Revelstoke Dam. (File)

Environmental review of Revelstoke Dam’s Unit 6 project suspended

Suspension to allow BC Hydro to work with Indigenous groups and refine mitigation measures

A request by BC Hydro to suspend the application review time limit on the environmental assessment of the Revelstoke Generating Station 6 Project has been approved by the Environmental Assessment Office.

The suspension was approved to allow BC Hydro to further discuss mitigation measures with Indigenous groups.

“After considering your request and reasons, I have decided to grant your request to suspend the review time limit for Revelstoke 6 effective today, October 30, 2017, on day 112 of the 180-day review period,” wrote Scott Bailey, assistant deputy minister.

The Prescribed Time Limit Regulations allows a time limit of 180 days for review of an application under the Environmental Assessment Act.

“Working closely with Indigenous groups to build better, more transparent and collaborative relationships is important to us,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Jen Walker-Larsen. “The short-term suspension will provide additional time that will help all parties develop a shared understanding of the Indigenous groups’ interests.”

The EAO is requiring that they receive “a table of the mitigation measures proposed by BC Hydro to address potential impacts to Aboriginal rights and title and Revelstoke 6; and a summary of the consultation between BC Hydro and Indigenous groups during the suspension period with respect to the mitigation measures that explains how the views of each Indigenous group have been considered.”

The Revelstoke Generating Station, located five kilometres upstream from the Revelstoke townsite on the Columbia River, was completed in 1984 and was initially designed to hold six generating units. Only four units were installed when it was first built. A fifth unit was added and began service in 2010.

RELATED: BC Hydro applies for environmental certificate for Revelstoke 6 turbine

According to a BC Hydro factsheet, the Revelstoke Generating Station currently produces, on average, approximately 7,817 gigawatt hours, which is about 15 per cent of the electricity that BC Hydro produces annually.

The sixth unit would add approximately 500 megawatts of capacity to BC Hydro’s system.

BC Hydro is predicting demand will increase 40 per cent over the next 20 years. It expects the Revelstoke Unit 6 will be needed in 2026 to cover a deficit that will take place when maintenance work on four units at Mica Dam begins, keeping them offline for between 12 and 18 months.

BC Hydro says it is pursuing regulatory approvals so the Revelstoke Unit 6 could be in service in 2021.

As part of the Environmental Assessment Office’s process, the City of Revelstoke submitted a list of concerns about the project in August this year.

Among them were concerns about housing for construction workers, extra policing and riverbank erosion.

RELATED: City lists concern about Revelstoke Dam

BC Hydro believes that construction for the project would take just over three years. It says that the work involved for the sixth unit would be similar to the fifth.

Among the expected changes to operations are higher Columbia River flows downstream of the dam during peak generation times.

Currently, BC Hydro says the dam is used as a “daily peaking plant, where the available water is used to maximize generation when load demand is high.”

During light load hours, the minimum flow is 5,000 cubic feet per second.

The sixth unit would allow BC Hydro to use the water differently, releasing up to 20 per cent more water with all six units operating for short periods of time during high-demand times.

The current water licence for Revelstoke Dam allows for a diversion limit of 90,000 cfs.

With advances in technology, the dam has the potential for increased output. BC Hydro is applying for an additional water licence of 3,000 cfs. If the licence is granted, the maximum facility discharge with all six units would be 93,000 cfs.

Revelstoke Reservoir would be minimally affected by the sixth turbine, says BC Hydro.

“Operation of the sixth generating unit would be expected to only cause small changes to the timing and amount of water level fluctuation within the current 1.5 metre operating range under normal conditions,” says BC Hydro. “BC Hydro would continue to occasionally operate Revelstoke reservoir at a lower minimum level during cold weather or unusual system conditions.

“All reservoir elevations and facility discharges elsewhere in the Columbia River system would be expected to stay within their current normal operating ranges.”

BC Hydro is also planning to build a new capacitor station west of the Summerland area.


 

@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dawn Low Interim CAO for Revelstoke for six months

She will be in the position until it is filled, it is not currently advertised

LETTER: Revelstoke Paddlesport Association opposed to gravel pit near Jordan River

City council has also expressed opposition to the gravel pit

Man arrested in Kelowna following Shuswap vehicle thefts, pursuit

Suspect wanted in Alberta allegdly also stole several vehicles near Sicamous over the weekend

City of Revelstoke trying to fill 11 positions

Jobs are available in a variety of departments

West Kelowna vet saves turtle from hook

Dr. Moshe Oz removed fish hook lodged in the turtle’s throat

Casa Loma residents petition to halt proposed Blackmun Bay project

West Kelowna City Council grants second reading for what would be the city’s largest development

The Okanagan’s master tailor from Chile

Sam Galvez started his business 6 years ago and hasn’t stopped loving it

Worried about bats? Here’s what to do if you come across one in B.C.

Bat expert with the BC Community Bat Program urges caution around the small creatures

Boat sails from trailer to pavement at Sicamous Highway 97A intersection

Alberta resident charged with transporting insecure load, failing to adequately connect trailer

Collision with hydro pole cuts power to thousands in the Shuswap

Minor injuries to the driver were reported; power was restored by the following morning

B.C. on right road with tougher ride-hailing driver rules, says expert

The provincial government is holding firm that ride-hailing drivers have a Class 4 licence

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

New home cost dips in B.C.’s large urban centres

Victoria, Kelowna, Vancouver prices decline from last year

Most Read