British Columbia agency puts 500-MW Revelstoke 6 project into an environmental review

An official at the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office on May 22 signed an order putting an application from the BC Hydro and Power Authority on a 500-MW hydro project into the agency’s environmental assessment process.

Under its 2013 application, BC Hydro proposes to install and operate a generating unit with a rated nameplate capacity of 500 MW into the sixth and final empty bay at the existing Revelstoke Dam and Generating Station, located on the Columbia River, 5 kilometers upstream of the City of Revelstoke in this Canadian province.

In April 2013, Brian Murphy, the office’s Executive Project Director, issued an order stating that the proposed project requires an environmental assessment certificate and that the proponent may not proceed with the proposed project without an assessment. The May 22 order lays out how that assessment is to be conducted, including the public participation process.

The Revelstoke Dam and Generating Station are part of BC Hydro’s Columbia River hydroelectric system, with Mica Dam and Kinbasket Reservoir located upstream, and Keenleyside Dam and Arrow Lakes Reservoir situated downstream. The Revelstoke facilities include a large concrete gravity dam at the generating station, an adjacent earthfill embankment dam up the west side of the reservoir, a gated spillway, penstocks, and powerplant, and switchgear building. Construction began in early 1977 and the powerhouse began operations in 1984.

As part of the Unit 6 project, BC Hydro would construct a series capacitor station sited on or adjacent to the existing right-of-way around mid-point of circuit 5L98 near Summerland between Vaseux Lake Terminal Station and Nicola Substation. The capacitor station may require a repeater or reflector communication facility. The capacitor station is downstream of the Revelstoke Unit 6 point of interconnection to the transmission grid, and would be located approximately 200 kilometers from the Revelstoke station. The capacitor station is required to increase the capacity of the transmission system in the interior of British Columbia.

“The reason for the capacitor station is to protect the BC Hydro system from failure of a transmission component and ensure the delivery of all dependable capacity from the Southern Interior of B.C.,” said the company in the project application. “Thus the capacitor station would serve all existing generation in the Southern Interior, including Revelstoke Dam and Generating Station with the 6th unit. The [Unit 6] Project advances the need for the capacitor station by about 15 to 20 years under current planning assumptions.”

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.