Canadian Manufacturing

195-MW B.C. hydroelectric facility undergoing final testing

AltaGas' Forrest Kerr facility undergoing 72-hour testing before launching commercial operations



CALGARY—AltaGas Ltd. said the final testing phase is underway on its $750-million Forrest Kerr hydroelectric facility in British Columbia before the project can go online under a power purchase agreement with the province’s utility.

Water began flowing at the 195-megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric facility about 1,000 kilometres north of Vancouver in April, and the project could be as little as three days away from commercial operations with final testing underway.

The project has faced months-long delays after it was tied into the province’s grid in July.

On July 12, BC Hydro placed its Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) into service, before connecting Forrest Kerr on July 30.

According to AltaGas, it was “notified of constraints” to the NTL that made it unable “to take full load from Forrest Kerr until Sept. 3.”

The commercial operation of the facility was further hampered following “heavy rainfall and extraordinarily high water levels on the Iskut River” late last month.

AltaGas said it removed Forrest Kerr from service before restarting operations Oct. 11.

“While we safely commissioned the plant on time and budget, we experienced some unforeseen challenges including significant transmission line constraints and a flooding event on the Iskut River,” David Harris, chief operating officer with AltaGas, said in a statement.

“Our strong relationship with BC Hydro and our dedicated teams enabled us to overcome these challenges.”

Forrest Kerr is supported by a 60-year power purchase agreement with BC Hydro.

The facility will provide enough electricity to power 70,000 B.C. homes.

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