Crews work on unit 5 at the Revelstoke Dam in 2009.

Crews work on unit 5 at the Revelstoke Dam in 2009.

BC Hydro looking at sixth turbine for Revelstoke Dam

BC Hydro is embarking on an environmental assessment for the installation of a sixth turbine at the Revelstoke Dam.

BC Hydro is embarking on an environmental assessment for the installation of a sixth turbine at the Revelstoke Dam.

In a news release, BC Hydro said it is currently assessing the need of the project, but if it goes ahead, it would involve installing a sixth penstock, turbine and generating unit inside a vacant bay at the Revelstoke Dam. It would increase the generating capacity of the dam by 500 megawatts, to 3,070 megawatts.

It would also involve building a new series capacitor station west of the Summerland area and upgrading the Nicola substaion in order to reliably deliver the additional generation.

The turbine is scheduled in service by October 2019.

A project description has been filed with the BC Environmental Assessment Office.

A draft Integrated Resource Plan issued by BC Hydro last year called the project “the most cost-effective dependable capacity option currently available to BC Hydro.” It would also help the province meet its targets under the Clean Energy Act, as well as help BC Hydro meet peak energy demands in the future. The environmental impact is stated to be minimal because the work will be contained within the existing dam.

The turbine is expected to cost about $340 million, according to the resource plan.

The Revelstoke Dam finished construction in 1984. A fifth turbine went into operation in 2010.