Canadian News

Minister calls hydropower vital clean energy source

Québec’s natural resources minister said hydropower is vital to his province and to Canada as a clean energy source, providing energy security and economic development to Canadians.

Québec Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife Claude Bechard told the Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) that Québec intends to continue to be a North American leader in hydropower. He added the province would work in partnership with its neighbors in Canada and the U.S.

Bechard made his comments in an address to hydro industry leaders from across the nation attending CHA’s Forum on Hydropower 2007 in Ottawa, Ontario.

The minister called for collaboration among energy producers across Canada to pursue common objectives of hydropower development, transmission interconnection improvements, and advancement of open access to transmission to allow more efficient exchange of electricity in Canada and the U.S.

“The citizens of Québec support the development of their hydroelectric resources because they wish that their energy security be assured,” Bechard said. “They also wish that this development will create significant economic repercussions in the area, and since the needs of Québec are satisfied, that energy supply is exported in order to create wealth for Québec. This is why we created a portfolio of great hydroelectric projects.”

Bechard said hydropower development in Québec implies investments of $25 billion while creating 70,000 person-years of employment over ten years.

CHA sees resurgence of projects across Canada

CHA emphasized that growing concerns for air quality and climate change have brought a resurgence of new projects.

“With already over 70,000 MW of clean, renewable hydropower capacity, Canada is blessed with huge undeveloped potential: Over 163,000 MW of technical potential available across all provinces and territories, whether storage or run-of-river or new technologies such as wave and tidal,” CHA President Pierre Fortin said.

CHA Board Chairman Colin Clark told the gathering that the theme of collaboration extends to local communities affected by hydropower development.

“The hydropower industry is committed to engaging local and aboriginal communities in the planning and development of hydropower projects, and to working closely with those communities in fostering the advancement of sustainable hydropower in Canada,” said Clark, executive vice president of hydro operator Brookfield Power.

More than 120 individuals participated in the forum, where they shared experiences in community consultation and partnerships, hydropower and climate change, new tidal energy technologies, and development in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Ontario could add about 3,000 MW of hydro by 2025

Ontario Power Authority proposes a 20-year plan that would more than double the amount of renewable energy on Ontario’s grid by 2025, including nearly 3,000 MW of new hydropower.

The plan anticipates hydropower will contribute more renewable resource capacity by 2025 than wind power – 10,771 MW vs. 4,685 MW. However, it said, new hydro generation – mostly originating in northern Ontario – likely would come on line later because of the need for transmission investments. The 2025 renewables target totals 6,411 MW, including hydroelectric resources totaling 2,921 MW. Wind and bioenergy make up the remainder.

The plan includes a list of the most attractive renewable facilities and geographic areas. Facilities are to be developed in order of transmission availability.

The report lists hydro potential totaling 6,979 MW, including 1,194 MW from 81 sites where no policy constraints exist, and 5,786 MW of additional potential from sites where policy constraints do exist. Constraints generally involve parks and other protected areas.

Only $15.4 billion of the plan’s $60 billion in capital costs is for renewables. Much of the plan is aimed at conservation initiatives, natural gas distributed generation, nuclear generation, and required transmission capacity.

The Ontario Energy Board is evaluating the plan. Ontario is working toward a target of 10,402 MW from renewables for 2010, increasing the installed capacity of new renewable energy resources by 2,700 MW from the 2003 base.

Newfoundland energy plan includes new hydro

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s new energy plan calls for the province to invest revenues from non-renewable resources into developing a renewable resource economy powered by hydro, wind, and other renewables.

The plan also looks to 2041, the year a power purchase contract with Québec expires, allowing Newfoundland to take full advantage of the 5,428-MW Churchill Falls project on its territory in mainland Labrador. While the project has generated estimated net revenue of C$20 billion to the end of 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador has received only $1 billion, the plan pointed out.

The plan addresses the government’s proposed development of the 2,824-MW Lower Churchill Power project, which includes 2,000-MW Gull Island and 824-MW Muskrat Falls. Once the Lower Churchill project begins producing power and a transmission link is completed between Labrador and the island of Newfoundland, 98 percent of Newfoundland and Labrador’s energy will be generated from renewables.

Officers, directors guide Canadian hydro association

The Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) has two new officers. Gilles Favreau, Hydro-Québec, is vice chairman and A. Zac Erzinclioglu, Hatch Energy, is treasurer.

They join three other officers serving the second year of their two-year terms: Colin Clark, Brookfield Power, chairman; Eduard Wojczynski, Manitoba Hydro, vice chairman; and Mary Hemmingsen, BC Hydro, secretary.

In addition, CHA’s leadership consists of nine board members:

    – Francois Berthiaume, Alstom Hydro Canada Inc.;
    – Barry Chuddy, Columbia Power Corp.;
    – Pierre Cossette, Alcan;
    – Paul Dufresne, SNC-Lavalin;
    – John Evans, Fortis Inc.;
    – James Haynes, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro;
    – Keith Pomeroy, VA Tech Hydro Canada Inc.;
    – John Tammadge, Ontario Power Generation; and
    – Denys Turcotte, Voith Siemens Hydro Power Generation Inc.

