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Power generator, Canada

Protecting salmon while generating power

A power station on Vancouver Island is upgraded to power 80,000 homes.

Opportunity

Built in 1947, the John Hart Generating Station is located in Elk Falls Provincial Park on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. About 95% of the Campbell River, a popular destination for recreational fishermen, passes through the aging infrastructure of the hydropower plant. The area has been dubbed the “Salmon Capital of the World.”

The station’s generating units were in poor condition, and their capacity had declined over time. The original woodstave surface penstocks were seismically vulnerable and considered unlikely to withstand a low to moderate earthquake. An interruption in the flow of water could be devastating for the salmon population and the clean, reliable power supply to Vancouver Island.

Solution

As part of a design-build-finance-maintain project, Mott MacDonald was retained as the lender’s technical advisor to provide due-diligence review of the bid and design process, construction monitoring, and commissioning.

We also provided specialist review services for the design-build works, and undertook regular site inspections to monitor progress.

Outcome

The new underground generating station, almost invisible to park visitors, improves access to trails and the river.

New tunnels and a new powerhouse ensure more reliable water flows and clean power generation, improve public safety, reduce the environmental footprint, and safeguard the salmon habitat downstream of the project.

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