Canada environmental panel endorses 100-MW Dunvegan

A Canadian environmental panel has concluded the 100-MW Dunvegan hydroelectric project on Alberta’s Peace River is in the public interest and unlikely to significantly affect the environment.

The joint panel of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, Alberta Natural Resources Conservation Board, and Alberta Utilities Commission endorsed the project, proposed by Glacier Power Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers. (HNN 7/24/08)

Glacier Power proposes to build a powerhouse with 40 2.5-MW turbine-generators, near Dunvegan Bridge in Alberta’s Fairview District, and a 144-kilovolt transmission line that would connect to an existing transmission line. The project is expected to generate 600 gigawatt-hours annually, plus renewable energy certificates.

The panel’s Dec. 22 report concluded the project would add a stable and reliable source of electric power to the province and would be a net benefit to the region. The report, which includes 21 recommendations to minimize and manage potential effects, is available from the CEAA Internet site, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

Canadian Hydro Manager Kelly Matheson said the approval is the culmination of nearly a decade of collaborative work by employees, consultants, and the local community, along with oversight by provincial and federal regulators. Dunvegan is to feature passageways for upstream and downstream migrating fish.

The government of Canada must respond to the report for Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to consider their approvals and authorizations. Over the next year, Canadian Hydro plans to obtain all permits required to proceed to construction, complete a detailed design of the project, finalize construction costs and the project schedule, and market the power and certificates on a long-term basis.

Cost estimates range from C$500 million (US$410 million) to C$600 million (US$491 million). Canadian Hydro said it plans to update those estimates once detailed design is complete. Construction is expected to take four years.

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