Turbine, generator contract for Site C awarded

Photo by BC Hydro

VICTORIA, B.C. — Reaching what the province calls another milestone in construction of Site C, BC Hydro is awarding the $470-million contract for work on turbines and generators to Voith Hydro Inc.

The contract includes the design, supply and installation of six vertical axis turbines, six generators and related equipment. It is expected to create 400 person-years of employment and opportunities for millwrights, electricians, pipefitters, boilermakers, among other trades.

Voith has provided equipment for a number of BC Hydro projects in the past, including Revelstoke Unit 5 Project, the Ruskin Dam, and the GM Shrum Turbine Replacement Project.

Bill Malus, President and CEO of Voith Hydro Canada, says the company is proud to bring new power generation capacity to B.C.

“We remain committed to the continued development of clean, sustainable energy,” he stated.

BC Hydro CEO Jessica MacDonald told press today in Victoria that the contract calls for ‘highly, highly specialized work.’

“The performance of a turbine generator is absolutely critical to the success of a hydro electric project,” she said. “There’s only a limited number of companies internationally that are capable of supplying turbines and generators.”

A model of the turbine was created and underwent extensive testing at Voith’s laboratory in Germany, as well as an independent lab in Switzerland.

The Premier said this contract will add more work opportunities for British Columbians, specifically people in Peace Country.

“The jobs that this turbine contract will create will be added to 1,500 union and non-union jobs for the main civil works project,” B.C. Premier Christy Clark said. “It’s full of opportunities for British Columbians to be first in line for those jobs.”

According to a press release from BC Hydro, the corporation issued a Request for Qualifications in July 2012 and shortlisted three proponent teams to provide proposals for the contract. BC Hydro then received proposals from all three teams in July 2015.

“This award highlights a number of key benefits created by the Site C project including the creation of new jobs and new opportunities in the local community and within British Columbia,” said Peace River North MLA Pat Pimm.

Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier says, at a time when the local economy is being impacted by a downturn in the natural resource sector, “Site C is providing jobs and business opportunities for Peace region communities.”

For work on the turbines, Voith Hydro has negotiated a labour agreement with the British Columbia Building Trades Unions. The agreement includes participation from 10 BC Building Trades Unions for the installation of the turbines and generators for Site C.

“The skills and training of the craft workers that will install the six turbines and generators was a driving factor in the negotiation of the agreement for this part of the project,” said the Construction Labour Relations Association of BC’s president and CEO,Clyde Scollan.

Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett feels it’s ‘great to see the BC Building Trades getting jobs from this contract.’

The contract is included within the nearly-$9-billion cost for Site C.

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