ABB Partners With HSL Automation to Build an Integrated Electrical Solution for the Temporary Fishway at the Site C Project in Northern BC

November 25, 2020

This solution will mitigate the environmental impact of building a major dam and hydroelectric project on the Peace River. This fishway is temporary as the dam construction will include a permanent integrated fishway, at which point the temporary fishway will no longer be required.

Canadian utility BC Hydro is building a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northern British Columbia. The project, with 1,100 megawatts (MW) capacity, will produce enough electricity to power nearly 450,000 homes every year.

As part of its efforts to mitigate environmental impacts of the project, BC Hydro has constructed a passage to allow migratory fish to continue their trip up the river. The passage will allow fish to access spawning habitats, thereby avoiding any adverse impact on the aquatic ecosystem of the river.

ABB and HSL Automation teams worked together to provide a cost-effective solution to power the pumping systems of the passage. They collaborated with the engineering team of the project and developed an in-depth understanding of the requirements of the pumping system. They then worked to build a custom solution, based on ABB’s product portfolio and HSL’s expertise.

The solution consists of two ABB Evolution 9000 MCC (Motor Control Centres) with a NEMA 3R degree of protection, five ABB ACQ580 VFD installed in the MCCs and one 500HP ACS880 VFD in a custom NEMA 3R outdoor panel built by HSL. Active harmonic filters are integrated in the MCC to ensure the power feed is clean of distortion. The proximity of the fish crowder, sorter and hoist required that the MCCs were well protected against dripping and splashing water.

The system was commissioned by HSL’s ABB certified technicians in September is now ready to operate.

“The wide product offering of ABB combined with HSL’s knowhow led to an optimized solution that met all the needs of the project,” says Steve Hoyland, co-owner of HSL Automation and lead designer of the solution.

This power system is testament to ABB’s commitment towards creating effective solutions for customers while safeguarding the environment. The Site C project will help B.C. meet its electricity needs, expected to grow by almost 40 per cent over the next two decades.

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