August 16 (Renewables Now) - The Alberta Utilities Commission has given the thumbs-up to a 75-MW pumped storage hydroelectric project by WindRiver Power Corp subsidiary Turning Point Generation, it was announced earlier this week.
The Canyon Creek project will use existing site infrastructure from a decommissioned open pit coal mine near Hinton. Turning Point said that once operational, the energy storage facility will be able to supply power for up to 37 hours at full output. The closed-loop, off-stream design limits significantly the adverse environmental impacts to Alberta's natural river courses.
Turning Point president and chief executive Kipp Horton believes that pumped hydro energy storage will be of critical importance for Alberta as the grid gets more and more power from renewable energy sources, particularly large-scale wind.
The province of Alberta is in the process of introducing a capacity market, which, according to Turning Point’s lead of technical developments Peter Bubik, is “well-suited to the project”. Earlier this summer the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) presented the final design of the capacity market, the first auction of which is planned for 2019 with first delivery of capacity in 2021.
WindRiver develops and operates run-of-river hydro and wind power capacity.