Manitoba Hydro plans C$800 million modernization of 78-MW Pointe du Bois

Manitoba Hydro announced July 31 it will seek regulatory approval to build an C$800 million (US$750 million), 120-MW powerhouse to replace the utility’s 78-MW Pointe du Bois generating station.

The oldest generating station in Manitoba Hydro’s system, Pointe du Bois began operating in 1911 on the Winnipeg River, 150 kilometers northeast of Winnipeg. City Hydro, later known as Winnipeg Hydro, built the original project. Manitoba Hydro acquired the project in 2002 and awarded contracts to GE Hydro in 2003 for two replacement runners.

Manitoba Hydro President Bob Brennan said Pointe du Bois must be modernized to maintain dam safety standards, provide a modern and safer working environment for staff, and ensure reliable power production.

In addition to construction of a new powerhouse, the modernization program includes a spillway and dam with modern operating and safety standards near the existing powerhouse. Manitoba Hydro said the new powerhouse would add 42 MW to make full use of the water resource.

Construction is projected to take six years. The planned in-service date is 2015. Existing structures are to be decommissioned once modernization is complete.

Manitoba Hydro said the decision to rebuild followed an initial public consultation process earlier this year. Next steps include filing a proposal under the Manitoba Environment Act. An environmental assessment of the modernization and an environmental impact statement also are needed. The utility said the EIS is to be completed by the end of 2008 for submission to regulators.

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