Transmission for planned British Columbia hydro project advances

A Canadian company is one step closer to building a power line to connect a planned hydropower facility to the grid in British Columbia.

Alterra Power Corporation (TSX: AXY) announced June 6 that it signed a resource development agreement (RDA) with the Sliammon First Nation that will facilitate the development of the transmission infrastructure for the proposed Bute Inlet run-of-river hydro project.

The line would connect up to 17 run-of-river hydro generating stations in Bute Inlet, then run to the company’s existing Toba Montrose hydro project in the neighboring Toba Inlet. From there, the power line would use the company’s existing right-of-way (ROW) corridor to connect into BC Hydro’s grid at Saltery Bay, B.C.

A portion of the new line would traverse the traditional territory of the Sliammon First Nation. The company still has to work out an RDA with the Klahoose First Nation for the portion of the line that would cross their traditional territory, an Alterra Power spokesperson told TransmissionHub on June 6. Alterra Power already has signed agreements in place with the Homalco and Sechelt First Nations.

Although specific details have yet to be finalized, a second transmission line could be built within the existing ROW from Toba Montrose, the spokesperson said.

When completed, the Bute Inlet hydro generation project will consist of three interconnected groups of power plants, which have a preliminary design generation capacity of over 1,000 MW.

The company does not have an anticipated completion date for the project.

“A project this size is very dependent upon the growth in demand for power in British Columbia,” the spokesperson said.

BC Hydro’s draft integrated resource plan, which was released June 4, forecasts a 50% increase in demand for power in the province over the next 20 years.

Alterra Power is a global renewable energy company that operates geothermal, wind, and run-of-river hydro power plants in Iceland, Nevada, and British Columbia. At present, the company’s portfolio of projects has a total capacity of 567 MW.