Canada panel schedules hearing on 100-MW Dunvegan

Alberta officials have scheduled a public hearing April 22 to determine if the 100-MW Dunvegan hydroelectric project proposed for the Peace River is in the public interest.

A joint panel of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board and the Natural Resources Conservation Board is to hold the hearing in the community of Fairview over about four days. It could make a decision by the end of July, project developer Glacier Power Ltd. said.

Federal authorities, who are reviewing the project under the Fisheries and Navigable Waters Protection acts, are invited to participate in the provincial hearing.

Alberta Environment’s regional environmental manager confirmed the completeness of the project’s environmental impact assessment in January. Glacier Power submitted a final application to build and operate Dunvegan to the two boards in October 2006.

Glacier Power, a subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, has begun detailed design work on Dunvegan and expects to do road, bridge, and geotechnical work during the summer months. Assuming project approval, construction would begin in spring 2009, followed by commercial operations toward the end of 2011. (HNN 8/17/07)

Dunvegan has been on the drawing board for many years. In 2003, the Energy and Utilities Board denied Canadian Hydro’s application for an 80-MW Dunvegan project, citing uncertain effects on fish and a risk of flooding in the town of Peace River. Canadian Hydro later said it would reapply, consolidating information with new evidence on ice modeling, mitigation for Peace River, and fish studies.

A report on Dunvegan, from a pre-hearing meeting, is on the Natural Resources Conservation Board Internet site, www.nrcb.gov.ab.ca, under www.nrcb.gov.ab.ca/downloads/documentloader.aspx?id=4580. The document contains details about issues that will be raised at the hearing and information for participants.

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