Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.
TSX : KHD

Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc.

October 23, 2005 23:59 ET

New Hydro Facility on Mamquam River Provides Green Power

VANCOUVER--(CCNMatthews - Oct. 23) - A new privately funded, green hydro project near Squamish will deliver enough energy to power over 9,800 households per year, announced John Keating, CEO of Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. The 98,000 megawatt-hours per year of power produced by the plant will be sold to BC Hydro under a 20-year power sale contract, and BC Hydro has also purchased Renewable Energy Certificates from the project.

Keating made the remarks onsite today at the Grand Opening of the $39 million Upper Mamquam Hydro Plant located 10 kilometres east of the Town of Squamish and 40 kilometres north of Vancouver along the Sea to Sky Highway. The event marked the first day of the annual conference of the Independent Power Producers of British Columbia (IPPBC).

He added, "This new power plant is a perfect example of balancing the needs of the environment with responsible economic development. We know green electricity builds sustainable communities. Environmentally, the Upper Mamquam Hydroelectric Plant generates virtually zero emissions."

"Our ministry supports the independent power sector in B.C. in helping us maintain our low cost, reliable and environmentally sustainable power supply," said B.C. Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, Richard Neufeld. "This project demonstrates that our government's policies to encourage IPPs are working."

Environment Minister Barry Penner, who spoke at the event and toured the facility, said, "This project is a great example of how we can help meet the energy needs of our growing province and still be sensitive to the environment. Innovative solutions and new technology will help keep the lights on while maintaining British Columbia's leadership role in protecting the environment."

The 25-megawatt project is located upstream of a 15-metre waterfall on the Mamquam River. Run-of-river hydro plants, which do not require dams, rely on the natural downward flow of the stream to guide water through pipes to a generating station. The force of the water spins a turbine, which drives an electric generator that creates electricity. Of the two major types of hydro projects, the environmental 'footprint' of run-of-river facilities is considered low-impact compared to the facilities that have large storage reservoirs.

"Alternative energy projects can bring economic benefits to a community, and we are pleased to have Canadian Hydro in Squamish," said Mayor Ian Sutherland. Economically, this project contributes to the local tax base, creates employment and provides business to local suppliers, and socially, the project demonstrates key community values of working together for everyone's benefit. Community groups involved in bringing the project to the Squamish area include the Squamish First Nations, BC Hydro, various levels of government and outdoor recreational organizations.

"Independent power producers are one of the key priorities for BC Hydro when it comes to meeting the province's future electricity needs," said BC Hydro's Manager of Power Acquisitions and Contract Management, Dave Kusnierczyk. "The Upper Mamquam project is an exceptional example of how the industry can step up to the plate and help BC Hydro meet its goal of electrical self-sufficiency."

Construction for the power plant started in November 2003 and was completed in July 2005 taking less time than the typical two-and-a-half years normally required for a project this size. "The timing and quality of completion of this project demonstrates a high level of operational excellence," said Keating.

The distance from the water intake to the powerhouse of the Upper Mamquam Hydroelectric Project is 1.7 kilometres. At full flow, 513 million gallons of water per day (at 27 cubic meters per second) will pass through the turbines. Unique features of the plant include a 145 metre tunnel allowing the buried steel penstock to pass through a rock wall; a bypass valve for uninterrupted river flow; the project's proximity to an urban area; and, its location just upstream of another run-of-river hydro facility.

Now that the plant is operational, Canadian Hydro will seek certification as a Green Power facility under the Environmental Choice Ecologo(M) program. To qualify for the Ecologo(M) standard, a green power project must be from a renewable resource, as well as be environmentally and socially responsible.

Canadian Hydro is passionate about building a sustainable future by providing future generations with reliable, efficient and affordable electricity supplies. The company is a developer, owner and operator of 17 low impact, renewable energy power plants using wind, water and biomass.

For more information about Canadian Hydro, please visit www.canhydro.com.

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