Fortis Generation Inc. is starting the next phase of public consultation, First Nations engagement and feasibility studies for the construction of a water storage/hydroelectric generation facility located on the Similkameen River approximately 15 kilometres south of Princeton, British Columbia.
Expected to have useable water storage and deliver between 45 to 65 megawatts of electrical capacity, its size and scope is relatively small in comparison to other facilities in British Columbia. Once operational, the facility would provide a source of reliable, clean and renewable base load electrical energy to be consumed by British Columbians.
Fortis Generation is working with the Province of British Columbia to obtain the investigative permit needed to access land parcels for conducting technical and environmental studies necessary to evaluate the viability of the project. Should the investigative studies determine the project is economically, technically and environmentally feasible, Fortis Generation would begin application for long-term lease arrangements for the land.
“Fortis Generation believes it’s important to reach out to communities and share information when a project is in the early stages of consideration,” said Joseph Sukhnandan, Project Manager. “There remains at least two years’ worth of technical and environmental review and studies, continued discussions with local governments and First Nations, and broader public consultation to create a viable project for all stakeholders.”
Research into the feasibility of a water storage facility on the Similkameen began in 1990. A 2009 study conducted by a regional stakeholder group found that potential benefits from such a facility could include flood reduction in the Similkameen Basin, improved water quality in the lower Similkameen River and increased summer flows in the lower Similkameen River.
Fortis Generation continues to build on these studies and, since 2009, has had continued discussions with local government, provincial government and First Nations in the area.
“The project would provide considerable economic benefits to the area and create construction jobs,” said Sukhnandan. “The facility would also become an important tax payer once operational.”