Two Canadian hydropower plants receive international Blue Planet Prize
The Sechelt Creek hydro generating station, owned by the Toronto-based Clean Power Income Fund was one of three projects chosen by an international jury to receive the 2005 Blue Planet Prize for "social, environmental and technical excellence" awarded by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) in association with UNESCO. Other projects awarded prizes were in Arrow Lakes, BC and in Nepal.
The award is made every two years for up to three projects worldwide, selected on the basis of criteria developed by the IHA and acknowledged by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The Sechelt project, a 16-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric facility in BC, commenced operations in 1997 and was acquired by the Fund in 2001. It is operated under contract by its original developer, Regional Power, a subsidiary of Manulife Financial.
In announcing its selection, the jury, made up of UNESCO and IHA representatives, said, "The Sechelt Creek Scheme... incorporates technical innovation in synergy with the local environment in a remote part of Canada. The scheme's intake and powerhouse have been designed to be as unobtrusive as possible. The development has also been successful in the re-establishment of a thriving salmon run. An important element of the scheme is the partnership with local Sechelt Indian Band and fisheries authorities, leading to benefits for the local community and the environment."
In addition to the 99 MW Erie Shores wind farm now under construction and scheduled to begin operating in April 2006, Clean Power Income Fund is invested in 44 power generating facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, BC and ten U.S. states with a total capacity of 450 MW. These include hydro, windpower, biomass and landfill gas recovery operations. The Clean Power Income Fund is responsible for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by some six million tonnes (CO2 equivalent) per year and is the first income fund to be certified under Canada's Environmental Choice(tm) program.