Bringing more attention to the Canadian hydropower industry—the third-largest producer of hydro power in the world—the Canadian Hydropower Association hosted its first-ever Hydropower Awards at this year’s annual Hydropower Forum, held Wednesday, November 21 at the Château Laurier in Ottawa.
The CHA Hydropower Awards were established this year in celebration of the Association’s 20th anniversary.
CHA President Anne-Raphaëlle Audouin, presented the following awards at the event:
CHA President’s Award: Colin Clark, Chief Technical Officer, Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
Outstanding Project Award: SNC-Lavalin for the BC Hydro John Hart Generating Station Replacement project
Path Forwards Award: Ontario Power Generation, in partnership with the Taykwa Tagamou Nation, for their recently completed Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station Project
Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE) Hydropower Woman of Distinction: Shawna Pachal, Acting Chief Finance and Strategy Officer, Manitoba Hydro
“The Canadian hydropower Awards have been created to recognize the extraordinary contributions and dedication demonstrated by leaders in the sector. It is with great honour and pride that we recognize these winners. Our industry is powered by amazing people and it’s a privilege to be part of the hydro community,” said Audouin in a media release. “The work that these award winners, and the many others in the hydro community do, is essential to a clean energy future.”
The Outstanding Project Award to presented SNC-Lavalin for the BC Hydro John Hart project, recognized Canada’s first public-private partnership (P3) project in the hydro sector.
SNC-Lavalin created a special purpose general partnership (“InPower BC”) to enter into a project agreement with BC Hydro to partially finance, design, build a new generating facility and maintain it for 15 years.
“SNC-Lavalin and its partners are thankful for BC Hydro’s trust in taking the innovative route of building an underground power station that leaves a small footprint on the environment,” said Royden Heays, vice-president, operations and senior project manager, SNC-Lavalin, in a company release. “We applied our best engineering, utilized best practices in tunnelling, and employed innovations from the hydro and construction worlds to ensure a successful outcome that leaves a clean energy legacy for generations to come.”
“Our team has worked hard on this project since it was initiated in 2007 and we are very pleased to have a generating station that is reliable, seismically strong, and protects downstream fish habitat from river flow reductions,” said Melissa Holland, vice-president of project delivery with BC Hydro. “It is a big improvement over the 71-year-old aboveground facility. SNC-Lavalin and their team have done great work, and were very innovative with the placement of the powerhouse. The design is also a benefit to the community and adjacent Elk Falls Provincial Park.”
The original plans had a more traditional surface powerhouse that would require an extensive steel lined section of the power tunnel. Instead, the underground placement avoids the steel lining requirements to make it more affordable.
Project features include a new water intake, an underground power tunnel that is over 8 metres in diameter, an underground powerhouse that is as tall as a 10-storey building and as long as a football field, and an underground tailrace tunnel and outlet structure.
The underground tunnel system is about 2.2km in length. This direction required an extensive amount of careful engineering to design and guide underground tunnels and construct infrastructure safely.
Environmental considerations were primary drivers in the design and construction. With operations now underground, the removal of the three penstocks and the old station from the surface will soon begin. A 1.8 km-long penstock corridor will be returned to a forest setting. The restoration significantly reduces the project’s environmental footprint.