Beginning in 2008, BC Hydro faced a major challenge to make substantial investment in new and renovated dams, hydroelectric, and transmission and distribution infrastructure. To meet this demand and enhance delivery of its capital projects, BC Hydro hired MWH to create a capital improvement delivery platform. As part of the contract, BC Hydro and MWH established an integrated team that includes business governance and project planning and controls groups to implement best project management practices on three major capital improvement projects: John Hart, Ruskin and Upper Columbia.

“We’re confident that the improvements to BC Hydro’s new capital delivery capability, including knowledge, processes and tools will yield real benefits in the years ahead,” said Chris O’Riley, executive vice president of the Engineering, Aboriginal Relations and Generation Division of BC Hydro. “The capital delivery environment is like a one-stop shop: new processes aligned to the project lifecycle, detailed steps for responsible delivery, supporting documents in one location and robust scheduling and performance reporting. MWH has supplied very knowledgeable, capable people who have worked in our organization to get things done. We particularly like the way BC Hydro staff and MWH staff have integrated in programmatic delivery to add capability and capacity and to transfer knowledge.”

The contract between MWH and BC Hydro includes three phases of programmatic delivery engagement spanning three years: planning, establishment and implementation. The contract extension is part of the implementation phase and will cover activities through 30 June 2011.

During the establishment phase, the integrated team finalized the project life cycle and defined the governance structure associated with the projects. These project elements were then integrated into a single delivery process that included new systems and tools.

“MWH is thrilled at the opportunity to continue working to improve the delivery of BC Hydro’s capital improvement projects,” said Bruce Howard, president of MWH Business Solutions Group, the strategic consulting arm of MWH. “We look forward to growing this collaborative team and participating in the ongoing enhancements and knowledge sharing practices that enable employees of BC Hydro and MWH to work together to successfully deliver projects.”

MWH is currently supporting BC Hydro by fulfilling key roles to implement a new project investment system for capital improvement projects. The team is in the process of incorporating additional BC Hydro capital improvement projects into the system.

The John Hart, Ruskin and Upper Columbia Capital Projects

The aging John Hart facility, in operation since 1947, needs significant capital investment in the powerhouse and penstocks to ensure reliable long-term generation and to mitigate earthquake risk and environmental risk to fish and fish habitat. BC Hydro is analyzing options to replace or rehabilitate the existing six-unit, 126MW generating station, including an integrated emergency bypass capability to minimize river flow disruption and mitigate impacts to fish habitats.

The existing Ruskin Generating Station, built in 1930, is at the end of its service life and requires significant capital expenditures to continue to operate safely and reliably. BC Hydro is analyzing options to rehabilitate the powerhouse to meet current seismic standards for earthquakes and replace major generating equipment, which are in poor or unsatisfactory condition.

BC Hydro has commenced project definition for the Upper Columbia Capacity Additions at Mica and has filed Project Descriptions for the construction of Mica Units 5 and 6 with the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Each additional unit would provide approximately 500 MW of capacity. The Mica Generating Station was designed as a six-unit generation station; however, when the facilities were constructed, only four units were installed and two bays were left empty.