Canada minister approves 435-MW Waneta Expansion

Canada’s environment minister announced approval May 1 of the 435-MW Waneta Expansion Project proposed for the Pend d’Oreille River in British Columbia’s West Kootenay Region.

Environment Minister John Baird is responsible for determining whether to advance a project for action, which he did, or refer it for further environmental assessment by a review panel or a mediator. Baird determined Waneta Expansion is unlikely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and sent the project to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada for action.

Canadian environmental agencies previously issued a report by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada that also found Waneta Expansion is unlikely to have significant adverse effects. (HNN 1/4/08) The project cleared British Columbia’s environmental assessment process in 2007.

Waneta Expansion Power Corp., a venture of Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust, proposes building and operating the new power plant at an existing dam south of Trail, B.C. The new powerhouse would feature two Francis turbine-generators and a ten-kilometer transmission line connected to BC Hydro’s Selkirk substation.

The C$400 million (US$392 million) project would reduce the amount of water spilled at 400-MW Waneta Dam, owned by Teck Cominco Metals Ltd., reducing total dissolved gas downstream and improving Columbia River water quality. Construction of Waneta Expansion is expected to begin in spring 2009. The project could go on line in 2012.

Development of Waneta Expansion is being managed through the design-evaluate-build implementation strategy used to develop 185-MW Arrow Lakes and 120-MW Brilliant Expansion. (HNN 9/17/07)

Release of a request for proposals from pre-qualified bidders is expected this spring. (HNN 9/21/06) A link on the Columbia Power Internet site, www.columbiapower.org, provides information for Columbia Basin subcontractors, consultants, and suppliers interested in detailed development information: www.columbiapower.org/projects/waneta.asp.

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