Canada’s 335-MW Waneta hydropower project connected to grid

A 335 MW expansion of British Columbia’s Waneta hydropower complex has been connected to the province’s electrical grid.

The project added a second powerhouse immediately downstream of Waneta Dam on the Pend-d’Oreille River. The expansion uses an existing hydraulic head to generate power from water that would have otherwise been wasted.

The Waneta expansion includes two parallel tunnels that feed two 167.5 MW Francis turbines that were manufactured by Voith Hydro. Voith also supplied the plant’s generators, governors, exciters and various other auxiliary systems.

The expansion project also included the construction of a 10-kilometer-long, 230 kV transmission line.

“We are proud to have contributed to one of the largest infrastructure projects of British Columbia and helping bringing it on line,” said William Malus, CEO of Voith Hydro in Canada. “We contributed to making available reliable and affordable electricity from a renewable, climate-friendly source.”

Voith Hydro acted as a sub-contractor for SNC-Lavalin, which was awarded a US$575.6 million contract to design and build the expansion in October 2010.

The project was developed by the Waneta Expansion Ltd. Partnership (WELP), which includes Fortis Inc. and the Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust (CPCBT). Fortis purchased a majority interest in the development group in August 2010.

Energy generated at the plant will be sold to BC Hydro and FortisBC under a 40-year power purchase agreement.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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