Government representatives were joined by staff and executive from BluEarth Renewables Inc., local officials and members of the Squamish Nation for a Traditional Potlach Ceremony to celebrate the commissioning of the Culliton Creek Hydro Facility yesterday.
The Culliton Creek Hydro Facility is a 15-megawatt, run-of-river hydroelectric project located 20 kilometres north of Squamish. The facility will produce 74 gigawatt-hours of renewable, emissions-free electricity annually, enough to power about 5,900 homes. The project includes four main components:
- Intake: Earthfill embankment and concrete spillway with inflatable weir to divert water from Culliton Creek.
- Penstock: A 3.2-kilometre-long pipe (mostly buried) to deliver water downstream to the powerhouse.
- Powerhouse: Reinforced concrete structure housing two 7.5 megawatt turbines and related equipment, and a concrete/rip-rap tailrace to return flow back to Culliton Creek.
- Transmission Line: 12.6 kilometres of 69 kilovolt wood-pole transmission line.
The project received an electricity purchase agreement with BC Hydro as part of the 2010 Clean Power Call.
The project is on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation. An Impact Benefit Agreement for the project was negotiated between BluEarth Renewables and the Squamish Nation.
In 2014, the B.C. government reached clean energy agreements with the Squamish Nation and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Through the revenue-sharing agreements, the First Nations will receive a share of water rentals and land rents charged by the Province for licences issued to BluEarth for the life of the Culliton Creek facility. The revenue-sharing agreements are the result of the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund, which promotes First Nations participation in the clean energy sector.
During peak construction periods on the project, there were approximately 80 workers on site. Members of the Squamish Nation made up 13% of the total workforce.
Greater than 80% of the development and procurement costs for the project were sourced in British Columbia, with an estimated $3 million spent locally in the Sea to Sky corridor. About 20 local vendors contributed goods and services to the project, including at least four Squamish Nation businesses.
BluEarth Renewables Inc. is a private, independent, renewable power producer headquartered in Calgary that develops, builds and operates wind, run-of-river hydroelectric, and solar generation facilities across North America. BluEarth Renewables has two additional run-of-river hydro facilities currently in operation in British Columbia: McNair Creek (10 megawatts) near Gibsons and Tyson Creek (nine megawatts) north of Sechelt. BluEarth’s Narrows Inlet Hydro Project (33 megawatts) north of Sechelt is under construction and is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.
Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines –
“Last year 98 per cent of the energy generated in B.C. was from clean or renewable resources, and private-sector clean energy projects like the Culliton Creek Hydro Facility are a big part of our diversified energy supply. In government, we value the partnerships we have built with companies like BluEarth Renewables to meet our energy needs and we fully support First Nations’ participation in clean energy projects and natural resource management.”
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“Our government is ensuring that B.C. First Nations are able to participate and benefit from the clean energy sector. The Culliton Creek Hydro Facility is an example of this commitment and we are proud to support it. In addition to Squamish Nation’s revenue-sharing agreement with the Province, this project will ensure long-term economic benefit to the Nation.”
Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky –
“Congratulations to BluEarth Renewables, the Squamish Nation and everyone who has been part of building the Culliton Creek Hydro Facility and building the relationships that have grown with its development. This project shows what can be achieved when First Nations, the private renewable power industry and government work together to develop clean energy resources in First Nations traditional territories.”
Grant Arnold, CEO, BluEarth Renewables Inc. –
“A project like Culliton Creek takes years of dedication and collaboration. It is because of the work of many staff, vendors, contractors, government departments and community members that we are able to celebrate this milestone for BluEarth Renewables. We are grateful to the people of the Squamish Nation for sharing their land and good will, and we look forward to a prosperous relationship for decades to come.”
Paul Kariya, executive director, Clean Energy BC –
“BluEarth Renewables, the Squamish Nation and all involved in the Culliton Creek hydro project are to be congratulated for meeting the three core principles essential to natural resource developments in a climate changing world; protect the environment, build legacy infrastructure and enable sustainable economic development. Well done.”
Mark Poweska, senior vice-president, Training, Development and Generation, BC Hydro –
“Independent clean power projects play an important role in B.C.’s electricity system. These projects now make up about 25 per cent of the province’s annual power supply. Projects like the Culliton Creek facility reinforce our commitment to creating economic development opportunities for communities and First Nations in the clean energy sector.”
- Demand for electricity in B.C. is expected to increase by approximately 40% over the next 20 years as the province’s population grows by over a million people.
- BC Hydro has electricity purchase agreements with 109 private-sector renewable energy projects that are currently delivering power to BC Hydro, and 22 electricity-purchase agreements with projects currently in development.
- British Columbia’s clean power industry has attracted more than $8.6 billion in investment, and the money is spent in local economies, including the province’s north and interior regions.
- The private renewable power sector has to date supported 15,970 direct, full-time- equivalent (FTE) person-years of construction employment in every region of the province—with another 4,543 FTE person years of employment in the works on forthcoming projects.
- In October 2015, the provincial government and BC Hydro signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Clean Energy Association of British Columbia that supports continued collaboration to deliver clean, reliable and affordable electricity to British Columbians.
- Since 2011, government has invested more than $7.1 million in the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to support clean energy opportunities for more than 100 successful Aboriginal applicants throughout B.C.
- Today, 32 First Nations have signed 41 clean energy revenue-sharing agreements with the B.C. government. British Columbia is the first province to share revenues from private-sector renewable-energy projects, mining and other resources with First Nations.
BluEarth Renewables: www.bluearth.ca
Clean Energy BC: https://www.cleanenergybc.org/
First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund: