Design and Operation of the Multi-Intake 16 MW Box Canyon Run-of-River Hydroelectric Project

Author: Benoit Otis
Conference: HydroVision 2017
Date: June 27-30, 2017

The 16 MW Box Canyon Hydroelectric facility, located in southwest British Columbia, Canada was commissioned in early 2016. Knight Piésold Ltd. was retained by Box Canyon Hydro Corporation (a subsidiary of Elemental Energy) for the development phase, detail design and construction phases of the facility. The facility is comprised of three main water intakes, and six small tributary intakes. The water conveyance system includes approximately 7 km of pipeline connecting all intakes to a single 1 km (0.6 mile) long buried high-pressure steel penstock diverting generation flows of up to 3.96 m3/s. The facility operates under a gross head of 516.90 m.

Long-term (>20 years) synthetic stream flow datasets were developed for each creek, based on stream flow monitoring and a concurrent long-term regional discharge dataset. Detailed hydraulic analyses at varying discharge conditions for each creek was required to design a balanced water conveyance system, while also  determining the available gross head, net head and hydraulic transient conditions during the operations of the

Hydraulic analyses were completed using fluid dynamics principles and with KYPIPE analysis software. This allowed for comparison of the results and impacts of the theoretical considerations including friction losses and minor losses of the pipelines and penstock. Head losses and hydraulic transient conditions were detailed to define the operation ranges of the facility and to design and select the facility’s equipment. Penstock and pipelines materials were optimized in order to improve performance and lower the overall capital costs of the facility. Valves, instrumentation and generating equipment required careful selection for optimum operation at all design flow conditions, operation pressures and maximum efficiency. This paper and presentation will provide an overview of the key design challenges and innovative solutions conceived in the development of this multi-intake high-head run-of-river hydroelectric facility.


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