Canada developer proposes 914-MW, 18-powerhouse Bute Inlet

Plutonic Power Corp. has submitted environmental documents to British Columbia for 18 run-of-river hydroelectric plants, in three interconnected groups, under the banner of a single project, 914-MW Bute Inlet.

Plutonic said April 21 it submitted the project into the environmental assessment process. British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office issued an order binding the project to the Environmental Assessment Act.

Eight plants are to be built in or near the Homathko River system, seven in the Southgate River system, and three in the Orford River system. The powerhouses could generate 3,000 GWh annually and offset about 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, Plutonic said.

The developer identified the 18 powerhouses as: 27-MW Coola Creek, 58-MW Scar Creek, 68-MW Whitemantle Creek, 81-MW Brew Creek, 96-MW Jewakwa River (HNN 7/10/07) , 47-MW Heakamie River, 28-MW Gargoyle Creek (HNN 8/15/07), 56-MW Elliot Creek, 34-MW Elliot Neighbour Creek, 56-MW Icewall Creek, 39-MW Raleigh Creek, 131-MW Southgate River 1, 38-MW Southgate River 2, 39-MW Southgate River 3, 35-MW East Orford River, 22-MW North Orford River, 21-MW Algard Creek (HNN 5/30/07), and 38-MW Bear Creek.

As proposed, each group of plants would be interconnected with a 230-kilovolt transmission line to a substation near the mouth of the Southgate River. From the substation, electricity would be transported over a 360-kV transmission line to one or two points of interconnection to British Columbia’s electricity grid. Plutonic said the preferred transmission route has not been selected.

Subject to permitting and feasibility studies, Plutonic said it intends to submit the Bute Inlet project into BC Hydro’s upcoming call for “clean” power. (HNN 4/15/08) Plutonic said it expects to submit its formal application to British Columbia’s Environmental Assessment Office in 2009, and to complete its permitting process for the project in 2010.

Project documents are available in the Project Information Center on the EAO Internet site, www.eao.gov.bc.ca. A table listing individual facilities, various capabilities, and features is on the Internet under http://a100.gov.bc.ca/appsdata/epic/documents/p316/d26090/1208451926328_8e248a8d30d91097c1c0405042a49e47f095e188457e.pdf.

In a separate announcement, Plutonic announced its board of directors approved a budget of C$25 million (US$24.8 million) for 2008 to continue engineering, hydrological, and permitting studies for its development projects in the Toba and Bute Inlet areas. The company said permitting and feasibility study work is needed to prepare for BC Hydro’s call for power. Plutonic indicated it could submit a portfolio of as much as 1,100 MW into that process.

In March, Plutonic announced the B.C. government accepted applications for licenses and land rights to develop 11 run-of-river projects totaling 305 MW. (HNN 4/2/08)

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