Developer shelves 65-MW Similkameen hydropower plant in British Columbia

British Columbia Map

Fortis Generation Similkameen LP has shelved plans to develop the 45- to 65-MW Similkameen River hydroelectric project on the Similkameen River in British Columbia.

Fortis Generation Similkameen, a unit of Fortis Generation Inc. (TSX: FTS) said Sept. 4 that results of its most recent feasibility studies found the hydro project not financially viable. Last year, Fortis had said it was in the process of public consultations, interaction with First Nations groups and feasibility studies.

The proposed 165-meter-tall concrete dam was expected to have usable water storage and provide between 45 and 65 MW of capacity as well as water management benefits.

Research regarding the potential for a water storage facility on the Similkameen River (HydroWorld 8/19/13) began in 1990, with subsequent studies showing such a project could not only assist in flood reduction within the river's basin, but also improve water quality and increase summer flows in the Lower Similkameen.

"We believe that building a water storage hydroelectric facility on the Similkameen River would create many benefits for the area," project manager Joseph Sukhnandan said. "However, based on the results of our latest engineering and economic studies, we determined the project is not financially viable at this time."

Fortis said it might re-evaluate the project in the future based on customer demand and market conditions.

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