The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency said May 19 that it is conducting a public comment period on a draft federal environmental review of the proposed Tazi Twé Hydroelectric Project in Saskatchewan.
The agency invites the public to comment on the draft Environmental Assessment Report, a document that includes the agency’s conclusions and recommendations regarding the potential environmental effects of the project, the proposed mitigation measures, the significance of any remaining adverse environmental effects, and the follow-up program. The agency also invites the public to comment on the potential environmental assessment conditions for the project. These potential conditions would become legally binding on the proponent if the Minister of the Environment ultimately issues a decision statement indicating that the project may proceed.
This is the last of four opportunities for the public to comment on this project. All comments received will be considered public. Written comments must be submitted by June 18.
Following this final comment period, the Environmental Assessment Report will be finalized and the Minister of the Environment will issue an environmental assessment decision statement indicating whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and identifying the conditions that the proponent must meet with respect to mitigation and follow-up requirements in the event that the project is permitted to proceed.
Black Lake Denesuline First Nation and Saskatchewan Power Corp. are proposing the construction, operation, and decommissioning of a 50-MW water diversion type station on the Chicken Indian Reserve 224, about seven kilometers northeast of the community of Black Lake in northern Saskatchewan. The project would consist of an all-season gravel access road and a bridge over the Fond du Lac River; a powerhouse with a maximum capacity of 50 MW; a water intake and power tunnel that will divert water from Black Lake to the powerhouse; a tailrace channel to return diverted flows to the Fond du Lac River just upstream of Middle Lake; a submerged weir in the Fond du Lac River at the outlet of Black Lake; and associated site infrastructure. The predicted cost for the proposed project is approximately C$500 million.
Two turbine types including Kaplan (a propeller type turbine with adjustable blades) and Francis (an inward flow turbine with runner blades) were considered for the project. Selection of the turbine type was based on the equipment performance, costs, and potential implications to fish species. Fish mortality rates reported for Kaplan turbines are generally lower as compared to Francis turbines due to the number of blades and blade spacing. Kaplan turbines were selected for the project as they are considered more efficient and fish-friendly, the environmental assessment noted.