New John Hart generating station in Campbell River reaches major milestone

New John Hart generating station in Campbell River reaches major milestone

WATCH: BC Hydro planned for years to put the first turbine generator at the new generating station online July 21 and it happened on schedule.

Eleven years after planning first began and four years after construction started, one of three new generators at the John Hart Generating Station Replacement Project in Campbell River has been turned on, right on schedule.

“We had a date in mind of July 21 to have the first of the three new turbine generators in service and we hit it,” said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.

Hitting the date is a remarkable construction achievement considering what the $1.1 billion dollar project includes.

“It’s a massive project since the beginning,” added Watson.

“The excavation of 300,000 cubic metres of rock for the tunnels and the powerhouse cavern, you put in the civil works and the concrete and then you put in these new turbine generators, you test them, dry test them, wet test them. We did that last week in terms of water flow going through the first turbine and it’s officially commissioned as of Saturday, July 21.”

The final two turbine generators will be online by October 10 and the six old ones will be fully decommissioned.

Three generators will do the work six did before and will be able to produce 132 megawatts of electricity, a 10 per cent increase and enough to power 80,000 homes.

“But of course the project goals are safety, maintain reliability and protecting downstream fish habitat which this project will achieve,” said Watson.

The project puts most of the new system underground and at its peak had 500 people working on site.

“We peaked at about 500 people working on the project in June of last year,” said Watson. “There’s a few hundred now as we go towards the finish line but it’s amazing that we’ve gone 3.2 million person hours of work without a lost time accident.”

When the power is all switched over, work will begin on removing 1.8 kilometres of wood and steel penstocks that used to move the water above ground. As well, two of the three surge towers will come down and the old powerhouse will be taken down as well.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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