BC Hydro begins work on 24-MW Aberfeldie redevelopment

The British Columbia Utilities Commission has granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity to BC Hydro, the final permit necessary for the utility to begin redevelopment of the Aberfeldie hydroelectric station on the Bull River east of Cranbrook.

Plans for the C$86 million (US$73 million) redevelopment call for a 24-MW powerhouse to be built next to a 5-MW powerhouse targeted for removal. The project also includes a new surge tower and switchyard, a new penstock, and improvements to a water intake, dam, and access road.

Site preparation is in progress. Construction activity increased with the approval of the utilities commission, which issued the permit in February, the utility said.

BC Hydro awarded a C$32 million (US$27.2 million) contract for civil work to Western Versatile Construction Corp. in February. Western Versatile, in turn, sub-contracted with several local companies for work such as blasting, dredging, and environmental monitoring. BC Hydro said it also hired contract administration staff and reached an agreement with First Nations to support the project.

Contractors previously named include VA Tech Hydro Canada Inc., which is to supply and install turbines, generators, and related equipment under a C$14 million (US$11.9 million) agreement. Knight Piesold Ltd. was awarded a contract in April 2005 to provide detailed engineering design.

Aberfeldie ceased operation in October 2006 in preparation for redevelopment. The redeveloped project is expected to be fully operational by fall 2008. The Aberfeldie redevelopment will help fill a growing gap in supply of electricity in British Columbia, BC Hydro said. The redevelopment is expected to generate enough energy to supply 10,500 residential customers.

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