62-MW Jimmie Creek hydro project in British Columbia nears startup

Alterra Power Corp. (TSX: AXY) said in a May 10 earnings report that its 62-MW Jimmie Creek hydroelectric project in British Columbia is due for startup this summer.

Alterra owns 51% of the 62-MW Jimmie Creek project in partnership with Axium Infrastructure through Jimmie Creek LP. The project is in the final phase of construction and is expected to commence generation in the summer of 2016, with construction forecast to be completed on time and on budget.

Jimmie Creek will sell 100% of its power to BC Hydro under a 40-year PPA beginning in 2016. It has projected annual output of 159,000 MWh. The Jimmie Creek facility will use excess, unused capacity on the Toba Montrose transmission line that connects the existing (in operation since 2010) Toba Montrose hydropower facility to the BC Hydro substation at Saltery Bay. Jimmie Creek LP will operate the project in partnership with Tla’amin Nation, shíshálh Nation and Klahoose First Nation.

Jimmie Creek is being constructed under an Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Management (EPCM) contract with SNC-Lavalin Inc. The construction is on schedule and current progress to date is as follows:

  • Intake construction, commissioning and headpond filling were completed in the first quarter of 2016.
  • Construction of the switchyard is complete and tie-in of the Jimmie Creek project to the Toba Montrose transmission line was performed in late February 2016.
  • Penstock construction is complete and all construction areas have been remediated. The initial filling of the penstock is scheduled for mid-May 2016.
  • All of the electrical and mechanical equipment has been delivered to the site and the installation of the generators is nearly complete. Installation and testing of the ancillary electrical and mechanical equipment is ongoing and is expected to be completed in May 2016 followed by generator testing (including delivery of first power) and commissioning in June 2016.

In the U.S., Alterra operates and owns a 50% sponsor equity interest in the 204-MW Shannon wind project in Texas, which commenced operations in December 2015. The remaining 50% sponsor interest in the project is held by Starwood Energy Group Global,LLC, with tax equity held by affiliates of Citicorp North America Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Energy. On Dec. 10, 2015, Shannon achieved commercial operations with all 119 turbines placed into operation. Shannon is expected to generate a long-term average of 794,000 MWh of electricity annually and will sell the majority of its power under a 13-year power hedge with Citigroup Energy Inc., which commences in June 2016. Prior to this 100% of the power is being sold on the merchant spot market.

In British Columbia, Alterra holds a 51% interest in a wind generation project located adjacent to its existing (in operation since 2011) Dokie 1 wind farm. Dokie 2 has a projected capacity of up to 156 MW. During 2015, Alterra received notice from an affiliate of GE Energy Financial Services (GE EFS) that it does not intend to proceed with advancement of Dokie 2. Alterra expects to complete an agreement with GE EFS to transfer its 49% ownership interest in Dokie 2 to Alterra for nominal consideration. In 2014, Alterra wrote off the deferred costs and goodwill associated with the Dokie 2 project due to a decline in the economic outlook surrounding renewable energy as a result of the latest Integrated Resource Plan produced by the British Columbia Government. The company has maintained all existing permits and licenses in good standing and may look to further develop the project in the future when market outlook improves. The company has no material expenses related to Dokie 2 planned in 2016.

In March 2015, Alterra signed a memorandum of understanding with Klahoose First Nation to jointly develop the 15-MW Tahumming hydroelectric project, which is in the Toba Valley near the Toba Montrose and Jimmie Creek projects. Because of its size, the project may qualify for a PPA process with BC Hydro under its Standing Offer Program. The company is currently preparing its application for a Water License and Land Tenure for the project and expects to submit its application during the second quarter. Once the agencies have reviewed and approved these permits, the company will submit the project into the Standing Offer Program.

The company said it has furthered development activities for unspecified two wind projects in the U.S. with a potential generation capacity of up to 350 MW, and progressed toward potential acquisition of various land rights and early stage wind and solar development projects in multiple locations across the U.S. The company also holds the rights to develop a 40-MW solar project at the Soda Lake geothermal plant site in Nevada. The company last year sold the existing geothermal facility at Soda Lake.

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.