Inside the $900-million Waneta Expansion Project

Kootenay Business magazine went on a tour of the Waneta Expansion Project near Trail, B.C.

An older gentleman and a women standing above the turbines inside Waneta.

Wally Penner, regional project manager for SNC-Lavalin Inc. (the main contractor on the Waneta Expansion Project) and Audrey Repin, spokesperson for the Waneta Expansion Project, are standing inside the massive generating station of the new Waneta powerhouse. — Robert Hawkins photo

The Waneta Expansion Project, which is located downstream from the Waneta Dam south of Trail, B.C., is now up and running. With a total of $900 million invested, this hydroelectric plant is state of the art, and Kootenay Business magazine was recently treated to a tour of it.

Wally Penner proudly displays the Kootenay Business cover story from over four years ago when the Waneta project was just beginning. — Robert Hawkins photo

“The scale of it is breathtaking,” said Keith Powell, publisher of Kootenay Business magazine, after returning from the tour.

The project, which began in 2010, saw the construction of two underground tunnels designed to carry water from the Waneta Dam to two massive turbines that are situated in a 335-megawatt powerhouse, as well as the installation of a 10-kilometre transmission line that runs from Waneta to BCHydro's Selkirk Substation.

The facility is capable of generating enough annual power for 60,000 homes.

Here are some photos of the inner workings of this impressive project: 

In order to lift the generators, cranes had to be built right into the facility. The main powerhouse crane has a lifting capacity of 440 tonnes. — Robert Hawkins photo

Water flows from the Waneta Dam through tunnels to the two Francis turbines in the powerhouse. — Robert Hawkins photo

Because the area is a crucial breeding habitat for the endangered white sturgeon, the Waneta project managers had to come up with a system to prevent these fish from being harmed. Pictured here are the sturgeon exclusion gates. — Robert Hawkins photo

Right now, the facility is being commissioned. Divers perform underwater checks to ensure everything is safe and ready for startup. — Robert Hawkins photo

It is safety first on the Waneta project. Everyone on site needs to adhere to a strict lock-in, lock-out procedure. — Robert Hawkins photo

Wally Penner and Audrey Repin stand in front of new Waneta powerhouse with the original Waneta Dam in the background. — Robert Hawkins photo

The key players in the Waneta project: Columbia Power Corporation's Giulio Ambrosone; Columbia Basin Trust CEO Neil Muth and Fortis executive vice-president John Walker — Robert Hawkins photo

Marion Eunson, who is the liaison for the Ktunaxa Nation, and Wally Penner stand in the SNC-Lavalin offices in front of artwork depicting the First Nations creation story. — Robert Hawkins photo

Kirsten Armleder

Kirsten is a staff writer and photographer for Kootenay Business who enjoys learning more about the people who help this region thrive. View all of Kirsten Armleder’s articles

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