Three groups have agreed to submit design-build proposals for construction of the 435-MW Waneta Expansion hydroelectric project on the Pend d’Oreille River in British Columbia’s West Kootenay Region.
Waneta Expansion Power Corp., a venture of Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust, announced Sept. 23 that the companies contractually committed to submit proposals.
The prospective bidders include: Peter Kiewit Sons Co., Edmonton, Alberta; SNC-Lavalin Inc., Vancouver, B.C.; and Bilfinger Bergerï¿½North America Construction Joint Venture, a Vancouver-based joint venture of Bilfinger Berger (Canada) Inc. and North America Construction (1993) Ltd.
Waneta Expansion Power Corp. issued a request for proposals to interested parties in May, following an earlier call for expressions of interest. Design-build proposals will be due in spring 2009; a specific date was not set. Although the RFP period remains open, Columbia Power Corp. spokesman Audrey Repin said no other parties are expected to submit proposals.
Waneta Expansion Power Corp.’s own studies determined the project is economically feasible. However, the corporation said it would reassess project viability after evaluating proposals. If it makes a determination to proceed, construction could begin as early as summer 2009 and be completed in 2012.
Waneta Expansion involves the design and construction of a second powerhouse at the existing 400-MW Waneta Dam, owned by Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., south of Trail, B.C. Waneta Expansion would share the dam’s hydraulic head and make use of flows that otherwise would be spilled. The C$400 million (US$387 million) project would reduce the amount of water spilled at Waneta Dam, reducing total dissolved gas downstream and improving Columbia River water quality.
Canada’s environment minister determined in May that Waneta Expansion is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, paving the way for release of the RFP. (HNN 5/5/08) It cleared British Columbia’s environmental assessment process in 2007.
Columbia Basin Trust President Neil Muth said Waneta Expansion would create about 600 person-years of direct employment during the four-year construction. Economic spinoffs include about C$90 million (US$87 million) in direct employment income and local procurement.