Canadian News

Canada panel to review proposal for 100-MW Dunvegan

Canada and Alberta officials appointed a joint federal-provincial panel to review environmental effects of the 100-MW Dunvegan hydro project proposed for the Peace River in Alberta.

Canada Environment Minister John Baird and the government of Alberta appointed the panel’s three members. Vern Hartwell, chairman of Alberta’s Natural Resources Conservation Board, is the chairman. George Kupfer is a consultant who focuses on community consultation and facilitation involving social and environment issues. Doug Larder is general counsel and executive director of the Alberta Utilities Commission’s Law Division.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Alberta Natural Resources Conservation Board, and Alberta Utilities Commission reached agreement earlier in 2008 on the process for the joint panel review.

Glacier Power Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, proposes to build and operate Dunvegan. The project would include a powerhouse featuring 40 turbine-generators of 2.5 MW each. Power would be transmitted by a new 144-kilovolt transmission line.

Dunvegan has been on the drawing board for many years. In 2003, the Energy and Utilities Board denied Canadian Hydro’s application for an 80-MW project, citing uncertain effects on fish and a risk of flooding in the town of Peace River. Canadian Hydro later reapplied, providing new evidence on ice modeling, mitigation, and fish studies.

If the project advances, construction would begin in spring 2009, followed by commercial operations in 2011.

Miner files seven small hydro applications

Skyline Gold Corp. said it filed seven applications for water licenses to advance proposed hydroelectric projects totaling more than 72 MW, all in northwestern British Columbia.

Skyline said it filed applications for 8.6-MW Bronson Creek, 9.2-MW Canyon Creek, 3.1-MW Fewright Creek, 8.4-MW Ketchum, 3.7-MW King Creek, 19.8-MW Snippaker Creek, and 19.5-MW Sulphurets Creek.

Skyline, a company engaged in exploring and developing its Bronson Slope gold-copper mining property, said the B.C. government determined the company’s water license applications are sufficient. Formal acceptance of the applications is the first step in a review process leading to potential approval.

In the next step, stakeholders can review and comment on the applications, the company said.

The projects annually would be expected to generate 311 gigawatt-hours (GWh), which would be used to power Bronson Slope mining operations. Excess electricity above the 170 GWh needed for mining would be sold. Skyline said the need for year-round power generation would require winter water storage at some of the projects.

Skyline said it engaged consulting engineers to collect hydrological data to optimize plant capacity and design parameters.

Proposed plants would be linked by a 60-kilometer, 25- to 60-kilovolt line that could connect with the Alaska power grid at the Alaska border or the 195-MW Forrest Kerr hydro project in B.C.

Canada developer registers projects in B.C. solicitation

ENMAX Energy Corp. registered three run-of-river hydropower projects in BC Hydro’s Clean Power Call, which seeks up to 5,000 gigawatt-hours annually of clean or renewable energy.

ENMAX Energy, a subsidiary of ENMAX Corp., identified the projects and probable generating capacities as: 12-MW Caribou Creek, near Burton in the British Columbia interior; 3.5-MW Centre Creek, near Chilliwack on the lower mainland; and 12- to 14-MW Phantom Lake, which could provide some storage capacity for ENMAX’s 22-MW Clowhom project in southwestern British Columbia.

BC Hydro awarded long-term energy purchase agreements for Clowhom in 2006. Construction of Clowhom’s two developments – 11-MW Upper Clowhom and 11-MW Lower Clowhom – began in February. Both powerhouses are to begin commercial operation in late 2009.

ENMAX is involved in two other B.C. hydropower projects through EnPower Green Energy Generation L.P., of which it owns 50 percent. The 5.8-MW Savona project began service in August near Kamloops. The 5.8-MW 150 Mile House project was scheduled for completion in September.

CHA announces plans for 2008 Forum on Hydropower

The Canadian Hydropower Association plans a two-day forum to discuss economic, social, and environmental aspects of hydro in Canada Nov. 4 and 5 in Ottawa.

“Hydropower: Past, Present, and Future” is the theme of the 2008 Forum on Hydropower. The two-day meeting will be held at the Fairmont Château Laurier.

Hydropower has been Canada’s leading source of electricity for 127 years, since 1881. Forum organizers said this year’s event will focus on ways to keep hydropower Canada’s leading source of electricity for the next 100 years and beyond.

