Fortis pursuing new hydropower plant in British Columbia

Fortis Generation Inc. is moving to the next stage in developing a new 45- to 65 MW hydropower plant along the Similkameen River in British Columbia, the distribution utility said.

The phase includes public consultations, interaction with First Nations groups and feasibility studies, Fortis (TSX: FTS) said.

Fortis Generation believes it’s important to reach out to communities and share information when a project is in the early stages of consideration,” project manager Joseph Sukhnandan said. “There remains at least two years’ worth of technical and environmental review and studies, continued discussions with local governments and First Nations, and broader public consultation to create a viable project for all stakeholders.”

The company has already been working with the provincial government to obtain the investigative permit needed to access land parcels for conducting technical and environmental studies. If the studies show the plant is economically, technically and environmentally feasible, Fortis said it will begin seeking a long-term lease for the land.

Research regarding the potential for a water storage facility on the Similkameen River began in 1990, with subsequent studies showing such a project could not only assist in flood reduction within the river’s basin, but also improve water quality and increase summer flows in the Lower Similkameen.

“The project would provide considerable economic benefits to the area and create construction jobs,” Sukhnandan said. “The facility would also become an important tax payer once operational.”

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