B.C. grants environmental certificate for 166-MW Upper Toba Valley

Government officials in British Columbia have granted an environmental assessment certificate necessary for construction of a 166.3-MW Upper Toba Valley hydroelectric project.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources granted the certificate to Upper Toba Hydro Inc., a subsidiary of Plutonic Power Corp. The ministries issued the certificate after considering a review led by B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office.

Upper Toba Valley features three proposed run-of-river facilities about 150 kilometers north of Powell River, B.C.: 58.1-MW Upper Toba River, 66.2-MW Jimmie Creek, and 42-MW Dalgleish Creek. Plutonic previously identified plants and capacities totaling 120 MW. (HNN 12/1/08)

Granting of the certificate represents a successful conclusion to a comprehensive environmental assessment process that involved consultation with government agencies, public stakeholders, and the Klahoose First Nation, Plutonic said April 7.

The Upper Toba Valley project is expected to leverage existing infrastructure and use the same transmission line as that for the 196-MW East Toba River Montrose Creek project. (HNN 2/27/09) The 123-MW East Toba River and 73-MW Montrose Creek plants are under construction in the Toba Valley by Plutonic and its investment partner, GE Energy Financial Services.

Plutonic and GE offered the Upper Toba Valley project to BC Hydro’s 2008 Call for Power in November 2008. (HNN 12/4/08) Now that it has an environmental assessment certificate, Plutonic said it is prepared to work toward completing provincial and federal permits and authorizations required to move into the construction phase of the project.

The environmental assessment includes 52 commitments Plutonic must implement throughout various stages of the C$330 million (US$267 million) project. The company said key commitments include: maintaining sufficient in-stream flows to protect fish and fish habitat; avoiding breeding birds, nesting habitats, and winter habitat for mountain goats; developing a plan to monitor grizzly bears; and developing mitigation, compensation, and monitoring plans in consultation with regulatory agencies.

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