Alcan plans US$130 million turbine project at Quebec’s 896-MW Shipshaw

Alcan Inc. announced it is beginning engineering work to install a 225-MW high-efficiency turbine at its 896-MW Shipshaw hydroelectric project on the Saguenay River near Arvida, Quebec.

The new turbine eventually is to replace older, less-efficient equipment, the company said April 26. The turbine replacement project represents an investment of about US$130 million. It is part of a planned ten-year US$1.8 billion investment in the aluminum company’s facilities in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Region announced in December 2006.

In keeping with a strategy for profitable growth, plans for the new turbine leverage Alcan’s strong power position, Alcan Primary Metal Group President Michel Jacques said.

Jacques said the turbine would allow the company to use its existing water resources more efficiently and to supply additional backup peaking capacity to Hydro-Quebec, as agreed to in a December 2006 commitment with the Quebec government.

The first step of the project, representing about US$13 million, calls for technical studies and preliminary engineering required for the construction. Once the first phase is complete, construction should begin in the first quarter of 2009. The new turbine should be put in service in the first quarter of 2013.

Shipshaw houses 12 turbines. It was finished in December 1943. At that time, Shipshaw was the largest hydroelectric installation in the world under one roof, according to an engineering company involved in the original project.

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