Speakers will address issues that have been around since hydropower’s early days, such as transmission of electricity over large distances. They also will talk about new developments in fisheries and new projects such as Hydro-Québec’s 768-MW Eastmain 1A, now under construction.

Looking forward, CHA said the forum also will consider the financing of power stations and lifecycle analysis.

Program details, including the agenda for the forum, and online registration, are available on the association’s website:

TransAlta rejects proposed takeover bid by U.S. firms

TransAlta Corp. rejected a C$7.8 billion (US$7.75 billion) takeover proposal made by two U.S. private equity firms, LS Power Equity Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners.

TransAlta said its board of directors unanimously decided an offer of C$39 (US$38.76) a share was too low. The directors also determined that talking to LS Power Equity Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners was not in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.

The U.S.-based firms approached TransAlta with a non-binding proposal to acquire the company’s shares for C$39 each, a 21 percent premium over its closing price on July 18. The board said the deal undervalues the Canada-based international utility.

TransAlta owns power plants in Canada, the U.S., and Australia totaling about 8,000 MW; another 540 MW is under development. The company’s holdings include 13 hydropower plants in Canada ranging from 3 MW to 355 MW, all in Alberta: 13-MW Barrier; 17-MW Bearspaw; 120-MW Bighorn; 355-MW Brazeau; 36-MW Cascade; 51-MW Ghost; 14-MW Horseshoe; 5-MW Interlakes; 19-MW Kananaskis; 15-MW Pocaterra; 50-MW Rundle; 103-MW Spray; and 3-MW Three Sisters. TransAlta also owns two U.S. hydro plants: 1-MW Skookumchuck in Washington and 10-MW Wailuku in Hawaii.

Firm to buy NovaGreenPower, hydro assets

Energy infrastructure company AltaGas Ltd. agreed to buy Canadian hydropower project developer NovaGreenPower Inc. for up to C$40 million (US$38.2 million).

NovaGreenPower’s parent company, NovaGold Resources Inc., announced it reached a binding agreement to sell NovaGreenPower to AltaGas, based in Calgary, Alberta.

NovaGreenPower owns several run-of-river projects under development in northwest British Columbia, including 195-MW Forrest Kerr, on the Iskut River. It is pursuing development of three hydro projects in the same region with a total capacity of about 130 MW.

AltaGas said it would pay C$35 million (US$33.5 million) on closing, and C$5 million (US$4.8 million) subject to completion of conditions by Feb. 15, 2009. Canaccord Adams served as financial adviser to NovaGold, which acquired the NovaGreenPower hydro assets in 2006.

NovaGold said the sale is consistent with its strategy to realize the value of its non-core assets. It said it now plans to focus on advancing core mining projects Donklin Creek, Galore Creek, and Rock Creek.

NovaGold President Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse said AltaGas’ focus on rapidly advancing Forrest Kerr and the other hydro projects would facilitate development of transmission infrastructure. He said infrastructure would support future power requirements of NovaGold’s Galore Creek copper-gold-silver mine and the communities in northwestern B.C.

AltaGas retained the NovaGreenPower team, including Doug Brown, acting president of NovaGreenPower and vice president of business development for NovaGold, and Dan Woznow, vice president of operations for NovaGreenPower.

Canada awards incentives to Cypress Creek

Canada’s ecoEnergy for Renewable Power Program will make incentive payments to the owner of the newly constructed 2.8-MW Cypress Creek project in British Columbia.

The government said it would make incentive payments to Synex Energy Resources Ltd., the owner of the project on Vancouver Island near the community of Gold River. The plant was readied for commissioning in September, subject to water availability and a power purchase agreement.

The ecoEnergy for Renewable Power Program offers a financial incentive of 1 cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) produced from low-impact, renewable electricity projects for ten years after commissioning. Although the announcement did not identify the value of the incentive, Cypress Creek could generate about 11 million kWh annually.

At 1 cent per kWh, the incentive could total as much as C$1.1 million (US$1.09 million).

Payments are subject to conditions being met at the time of commissioning and during generation.

The government previously announced the ecoEnergy program would provide up to C$47 million (US$46.5 million) in incentive payments to another B.C. project, Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust’s 120-MW Brilliant Expansion.

EcoEnergy for Renewable Power is part of the ecoEnergy Renewable Initiative announced by Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January 2007. The renewable power program is to provide C$1.5 billion (US$1.4 billion) to increase Canada’s supply of clean electricity from renewable sources such as hydro, ocean energy, wind, biomass, geothermal, and solar photovoltaic projects.

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