Bridge River power plant gets an upgrade

Additional transformer should make system more reliable

There are times when redundancy is a good thing.

Particularly in power plants.

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BC Hydro will spend $10.9 million over the next year to upgrade its Bridge River generating plant at South Shalalth.

Program manager Navreet Kooner said work is ramping up now for the improvement project, which includes power line relocations and the addition of another transformer at the site. The project's scheduled completion date is August 2013. Kooner said site and environmental assessments were carried out earlier this spring.

"Our intent is to improve the capacity and reliability of the transmission system in the Bridge River-Lillooet area for the next planning horizon, which is 30 years," said Kooner

She said that without the improvements, the current station load would be "borderline overloaded" by next summer.

"We will be increasing capacity and reliability of that system in that area, which will give us redundancies because we'll have two transformers, not just one," added Kooner. "The addition of a transformer just means we can push more electricity onto that distribution system. If there's damage to the unit or a fault, again you have that backup redundancy."

Kooner said residents of Seton-Shalalth can expect to see small crews, consisting of three or four workers, moving in and out of the power plant site as various stages of the work get underway. Crews will be working in the transmission yard, Bridge River generating station #1 and the distribution asset yard.

She said crews will be living on site, using existing on site services.

Crews are not expected to be working during the winter.

"Winter site access is hard and we're trying to avoid winter construction in this area," Kooner said.

BC Hydro's Bridge River electric complex consists of three dams and stores water for four generating stations. The Bridge River complex is the third largest development in the BC Hydro system after the Peace and Columbia projects. It generates six to eight per cent of BC's electrical supply.

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