Mayor, BC Hydro CEO cut ribbon at micro hydro generator

Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman and BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald cut the ribbon. Photo by Montana Cumming

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald is in town today, and took a look at the Fort St. John Micro-Hydro generating station while she was here.

It’s the first 100kW net-metering installation in all of B.C, the generator utilizes energy available in the gravity discharge of the sewer effluent from one of our treatment facilities. The City worked with BC Hydro to change their net metering limit from 50kW to 100kW.

It has a 100kW turbine, a generator, associated controls. Plus, 800 metres of 300 millimetre-diametre penstock that was installed parallel to the existing discharge pipe down the hillside.

“It’s no surprise at all that its the Energetic City that figures out something this ingenious, working with great partners at Urban Systems, and saw the potential here,” said BC Hydro’s CEO, Jessica McDonald.

The generator will create 100kW, which is equal to about 780 MWh annually — and enough to supply power for 70 homes. It’s estimate the generator will create about $75,000 to $80,000 per year of revenue for Fort St. John, the City says.

“It showcases what communities can do when they’re innovative in their approach to leaving a lighter footprint and bringing some return back to the communities as well,” said Mayor of Fort St. John, Lori Ackerman.

The turbine has been operating since October 2015.

The City says the turbine works more effectively with higher pressure, and a new pipe needed to be  installed to use it to its full potential. Controls keep the head pressure consistent to the turbine.

The generator is within a 8.6 metre by 6.6 metre concrete building, which includes a control room and turbine room, as well as all the associated systems.

Recently, the project was awarded from the Association of Consulting Engineering 2016 awards ceremony for engineering excellence.

The project costed $1.4 million, but the City says they received a grant through the Provincial Gas Tax Grant program for $1.1 million of the cost.