Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Monday, September 6, 2010

Water Power

Bella Coola has to have one of the original public "Run of the River" power projects.  Back in 1962 BC Hydro designed and built the Clayton Falls hydro generating project.  It's a brilliant installation.  In 1991 it was quadrupled in power output from 500 kw to 2000 kw (2 Mega watts).

It's brillliant because of it's low impact design.  It has a small headpond at the top of the rock canyon stretch of river that is virtually devoid of fish because it's steep and solid rock.  The water is diverted through two penstocks down the hill for maybe about 3/4 of km to the power house.  When they upgraded the facility in 1991 the tail race area was designed as piece of stable fish habitat complete with spawning gravel.  On average salmon year it's full of chum and pink salmon because it has gravel and the gravel doesn't get blasted out by the extreme fall freshets like it does in the rest of Clayton Falls Creek below the falls, which still provides some nice rearing habitat for salmon and trout.  When I stand and look at it in the summer and realize that it provides all the benefits for fish, BC Hydro maintains a first class picnic site and it's producing just about all the summer time power demand for the Bella Coola Valley, you realize what a gift it is.

I'm hopeful that the other run of the river power projects in BC are all being selected as wisely as this one was.  Grizzly

1 comment:

  1. The clean energy is good to see. Somehow I doubt that the run of the river gold rush that is occurring now in BC will produce results that are as low impact as Bella Coola's set up seems to be. Same with wind power. These should all be controlled by the people (government) not for profit industry.