Oct 29 – Nov 14, 2012
We were eventually encouraged to address Nalcor directly. So I did. My first question in the Fall of 2012 was about Dredging Sand. Mandy was prompt, so I asked more about alternative energy and clarification on the issues surrounding clearing the land.
I have to say, this particular line of questions were well answered and helpful, until she started directing me into the heart of the documentation, which one would not necessarily call “reader-friendly”:
Contact email: LowerChurchill@nalcorenergy.com
I am curious as to the plan to control the build up of sand against the dam structure at the lower Churchill.
I understand that the Grand River is quite sandy, such that the sand dunes in the river shift frequently. Such conditions would suggest there would be a continuous need to dredge the reservoir. What is the plan to ensure the longevity of the site? How frequent would the area have to be cleared and what is the anticipated impact on the fish that might eventually come back to live in the new reservoir?
Thank you in advance for your reply.
The sedimentation and geomorphology of the river has been modelled and we have a comprehensive understanding of the the future reservoir conditions (refer to the attached component studies). Although there will be some sedimentation behind the dam, estimated to be approximately 1 million cubic meter per year, the volume represents only 0.1% of the entire reservoir capacity. As well, regardless of reduction in reservoir capacity the deposition of material would have no impact on the net head of the facility or power production. As such there would be no impact to the longevity of the site. Based on factors there would be no requirement to dredge the reservoir and no impact to fish populations that will currently exist and will continue to exist in the new reservoir.
Thank you for that response, that certainly is a major concern of mine as I was reviewing information about the project. It is good to know that the reservoir is anticipated to normalize in some way.
Another two questions I have as I watch the videos on the new Power Is In Our Hands are also environmental.
1 — There is mention of Wave energy in the videos. What models were used in studying wave energy for NL? and Is there plans to develop these?
2 — Though I appreciate that the Lower Churchill development will eventually result in less Green House Gas emissions then running Holyrood as is into the future, however initially there is a significant foot print. Has there been work to enumerate the emissions that will result from flooding and how long it will take for those emissions to reduce to natural levels? Are there maps of the flood planes for the two projects and what area of that land will be fully cleared (versus the steeper hills which I understand will not be able to be fully cleared)?
I am really trying to get my head around the project and the environmental information seems less emphasized then the economics.
In response to question #1 : Despite some limited successes, neither tidal nor wave power has become a commercial mainstream source of renewable energy. Consequently, NLH screened out the use of wave and tidal power as an alternative supply option for the Isolated Island alternative.
Further information can be found in Nalcor’s submission to the PUB for the Muskrat Falls review on Page 82, section: 4.2.11 Wave and Tial
I am still working on the information to your second question.
Please find the remainder of the information you requested below.
Nalcor has completed extensive studies regarding the production of greenhouse gases during impoundment and operation phases of the Lower Churchill Project. The results, as described in the EIS, Volume IIA, Chapter 3, can be found on the Nalcor website at the following link:
Nalcor has provided additional detail in their responses to information requests from the Joint Review Panel during the environmental assessment which will be available at the above link. Nalcor’s responses to information Requests JRP.7/7S and JRP.85/85S explains in detail the potential displacement of greenhouse gas emitting energy sources in the market and the estimated emissions from the construction and operating phases of the Project. Modelling studies have indicated that the long term emissions from the project are negligible compared to the potential for displacement.
JRP. 148 describes the analysis completed to determine the clearing to occur during reservoir preparation activities. The estimated area and to be removed for the optimal option and the ‘full clearing’ option are indicated in Table 1. The chosen option includes 1800ha of clearing, as compared to the 3300ha for full clearing. As indicated in JRP.85, Table 1, a comparison of three levels of clearing (including ‘no clearing’), reveals minimal discrepancy in greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the removal of additional vegetation from the reservoirs would not provide a significant reduction in emissions.
Inundation mapping for the Muskrat Falls and Gull Island reservoirs can be found in JRP. 96. The Muskrat Falls reservoir will be 41 km2, which is relatively small as compared to similar size hydroelectric projects.
This all came with a load of attachments …