Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project
The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project will produce enough power to match the total annual energy consumption at Whistler Blackcomb. It will return back into the power grid what Whistler Blackcomb takes off the grid. While the company still has a ways to go, this is a significant start.
Located entirely within Whistler Blackcomb’s operating area, the run-of-river project will produce 33 gigawatt hours of hydro electricity per year – the equivalent of powering the ski resort’s winter and summer operations including 38 lifts, 17 restaurants, 270 snowguns and countless other buildings and services.
The Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Project has a single turbine with a capacity of 7.9 megawatts.
Soaring high in the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola at 436m/1,427 feet above Fitzsimmons Valley, you will see the Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy project below. This photo was taken during Winter 2008.2009 during mid-construction.
The Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy Project is owned by Fitzsimmons Creek Hydro Limited Partnership, a partnership between Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. and Ledcor Power Group. Whistler Blackcomb is a strategic partner in the project. The power generated by the project will be sold to British Columbia’s hydro electric utility, BC Hydro and Power Authority under a 40-year term.
After six years of studies and planning, Whistler Blackcomb is very confident that the Fitzsimmons Creek is an ideal stream for a run-of-river project. The creek area provides the ultimate conditions for a successful small hydro electric project:
- there is an abundance of water
- the area has the necessary vertical drop
- the diversion reach (stream length between the intake and powerhouse) is not fish-bearing
- it is not used recreationally within the project area.
- The creek is already tied extensively into Whistler Blackcomb’s snowmaking system
- much of the area that has been developed for this project runs along an existing access road for Whistler Blackcomb’s operations.
- The project does not require above-ground transmission lines and the lines can be buried through a previously disturbed area.
The project also supports the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s 2020 plan, which lays out a vision for success through 2020 based on the three pillars of sustainability; economic, social and environmental.
July - October 2008
- Groundbreaking begins
- Spillway structure completed
- Penstock installation adjacent to the WSC started
- Powerhouse excavation
- Major equipment ordered
March - September 2009
- Crews installed and then buried 3.5km of penstock (pipeline).
- Completion of concrete work on penstock, intake and powerhouse.
- Graded and seeded the right-of-way for re-growth over the buried penstock.
- Erected the powerhouse superstructure.
- Received and commenced installation of the single turbine.
- The 450m-long transmission line installed and buried.
- Electrical equipment and generator will be delivered to site and installed in the powerhouse.
- Interior work on powerhouse including HVAC, plumbing and architectural.
Commissioning and Commercial Operation Date is expected to occur in late November to early December with the anticipation that the run-of-river project will be producing power by Christmas.
Recently, Whistler Blackcomb was awarded the Golden Eagle Award for Overall Environmental Excellence at the 2010 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) National Convention and Tradeshow. Golden Eagle judges recognized Whistler Blackcomb's involvement in the development of the Fitzsimmons Creek Renewable Energy project.