By David F. Rooney
A 4,000 kilowatt-capacity independent hydroelectric project is being proposed for Moses Creek, which is best known for its lovely 14-metre waterfall 10 kilometres north of town off of Westside Road.
Proposed by former Glacier House Resort owners, Alex Szirmai and Lia Altena through a company called Moses Creek Power, this small, run-of-the-river project will — when completed — provide enough electricity for 822 BC homes.
According to documents sent to City Council by the Front Counter BC’s office on Begbie Road, the project is expected to produce 8.2 Gigawatthours of energy every year.
“If the equivalent amount of energy were produced using fossil fuel generation approximately 5,238 metric tons of CO2 emissions would be produced or the equivalent of the greenhouse gas emissions from 1,091 passenger vehicles or 23 railcars’ worth of coal each year,” says an engineer associated with the project.
The project consists of six main components including the Moses Creek intake, a 2,200-metre long penstock, a Beattie Creek diversion, powerhouse, transmission line, and 600 metres of access roads. The headworks are located at elevation 830 metres in the Moses Creek watershed and will consist of an intake and a two-metre high weir. The powerhouse will be located at elevation 532 m and will contain a Pelton turbine, generator, controls and switch gear. The powerline will be 360 metres long and connect to an existing BC Hydro 25kV powerline.
The project began three years ago the installation of a flow-monitoring station and then an application for a water licence and land tenure application. After that the proponents hired professionals to conduct assessments for potential project impacts on fish, wildlife, rare plants, archeology.
The environmental assessment has shown there are no fish in the two creeks. Moses Creek has a 14 m set of falls, followed by a bedrock chute directly downstream of these falls, located approximately 150 m from its confluence with the Columbia River which constitutes a complete barrier to upstream fish migration. Three years of fish sampling effort revealed no resident fish populations in the creek upstream of the 14 m falls.
Beattie Creek has an approximately 30 m bedrock falls and a series of chutes located about 970 m upstream from its mouth that represent a complete barrier to upstream fish migration. Two years of fish sampling efforts at two different sites revealed no resident fish populations in the creek upstream of this barrier.
The nearest fish bearing reach in Moses and Beattie Creek is 1 km and 2.5 km downstream of the diversion reach and intake, respectively.
The project consultant has consulted with stakeholders (Snowmobile Club, Revy Riders, and Rod and Gun Club) and First Nations (Shuswap Nation, Okanagan Nation Alliance, and Ktunaxa). All were supportive of the project.
Public comment was solicited through a recent print newspaper ad.
The project will apply for an energy purchase agreement from BC Hydro under their Standing Offer Program. Start of construction is being targeted for 2016 and taking 2 years to complete.
This is one of two independent power projects currently being proposed for the Revelstoke area. The other is proposed for Nine Mile Creek south of town.