Canadian Consulting Engineer

Dunvegan hydro plant faces hurdle

A proposed 100-megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric project on the Peace River near Dunvegan in northwest Alberta ha...

August 14, 2008   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A proposed 100-megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric project on the Peace River near Dunvegan in northwest Alberta has been ordered to go through a joint federal-provincial panel review. The Dunvegan Hydroelectric Project is being developed by Glacier Power, a division of Canadian Hydro, at a site 80 kilometres north of Grande Prairie.
Studies on the project by Glacier have been going on for over a decade, and in June 2000 the company submitted an Environmental Impact Assessment prepared by the Calgary office of Jacques Whitford consulting engineers.
Many other consulting engineering companies have been involved in the project. Among them are Canadian Projects (project engineering and design), Focus Environmental (project management and fish passage), Northwest Hydraulics Consultants (ice regime, hydraulics and fish passage), Mack, Slack & Associates (hydrology and hydraulics) and AMEC Earth and Environmental (slope stability).
The Dunvegan project is a run-of-river facility, with a powerhouse of 40 turbine units that will extend from the north bank of the main channel for 288 metres. It will generate 600 GWh per annum without storing water. The project design involves innovative fish passageways and a state-of-the-art ice model.
The power would be transmitted along a new 144-kV transmission line for approximately 4.3 kilometres to the southeast, and then connect to an existing 144 kV transmission line. The life of the project is expected to be 100 years.
Glacier Power says it is “disappointed” that the project has to be subjected to the federal-provincial joint panel, but will continue to work through the process. The company also says it is optimistic that the diligent work of its employees and consultants will result in a positive outcome.
The joint panel is administered by the Government of Canada, the Natural Resources Conservation Board and the Alberta Utilities Commission. Three panel members were appointed on July 16, and they have 45 days to determine whether there is enough evidence on record or whether they want to conduct a hearing.


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