Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kootenay partners forge ahead with $900-million power project

read full article at VancouverSun
Columbia Basin Trust, Fortis to expand generating capacity on Waneta Dam

By Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun August 27, 2010

The Columbia Basin Trust intends to complete its mandate to develop hydroelectric facilities with a $900-million expansion of generating capacity on the Waneta Dam south of Trail, the trust and its construction partner, Fortis Inc., announced Thursday.

The expansion involves building an additional 335-megawatt generating station on the Waneta Dam on the Pend d'Oreille River, just south of Trail. It is expected to take a little more than four years to build, would provide employment for 400 construction workers and inject some $200 million in direct wages into the region.

"In terms of jobs and benefits to workers and people who live in the region, it's fairly big news," Victor Jmaeff, Columbia Power's vice-president of sales and development, said in an interview.

Jmaeff said the project adds a side benefit in wringing additional electricity from water that has already been sequestered by an existing dam.

"It is a project that will generate clean power in that it's being built on an existing dam and power plant and doesn't involve any additional dam construction," Jmaeff said.

The Waneta expansion is one of three potential hydroelectric developments, along with facilities at the Arrow Lakes and Brilliant dams, that the Columbia Basin Trust was endowed with when the provincial government created the trust in 1994 as a vehicle to mitigate damage caused in the region by damming of the Columbia River system in the early 1960s.

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