Canada panel to review proposal for 100-MW Dunvegan

Canada and Alberta officials have appointed a joint federal-provincial panel to review environmental effects of the 100-MW Dunvegan hydroelectric project proposed for the Peace River in Alberta.

Canada Environment Minister John Baird and the government of Alberta appointed the panel’s three members July 16. Vern Hartwell, chairman of Alberta’s Natural Resources Conservation Board, is the panel’s chairman. George Kupfer is a consultant who focuses on community consultation and facilitation involving social and environment issues. Doug Larder is general counsel and executive director of the Alberta Utilities Commission’s Law Division.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the Alberta Natural Resources Conservation Board, and the Alberta Utilities Commission reached agreement earlier in the year on the process for the joint panel review. (HNN 3/25/08)

Glacier Power Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian Hydro Developers, proposes to build and operate Dunvegan. The project would include a powerhouse featuring 40 turbine-generators of 2.5 MW each. Power would be transmitted along a new 144-kilovolt transmission line that would be connected to an existing transmission line.

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 reapplied, consolidating information with new evidence on ice modeling, mitigation, and fish studies.

If the project advances, construction would begin in spring 2009, followed by commercial operations toward the end of 2011.

CEAA announced July 18 it awarded $51,500 to the Alberta Wilderness Association to enable the association to participate in the environmental assessment of the Dunvegan project. The agency is providing the funds to help the association participate in the public hearing phase of the environmental assessment process.

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