Main civil works construction begin for Canada's 1.1-GW Site C hydropower project

Site C Hydropower Plant

The construction of main civil works for British Columbia's 1.1-GW Site C hydroelectric plant are now under way, owner BC Hydro announced yesterday.

A C$1.75 billion contract for the work was awarded in January to consortium Peace River Hydro Partners, which is made up by Acciona Infrastructure Canada Inc., Petrowest Corp. and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.

Specified in the main civil works contract are:

  • The excavation of bout 32 million cubic meters for structures, including the approach channel and tailrace;
  • River diversion works, including construction of two 10.8 m internal diameter concrete-lined tunnels between 700 m and 800 m in length, and associated cofferdams, intake and outlet structures;
  • Construction of an earthfill central-core zoned earth embankment dam about 1,050 m long and 60 m above the present river level; and
  • Construction of a roller-compacted concrete buttress about 800 m in length with a maximum height of 70 m.

Site C, to be located on the Peace River, is intended to help the province meet what BC Hydro said will be a 40% increase in power demand over the next two decades.

"British Columbia is leading the country in economic growth," B.C. Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett said. "Building Site C is crucial for our province to maintain its competitive advantage of low cost, reliable, clean energy that attracts investment and drives economic development."

The utility said construction of the $8.8 billion plant alone will create 10,000 person-years of employment, with about 1,500 total workers to be employed at the peak of building.

"I'm pleased to see Peace River Hydro Partners hiring workers from the region," said Pat Pimm, Member of Legislative Assembly for Peace River North. "There are more than 100 local companies benefitting from Site C construction. As construction activities ramp up, I'm expecting to see many more local workers and companies involved in project construction." reported in April that BC Hydro had selected Voith Hydro to design, supply and install hydromechanical equipment for the project.

Site C will be the third hydroelectric project on the Peace River, joining 2,730-MW G.M. Shrum and 694-MW Peace Canyon. The site was chosen for potential development in 1976.

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