British Columbia hydro project clears environmental review

AltaGas Renewable Energy Inc. has received an environmental assessment (EA) certificate from British Columbia provincial authorities for the proposed McLymont Creek Hydroelectric Project.

AltaGas Renewable Energy is a wholly owned subsidiary of AltaGas Ltd. (TSX: ALA). British Columbia Environment Minister Terry Lake and Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman made the decision to grant the EA certificate after considering the review led by the provincial Environmental Assessment Office (EAO), they said in a June 9 statement.

The proposed C$217m project will be located on McLymont Creek about 100 kilometers northwest of Stewart and 140 kilometers southwest of Iskut. Once completed, the project will produce up to 70 MW of run‐of‐river hydropower. The project will include a 10‐kilometer, 69‐kilovolt transmission line from the Forrest Kerr Hydroelectric Project switchyard to the project switchyard. The completed project will generate zero greenhouse gas emissions, the agencies noted.

BC Hydro awarded AltaGas Renewable Energy an Electricity Purchasing Agreement in November 2011. Under the conditions of this agreement, the project’s commercial operational date (electricity delivery date to the BC Hydro grid) is November 2015.

The EAO assessment report concluded that the project is not expected to result in any significant adverse effects, based on the mitigation measures and conditions of the EA certificate. The certificate contains project design features, mitigation measures and 44 conditions that form legally binding requirements that AltaGas Renewable Energy must adhere to throughout various stages of the project.

AltaGas Ltd. said in November 2011 that it had signed purchase agreements with BC Hydro for both the McLymont Creek and Volcano Creek run-of-river hydroelectric projects.

“With a combined capacity of approximately 82 MW the McLymont Creek and Volcano Creek projects, in addition to our 195 MW Forrest Kerr project, represent a [C]$1 billion investment in British Columbia,” said David Cornhill, Chairman and CEO of AltaGas in the November 2011 announcement. “These three projects align with our strategy of adding low-risk, long-life assets as we continue to build long-term contracted assets that will generate power and deliver strong shareholder value for generations to come.”

Collectively the three projects totaling about 277 MW are known as the Northwest Projects. They will be the anchor tenants for the Northwest Transmission Line, which will form the backbone of electrical infrastructure in northwest BC.

“AltaGas has 353 MW of base-load coal-fired and 54 MW of gas-fired power generation in Alberta,” said the company website. “The gas-fired peaking capacity has quick ramp-up capability and provides revenue from the sale of energy and ancillary services. Our renewable portfolio provides power with wind turbines (102 MW), run-of-river (11.5 MW) and biomass (35 MW) projects. In northwest British Columbia, we also have a 195 MW run-of-river project under construction, and a further 82 MW which will be construction-ready in the next 12 months.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.