Three in the running for Campbell River area hydro project

Eight companies responded to an open request for qualifications posted on BC Bid in March

BC Hydro has shortlisted three companies to design and construct a replacement for the 65-year-old John Hart generating station on the Campbell River.

The replacement facility will improve power reliability and seismic safety, and make it easier for BC Hydro to protect fish habitat in an area of the world renowned for its salmon.

Eight companies responded to an open request for qualifications posted on BC Bid in March.

Following a comprehensive evaluation BC Hydro shortlisted Elk Falls Energy Partners, Salmon River Hydro Partners and SNC-Lavalin Inc.

A request for proposals has been issued to the three companies and BC Hydro expects to award the contract in summer 2013 and construction will begin soon after.

The project, which is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2018, will create about 400 jobs a year over the five years of construction.

The John Hart Project is currently undergoing a review by the British Columbia Utilities Commission. BC Hydro anticipates a decision from the Commission by spring 2013.

The John Hart facility has been operating since 1947.

It’s one of the oldest generating facilities in BC Hydro’s hydro-electric system and one of the most important assets on Vancouver Island.

The John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project will improve:

  • Safety – The existing generating station and pipelines may not withstand a low to moderate earthquake. The new facilities will be able to withstand a significant earthquake.
  • Reliability – The six generating units are in poor condition and their capacity is declining. The new generating units will ensure 835 gigawatt hours of reliable power are generated annually.
  • Environment – The environmental risk of a generating station shutdown and river flow reduction, with subsequent harm to fish habitat.

The new water bypass facility will allow for continued river flow for fish and fish habitat.

The cost of the project is currently estimated at $1-$1.2 billion, and the cost estimate will be refined as the project is further defined during the competitive proposal process.

The proposed project involves:

  • Constructing a replacement water intake at the John Hart Spillway Dam.
  • Reducing the facility’s footprint by replacing the three 1.8-kilometre pipelines with a 2.1-kilometre tunnel.
  • Constructing a replacement generating station beside the existing station.
  • Building a new water bypass facility.

The existing station may continue to operate during the construction phase.

BC Hydro will transfer operations during the commissioning period to the new facility.

Here’s a background on the shortlisted proponents and their partners:

  • Elk Falls: Ontario Pension Board/Brookfield Financial, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Fiera Axium Infrastructure, Connor Clark & Lunn GVest Traditional Infrastructure LP/Gracorp Capital Advisors Ltd., Bouygues-Graham, Knight Piesold Consulting and ALSTOM Power & Transport Canada Inc.
  • SNC-Lavalin Inc.: SNC-Lavalin Inc and IMPSA.
  • Salmon River Hydro Partners: Bilfinger Berger, Acciona, Barnard Construction, Klohn Crippen Berger, Voith Hydro, F&M Installations, HMI Construction and Siemens.