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For Immediate Release
April 25, 2007
Ministry of Environment
VICTORIA – Plutonic Power Corporation (the proponent) has received provincial environmental certification for two integrated run-of-river hydroelectric power plant facilities, Environment Minister Barry Penner and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Richard Neufeld announced today.
The project, which will have a combined capacity to produce 196 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity, will be located on two sites upstream of the Toba River in Toba Inlet, north of Powell River.If completed, the project will help reduce British Columbia’s reliance on imported electricity, without producing greenhouse gas emissions, by generating enough electricity in an average year to meet the needs of 70,000 homes. The proponent was offered an electricity purchase agreement to supply BC Hydro with electricity for 35 years as a result of the 2006 BC Hydro open call for power.
Ministers Penner and Neufeld made the decision after considering the details of a comprehensive review led by B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO).
The proposed project also triggered a screening level review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The EAO and federal agencies harmonized the environmental assessment process and prepared a joint Assessment Report/Screening Report for decision makers. Based on this report, the EAO has concluded that the project will have no significant environmental, social or health effects on the surrounding area.
Before the project can proceed, the proponent will still need to obtain the necessary provincial licences and leases, as well as regulatory approval from the responsible federal authorities.
The provincial environmental assessment certificate contains 77 commitments that the proponent must implement throughout the various phases of the project. Some key commitments include:
~ Mitigation measures to protect:
-Wildlife and wildlife habitat, including observation of construction time windows.
-Fish and fish habitat, including maintenance of safe water temperature levels and streamflow requirements.
~ Protection of areas of cultural significance to the Klahoose First Nation, Sliammon First Nation and Sechelt Indian Band.
~ Development and implementation of compensation and monitoring programs.
~ Appointment of an environmental co-ordinator responsible for implementing and monitoring all environmental programs.
The project’s capital costs are approximately $450 million and it is expected to create 650 person-years of employment during construction and 20 permanent positions during operations. The proponent anticipates paying approximately $1.4 million in local property taxes per year, an average of $3.2 million annually in water rental fees, as well as applicable federal and provincial income taxes.
More information on the environmental certificate can be found at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.
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