Pierre Fortin is CHA’s president.

Founded in 1998, CHA is a national association representing the interests of Canada’s hydropower industry. CHA members represent more than 95 percent of Canada’s hydropower capacity.

B.C. plants win approval; VA Tech Hydro to equip

Natural Resources Canada (NRC) granted environmental approval for development of six power plants in Cloudworks Energy Inc.’s Harrison Hydro project near Harrison Lake in British Columbia.

The federal environmental agency declared the project, totaling 151.8 MW, is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. However, the agency requires Cloudworks to carry out mitigation measures to address birds, fish, air and water quality, surface and bedrock features, vegetation, and noise.

Cloudworks Energy Inc. obtained environmental approval to develop six hydropower plants near Harrison Lake in British Columbia. Click here to enlarge image

For its review, the NRC’s Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency divided the six run-of-river plants into two groups according to location:

    – Lower Lillooet project: 27.6-MW Douglas Creek, 25-MW Fire Creek, and 21-MW Stokke Creek; and
    – Upper Harrison project: 16.7-MW Tipella Creek, 33.5-MW Upper Stave River, and 28-MW Lamont Creek.

NRC said Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Transport Canada previously ruled the projects were not likely to have significant environmental effects. Working in parallel with the federal agencies, British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office also issued environmental certificates approving the plants.

Cloudworks said preliminary work began in February 2007 on a construction camp for the six plants. The developer expects construction to be complete in November 2010.

All six plants are to deliver power through a new substation at the north end of Harrison Lake, which will connect with a 360-kV transmission line of BC Hydro. BC Hydro awarded power purchase contracts in July 2006 to Douglas Creek, Fire Creek, Stokke Creek, and Tipella Creek, grouped under the name Kwalsa Energy LP; and to Upper Stave River and Lamont Creek, grouped under the name Upper Stave Energy LP.

Two other powerhouses once mentioned in connection with Harrison Lake – 18-MW Northwest Stave River and 6-MW Upper Fire Creek – are licensed and permitted but are not currently being built as part of Harrison Hydro.

Andritz VA Tech Hydro to supply turbine-generators

Andritz VA Tech Hydro announced it received a $50 million order from contractor Peter Kiewit Sons Co. to supply a total of 14 turbine-generators to the six Harrison Hydro plants.

Eight of the 14 units will be identical six-jet Pelton turbines with a maximum output of 13 MW, plus inlet valves, generators, and digital speed governors, for the Douglas Creek, Fire Creek, Stokke Creek, and Tipella Creek plants.

The six other units are:

    – Two vertical five-jet Peltons of 15 MW each for Lamont Creek;
    – Three 12-MW horizontal Francis turbines for Upper Stave River; and
    – One horizontal Francis turbine of 5 MW for Upper Stave River.

For these six units, VA Tech also will supply inlet valves, generators, and digital speed governors.

To help fill the order and to serve the fast pace of hydro development in British Columbia, Andritz VA Tech Hydro said it would open a new branch office in the Vancouver area.

Hong Kong firm acquires stake in TransAlta affiliate

Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd. announced the successful completion of a share offer to acquire Canada’s TransAlta Power L.P. in an all-cash deal worth about C$629 million (US$622 million), excluding debt.

In what was described as a friendly acquisition, Cheung Kong said Dec. 5, 2007, that it acquired 85.1 percent of the outstanding shares of TransAlta Power L.P., paving the way to completion of the takeover.

TransAlta Power L.P., an affiliate of TransAlta Corp., owns 49.9 percent of TransAlta Cogeneration L.P., owner of five cogeneration facilities and a coal-fired project totaling 1,362 MW. TransAlta Corp. will retain 50.01 percent of TransAlta Cogeneration L.P. and remains its managing partner.

TransAlta Corp. owns 50 power plants in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, and Australia, including 13 hydro plants in Alberta and two in the U.S. None of the hydro projects is involved in the Cheung Kong transaction, as had been implied in “Hydro Currents,” November 2007, Hydro Review.

Developer Kleana Power proposes 700-MW B.C. project

Kleana Power Corp. proposes to develop a 700-MW run-of-river project on the Klinaklini River in British Columbia.

The Klinaklini River project would have an average generating capacity of 280 MW but would be capable of increasing its capacity during high flow conditions to 700 MW. A proposed transmission line would tie the project, about 170 kilometers northeast of Campbell River, to the electricity grid.

The project is subject to review under the province’s Environmental Assessment Act. Kleana Power, of Vancouver, retained Triton Environmental Consultants Ltd. to manage and conduct environmental studies and assessment of the project. Triton, of Richmond, B.C., prepared draft terms of reference that identify information the developer must include in an application for an environmental assessment certificate.

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