Innergex completes one hydro project; building two more

Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (TSX: INE) reported Nov. 9 in its quarterly earnings statement that in the past quarter it brought into operation the Big Silver Creek hydroelectric project in British Columbia.

“Innergex has successfully begun commercial operation at its 43rd facility,” said Michel Letellier, the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are very proud to have commissioned the 40.6 MW Big Silver Creek hydroelectric facility located in British Columbia. We have done it one month earlier than expected and within our budget. We have now a gross installed capacity totaling 1,359 MW, which reinforces our position as one of the leader amongst independent power producers in British Columbia and in Canada.”

Letellier added: “We have maintained a steady, rigorous pace of construction activities at the Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n wind farm in Quebec and at the Upper Lillooet River and Boulder Creek hydroelectric projects in British Columbia and we continue to invest time and effort on our international development, about which we are very optimistic.”

On July 29, the Big Silver Creek hydro facility began commercial operation, It is located on crown land approximately 40 kilometers north of Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia. Construction began in June 2014 and was completed in July 2016, earlier than expected and on budget. The Commercial Operation Date (COD) certificate has been approved by BC Hydro with an effective commissioning date of July 29. Big Silver Creek’s average annual production is estimated to reach 139,800 MWh. All the electricity it produces is covered by a 40-year fixed-price power purchase agreement with BC Hydro, which was obtained under the province’s 2008 Clean Power Call Request for Proposals and which provides for an annual adjustment to the selling price based on a portion of the Consumer Price Index.

On the other hand, the construction of the 81.4-MW Upper Lillooet River and 25.3-MW Boulder Creek hydroelectric facilities began in October 2013.

  • As of now, the Upper Lillooet tunnel invert, final lining and rock trap are complete. The hydro-mechanical progress on the intake was delayed due to landslide hazard shutdowns and is now expected to be completed in November. The powerhouse turbine and generation equipment installation is nearly complete with only the auxiliary equipment and controls remaining. The transformer and switchyard are nearly complete. The Upper Lillooet Leave to Commence Diversion (LTCD) application is under review by the agencies concerned and approval is expected by mid-November.
  • The Boulder Creek tunnel excavation was completed at the end of August and invert cleaning and final support works are well under way. The steel liner work is scheduled to commence in mid November. The intake civil and hydro-mechanical work is complete with only the electrical work and controls remaining. The LTCD package has been submitted to the agencies concerned for approval.

The joint transmission line for the projects is nearly completed and will be commissioned by mid November. The COD should be reached in the first quarter of 2017 for the Upper Lillooet hydroelectric project and in the second quarter of 2017 for the Boulder Creek hydroelectric facility. Commercial operation has been delayed due to a forest fire that forced the interruption of construction in the summer 2015. BC Hydro has agreed that the fire constitutes a force majeure event and consequently confirmed that the COD could be delayed up to 98 force majeure days.

At Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n, construction of this 150-MW wind farm began in May 2015. In September 2015, Innergex and its partner, the three Mi’gmaq communities of Quebec, announced the closing of a non-recourse construction and term project financing for this project. As of now, all access roads, crane pads, wind turbines generator (WTG) foundations and electrical collector system have been completed. All wind turbines have been delivered and all major turbine components erected. Turbine electrical and mechanical completion work and commissioning of the wind turbines is ongoing. The twin transformer electrical interconnection station has been completed and energized. Innergex expects the project to reach commercial operation, on budget, by the end of 2016.

The company noted that some of its pipeline of prospective projects is targeted toward specific future requests for proposals, such as the current request for expressions of interest from Aboriginal businesses for a total of up to 40 MW of renewable generation from multiple projects in the province of New Brunswick. Also, the government of Saskatchewan plans to launch an initial Request for Proposals for 100 MW-200 MW of new wind energy in early 2017. In September 2016, the Alberta Government announced it was targeting for 30% of all electricity used in Alberta to come from renewable sources, including wind, hydro and solar, by 2030. To reach the target, the province intends to support 5,000 MW of additional renewable capacity. In Ontario, the government has, for the time being, cancelled the second phase of the competitive Large Renewable Procurement process.

Innergex believes that installed capacity provides a good indication of the size and magnitude of its operations. Once the three development projects have been commissioned and following the acquisition of the BC Walden North hydro facility and the Seven French Entities and the commissioning of Big Silver Creek in July, it expects its net installed capacity to increase from 708 MW (gross 1,216 MW) at the end of the year 2015 to 964 MW (gross 1,615 MW) in 2017, corresponding to a 36% increase (gross 33%).

Innergex Renewable Energy is a leading Canadian independent renewable power producer. Active since 1990, it develops, owns and operates run-of-river hydroelectric facilities, wind farms and solar photovoltaic farms and carries out its operations in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia in Canada, in Idaho in the U.S., and in France.

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.