protection and control systems technology for the 151.8-MW Harrison Hydro complex northeast of Vancouver.

The project will consist of six remote powerhouses connected to a central interconnection substation at the north end of Harrison Lake, linking the project to an existing transmission line operated by BC Hydro. Commissioning of the substation is scheduled for spring 2009.

Rutter Hinz, Rutter’s controls and automation division, will design the main interconnection substation, and design and supply control and protection systems. It is to coordinate electrical engineering tasks with Kiewit and others. The company also will design and supply the video monitoring system used for remote monitoring of the generation facilities.

Kiewit is a contractor for project developer Cloudworks Energy Inc., Vancouver. Connor, Clark & Lunn Infrastructure Ltd. is an investor in the C$500 million (US$503 million) project. Harrison Hydro features powerhouses in two groups, all near Harrison Lake. The Lower Lillooet project group includes 27.6-MW Douglas Creek, 25-MW Fire Creek, and 21-MW Stokke Creek. The Upper Harrison project group consists of 16.7-MW Tipella Creek, 33.5-MW Upper Stave River, and 28-MW Lamont Creek. Preliminary work on hydro developments began in 2007. The projects are to be completed in November 2010.

Contractors named to equip four Canada projects of 50 MW

Contractors were named to supply equipment to four new hydroelectric projects in British Columbia totaling nearly 50 MW.

Clemina, Serpentine, Bone creeks

Canadian Projects Ltd., project manager and engineer for project owner Canadian Hydro Developers Inc., awarded contracts to Mavel a.s. for two Canadian Hydro Developers projects – 9.9-MW Clemina Creek and 9.6-MW Serpentine Creek.

Mavel, of the Czech Republic, said it would manufacture and supply vertical Pelton turbines for Clemina Creek and Serpentine Creek. The company also is to supply generators by Elprom ZEM of Bulgaria, hydraulic systems by Vortex of Québec, Canada, and valves by TB Hydro of Poland.

Canadian Projects also awarded a contract to Litostroj of Slovenia to supply turbine and generator equipment to another Canadian Hydro Developers project, 20-MW Bone Creek.

The Clemina, Serpentine, and Bone sites are north of the town of Blue River, about 270 kilometers north of Kamloops.

Canadian Hydro Developers said work would start with C$22 million (US$22.1 million) Clemina Creek and C$46 million (US$46.3 million) Bone Creek, followed by C$22 million (US$22.1 million) Serpentine Creek. The projects’ targeted completion date is spring 2010.

Upper Clowhom

Canadian Projects, of Calgary, Alberta, awarded another contract to Mavel for the 9.9-MW Upper Clowhom project, which is owned by Hydromax Energy Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., a division of ENMAX Corp.

Mavel will supply one vertical Pelton turbine with an inside runner diameter of 1,700 millimeters, a synchronous generator from Elprom ZEM, a hydraulic power unit by Vortex, and valves from TB Hydro.

The Upper Clowhom site is in southwest British Columbia, about 100 kilometers north of Vancouver. Commissioning is anticipated for mid-2009, Mavel said.

Mavel, a manufacturing and engineering company, said it would provide installation, testing, and commissioning supervision for the Clemina Creek, Serpentine Creek, and Upper Clowhom projects.

Voith Siemens conducts model tests for 768-MW Eastmain 1A

Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation conducted engineering and model tests as part of a contract to supply three turbine-generators for the 768-MW Eastmain 1A hydroelectric plant in northern Québec.

Societe d’Energie de la Baie James (SEBJ), a unit of Canadian utility Hydro-Québec, awarded the C$140 million (US$140.1 million) contract in October 2007. The contract calls for Voith Siemens to design, build, and install three 260-MW Francis units.

Voith Siemens began the work in November 2007 and said it expects to complete commissioning of the final unit in 2011.

Eastmain 1A is part of the larger Eastmain 1A/Rupert Diversion project, which features a second powerhouse, 138-MW La Sarcelle, and partial diversion of the Rupert River.

SEBJ awarded a C$130 million (US$130.1 million) contract to Alstom Hydro in 2007 to supply three 46-MW bulb turbine-generators and other equipment for La Sarcelle.

Innergex acquires ownership of five Québec projects

Innergex Power Income Fund reached agreement with TD Capital Group Ltd. to purchase IHI Hydro Inc., a TD Capital Group subsidiary that holds a 22.4 percent interest in five of the fund’s hydroelectric plants in Québec, for C$13.5 million (US$13.6 million).

The projects’ total capacity is 57.9 MW. Annually they generate a total of more than 308,000 megawatt-hours for sale to Hydro-Québec under long-term agreements.

The transaction will give the fund 100 percent ownership and control of the five facilities:

    – 24-MW Chutes-de-la-Chaudiere, on the Chaudiere River;

    – 8-MW Portneuf 1, 9.9-MW Portneuf 2, and 8-MW Portneuf 3, all on the Portneuf River; and

    – 8-MW Saint-Paulin, on the Riviere-du-Loup.

The income fund said it intended to finance the purchase of these five plants through bank debt.

MWH acquires Canada-based environmental consulting firm

MWH announces acquisition of Northern EnviroSearch Ltd., an environmental consultancy headquartered in Calgary, Alberta.

Northern EnviroSearch provides environmental project planning, management, and implementation services to energy, industrial, and other clients in Canada. Formed in 1998, Northern Enviro- Search has grown steadily over ten years in western Canada and in the Northwest Territories, MWH said. The 30-employee company has project offices in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Lloydminster, Alberta.

MWH says the acquisition enhances its strategy to build a stronger presence and to expand its service offerings in Canada. MWH already has offices in Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia.

MWH, an employee-owned firm with more than 7,000 employees worldwide, provides environmental engineering, strategic consulting, and construction services to the dam and hydroelectric, mining, and industrial sectors. MWH is headquartered in Broomfield, Colo.

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