The Kokish River Hydroelectric Project is a 45 MW run-of-river hydroelectric project located approximately 15 km east of Port McNeill, on the northeast coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Preliminary design and permitting activities were initiated in 2007 and the project was submitted as part of a competitive bid process in BC Hydro’s 2008 Clean Power Call. The project was awarded an energy purchase agreement (EPA) in 2010, and detailed design began in 2012, with construction starting in May 2012 and ending in April 2014 when commercial operation was achieved.
As the Lead Design Engineer, Knight Piésold worked closely with Owner Kwagis Power Limited Partnership (Brookfield Renewable Energy Group and ‘Namgis First Nation) and EPC Contractor Peter Kiewit Infrastructure Co. to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions that were able to meet the stringent permitting requirements.
Knight Piésold’s team was involved throughout project development and was responsible for project optimization, permitting assistance, and preliminary engineering before completing the detailed design. Other key project participants included Northwest Hydraulic Consultants for intake scale model testing and Rockwell Automation for the design of electrical components and control system. Ecofish Research also assisted with the permitting and fisheries aspects of the project.
The project incorporates an intake that diverts a portion of river flows from the Kokish River through a 9.2-km-long penstock into a surface powerhouse located adjacent to the lower reach of the river, where power is generated with four Pelton turbine-generating units from the diverted generation flow prior to being returned to the river. The project is interconnected to BC Hydro’s transmission system through a 0.65-km-long, 138 kV transmission line and interconnection substation to the BC Hydro grid. Access to the hydroelectric project site was facilitated by existing public roads and forestry roads in the Kokish River Valley.
Knight Piésold has received a number of engineering awards for the detailed design and construction supervision of the Kokish River Hydroelectric Project, recognizing the project’s unique solutions and innovative designs that cater to the sensitive environmental attributes of the site, primarily on the presence of steelhead trout and salmon throughout the diversion reach.
The Association of Consulting Engineering Companies–British Columbia (ACEC-BC) recognized the project with an Award of Merit in the Energy and Industry category at the 2015 ACEC-BC Awards for Engineering Excellence. The project was also honoured with a second place in ACEC-BC’s 2015 People’s Choice Poll.
Jointly with the Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies–Canada (ACEC) presented the project with an Award of Excellence at 2015 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.