Canadian News

Hydro-Quebec celebrates 70th anniversary

Canadian provincial utility Hydro-Quebec celebrated its 70th anniversary in mid-April, noting that hydroelectric power was and continues to be part of the company’s success.

Founded April 14, 1944, with the passage of an act establishing the Quebec Hydro-Electric Commission, Hydro-Quebec wasted little time breaking ground on its 1,178-MW Bersimis 1 and 869-MW Bersimis 2 hydro plants.

The boom in energy demand post-World War II quickly necessitated the construction of additional projects, with hydro plants on the Manicouagan River and Riviere Aux Outardes being built in the late 1950s.

Hydro-Quebec faced a pivotal moment in fall 1962 when the provincial government, headed by Jean Lesage, proposed the nationalization of all power utilities under the election slogan “Maitres Chez Nous,” or “Masters in Our Own House.” The movement led Hydro-Quebec to purchase 10 privately-held electric companies in May 1963 under the direction of Rene Levesque.

Since then, the utility has faced a number of challenges, including standardizing rates throughout the province, electrifying rural areas and setting up an effective distribution grid.

The company now operates 61 hydro projects that have a cumulative capacity of more than 36,000 MW, manages 34,000 km of transmission lines, employees 20,000 people, supplies 4.1 million customers and controls assets worth US$66.6 million.

Changes to Upper Lillooet hydropower project

Canadian power producer Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. has reached agreements with provincial utility BC Hydro regarding components of the Upper Lillooet hydropower project.

The Upper Lillooet project – which would have included the 74-MW Upper Lillooet, 23-MW Boulder Creek and 16-MW North Creek hydropower stations – will be located on Crown land in British Columbia.

The project was granted environmental assessment certificates from the British Columbia government this past January.

The new agreement increases Upper Lillooet’s capacity to 81.4 MW and Boulder Creek’s to 25.3 MW. Meanwhile, the North Creek hydroelectric plant has been cancelled.

The project is being developed by Creek Power Inc., which is a joint venture between Innergex and the Ledcor Power Group Ltd.

Partnership announced for Jimmie Creek project

Alterra Power Corp. and Fiera Axium Infrastructure Inc. have announced a partnership agreement for the ownership and construction of the 62-MW Jimmie Creek hydroelectric plant. Under the deal, Alterra will own 51% of the project, while Fiera will own the remainder through a managed fund.

Alterra assumed 100% ownership of the project in November 2013 from General Electric, after signing development agreements with the Klahoose First Nation for its construction in May 2012. Construction is under way, with an expected completion date in August 2016.

“We are delighted to add another hydropower project to our diversified fund portfolio,” Fiera executive Dominic Chalifoux said.

All power generated by Jimmie Creek will be sold to BC Hydro under a 40-year contract. Financial closing for the deal was expected later this quarter.

Canadian developer eyes pumped-storage projects

Canadian company Turning Point Generation has announced its plan to develop a pumped-storage hydropower project in Alberta with a capacity of 80 to 150 MW.

The unnamed plant is TPG’s first pumped-storage project, although one necessary, the company said, for the province’s energy security.

TPG has identified several of what it calls “favorable” sites and will now move ahead on the project’s development.

“This project is our most advanced, has exceptional inherent site characteristics and enjoys favorable reception from key stakeholders, including the First Nations involved,” TPG official Peter Bubik said. “We believe the Alberta power market provides an economical basis for pumped-storage at this time and the market indications are showing increasingly favorable economics for pumped-storage in the future.”


BC Hydro plans to conduct dam safety reviews at three dams: 22-MW La Joie Dam, 42-MW Seton Dam and Terzaghi Dam, which impounds water for two Bridge River generating stations.

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Commercial operation begins at 17.5-MW Northwest Stave River

Commercial operation has begun at Innergex Energy Inc.’s 17.5-MW Northwest Stave River hydropower plant, the Canadian power producer said.

Construction of the hydroelectric project, located on Crown land north of Mission, British Columbia, began in 2011 and was completed in December 2013.

Energy generated by Northwest Stave River will be supplied to BC Hydro under a 40-year fixed-price power purchase agreement that was obtained under British Columbia’s 2008 Clean Power Call Request for Proposals.

Innergex closed a US$69.75 million non-recourse construction and term project financing deal for the plant last May.

Small hydropower coming to Ontario’s Twelve Mile Creek

City and province officials have approved the construction of a new small hydropower project along Twelve Mile Creek in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The Shickluna plant, announced at a ceremony by Ontario Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley and St. Catharines mayor Brian McMullan, will have a cumulative capacity of up to 4.2 MW when completed.

Shickluna was approved under Ontario’s Hydroelectric Standard Offer Program, which assists cities in constructing hydropower projects between 400 kW and 5 MW in capacity.

“We are pleased that with the support of Minister Bradley, we can now move forward with our renewable energy project,” McMullan said. “Shickluna will create local jobs and generate millions of dollars in revenue.”

The run-of-river project is expected to generate US18,000 to $900,000 per year for St. Catharines, which received approval for the plant from the Ontario Power Authority in February.

Hydroelectric power key in Manitoba Hydro

A recently signed memorandum of understanding will investigate the sale of up to 600 MW of electricity from Canadian utility Manitoba Hydro to Minnesota-based power cooperative Great River Energy. The deal, which could begin in 2020, would see Great River Energy meet some of its long-term electricity needs via proposed Manitoba Hydro projects.

“We are pleased to work with a trusted partner like Great River Energy to help increase the supply of virtually carbon-free, renewable hydroelectric energy in their supply mix,” Manitoba Hydro President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Thomson said. “This MOU demonstrates the continued strong interest in hydro power in U.S. markets. Expansion of trade with Great River Energy will support expansion of hydropower generating capacity in Manitoba and contribute to the ongoing supply of renewable, reliable and cost-effective electricity to Manitobans.”

Key amongst the plan is the 695-MW Keeyask hydropower plant, which is being developed on the Nelson River in partnership with Tatskweyak, Fox Lake, War Lake and York Factory first nations groups. The utility said Keeyask builds on an earlier partnership with the Nisichawayashk Cree Nation that allowed for the construction of the 200-MW Wuskwatim project on the Burntwood River.

Great River Energy and Manitoba Hydro are already committed to a number of power sale and diversity agreements, including a 200 MW deal that extends through 2030.

“The discussion with Manitoba Hydro opens the doors to additional hydropower for Great River Energy and our members,” Great River Energy Vice President of Membership and Energy Markets Jon Brekke said. “We have reduced our carbon intensity by 20% since 2005. Additional hydropower may be the next logical step in the evolution of our power generation portfolio.”

The cooperative supplies wholesale electric service to 28 distributors in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Utility plans to install air coolers for 67.5-MW Strathcona project

Canadian utility BC Hydro plans to hire a company to supply 16 air coolers for the 67.5-MW Strathcona project on the Campbell River in British Columbia.

The utility is in the process of upgrading the Strathcona project in the Campbell River region of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island.

Work will include design, fabrication and supply of 16 air coolers, also called radiators or heat exchangers, for the Strathcona plant. The company chosen also will be responsible for a site survey of the generating station to confirm data measurements and complete design; design, including preparation of shop drawings and equipment performance summary; fabrication and shop testing; and delivery of equipment by Aug. 15.