BC Hydro to seek renewables for Queen Charlotte Islands

BC Hydro said renewable energy projects, including hydropower, will be considered in a solicitation for viable, cost-effective, and reliable electricity supply for the Queen Charlotte Islands, in western British Columbia.

BC Hydro plans an information session on the proposed solicitation Dec. 9 in Queen Charlotte City, B.C. The utility has released draft solicitation documents and seeks comments by Jan. 8, 2009, from the Haida Nation and stakeholders.

The Queen Charlotte Islands, also known as Haida Gwaii, are not connected to BC Hydro’s integrated system. BC Hydro’s diesel generating system in Masset provides power to the islands’ northern grid, and a hydroelectric plant owned by EPCOR generates power to the southern grid. A diesel station in Sandspit generates back-up power.

BC Hydro said diesel displacement, where it can be done economically, is a key objective for BC Hydro’s non-integrated areas.

Projects must qualify as clean or renewable, as defined by the province’s Clean Energy guidelines. Those guidelines include hydro energy, which it defines as electricity generated from a system or technology that converts either the potential or kinetic energy of water. Tidal and wave energy are among other renewables.

Supply options may include non-firm energy, firm energy with associated non-firm energy, or capacity and associated firm energy to supply a peak load of up to 5.5 MW on the north grid and 6 MW on the south grid. BC Hydro said it will consider alternate solutions, including the use of innovative technology, interconnection of the north and south grids, and associated value-added product attributes contributing to an on-island solution.

The draft documents and information on registration for the information session are available from BC Hydro’s Internet site, www.bchydro.com. The utility has established a website for the solicitation, under its Planning and Regulatory link: www.bchydro.com/planning_regulatory/acquiring_power/Haida_Gwaii_Queen_Charlotte_Islands_RFP.html.

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