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Waneta Expansion Project powered up and running

Columbia Power
By Columbia Power
April 2nd, 2015

The Waneta Expansion Limited Partnership (WELP), a partnership between Fortis Inc., Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust, announced today that the Waneta Expansion Project near Trail is now online and generating power.

The $900 million 335 MW expansion adds a second powerhouse, immediately downstream of the Waneta Dam on the Pend d’Oreille River, that shares the existing hydraulic head and generates clean, renewable, cost effective power from water that would otherwise be spilled.

The project included construction of a 10 km, 230 kV transmission line and provides enough energy to power about 60,000 homes per year. Long-term agreements are in place with BC Hydro to purchase the energy and FortisBC to purchase the capacity from the project.  

Project benefits include the injection of over $300 million into the local economy through the purchase of goods and services and wages. Employment reached over 1,400 people.

The eighth largest infrastructure project in British Columbia, the Waneta Expansion Project was completed six weeks ahead of schedule and on budget while maintaining an excellent safety and environmental protection record.

“This project is a testament to the can-do attitude of British Columbians,” said John Walker, Executive Vice President, Western Canadian Operations, Fortis Inc. “As the majority owner, Fortis Inc. would like to thank all the workers that made this project a reality keeping it on budget and ahead of schedule.”

“The Waneta Expansion Project is not only benefitting our province by providing clean, reliable power, but it’s also helping local businesses thrive,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy, Mines and Responsible for Core Review. “This is a perfect example of a project that is committed to a high standard of quality, safety and environmental protection while delivering positive benefits to the local community.”

“As a partner, and the Owner’s Representative managing the project,” said Frank Wszelaki, President and Chief Executive Officer, Columbia Power Corporation “We are extremely proud of the project and thank the workers and SNC-Lavalin, the project contractor, for making this project a huge success.”  

“This achievement is the culmination of the vision and efforts of so many,” said Neil Muth, President and Chief Executive Officer, Columbia Basin Trust. “This project provided many direct benefits from jobs to local spending, and the region will continue to see benefits as the Trust uses the revenues to support well-being in Basin communities.”

The partners extend a huge thank you to the workers, contractors, First Nations, local communities, and the Community Impact Management Committee for their support throughout construction. To acknowledge the efforts of everyone who worked on the project, a keepsake book is being produced and a family BBQ is being planned. Register to receive your book and/or attend the BBQ at: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/waneta/.

An official opening presentation will occur in the coming months with project and local, regional and provincial government representatives.

Columbia Power manages construction of the Waneta Expansion Project on behalf of WELP. For more information please visit: columbiapower.org/wanetaexpansion.

WANETA EXPANSION PROJECT QUICK FACTS

  • Employed over 1,400 people.
  • During peak employment, there were over 50 apprentices on site.
  • 194 apprentices (from 13 trades) received skills training.
  • Over 70 per cent of the workforce came from within 100 km of the project.
  • 13 Ktunaxa Nation citizens, including trades apprentices and journeymen, worked on the project.
  • Regional spending on goods and services exceeded $220 million.
  • Project wages exceeded $95 million.
  • With over 3 million person hours logged there were only two minor lost time incidents and no major environmental incidents or concerns.
  • Will power about 60,000 homes per year through clean, renewable hydroelectric power.
  • $50,000 is awarded annually to research, physical works, and other on-the-ground or applied terrestrial compensation projects. The program will continue for three years following completion of the expansion project this year.
  • The project is situated in an area claimed as traditional territories by both the Ktunaxa Nation Council and Okanagan Nation Alliance. Benefit agreements with both First Nations were executed and the Owner and Contractors worked closely with First Nations to maximize opportunities and benefits.
  • Rock and overburden removed: enough to fill 82,000 tandem truckloads.
  • Concrete used: 85,000 m3, enough to fill over thirty Olympic sized swimming pools.
  • Completed all rock blasting without damage to any neighbouring facilities and without injury to white sturgeon. A Community Impact Management Committee met on a monthly basis to provide ongoing support to encourage positive community impacts and a forum to discuss and address issues raised by the community resulting from construction of the project. The committee includes local residents, members of local and regional government, First Nations and representatives from the Owner and Contractor.

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