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Protecting Canada’s Natural Beauty

Environmental performance case studies from the 2014 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, Engaged for a Sustainable Future.


CEA members are adopting innovative new solutions to manage the sector’s impact on our country’s ecosystems and biodiversity:

ATCO Electric plans better transmission routes using digital mapping

Building new transmission lines requires balancing environmental features with the footprint of the infrastructure. To guide its planning, ATCO Electric launched the Spatial Environmental Evaluation Dataset (SEED) Program, which uses digital mapping to give planners a visual representation of wetlands, water bodies, wildlife ranges, soil conditions, vegetation and existing land-use activities such as parks and agriculture. By making it easier to process vast amounts of ecological data, SEED is helping ATCO Electric identify sensitive areas and implement the necessary measures to minimize the environmental footprint of its transmission routes.

Columbia Power is constructing a new, environmentally-responsible transmission line

As part of the Waneta Expansion Project, Columbia Power Corporation constructed a 10-kilometre transmission line through a rare ecotype in Southern British Columbia. A number of measures were implemented to minimize environmental impact, including restricting construction activity during the nesting season of the endangered yellow-breasted chat. Through the Waneta Terrestrial Compensation Program, Columbia Power is providing $50,000 per year over seven years to projects supporting conservation and habitat restoration in the area of the transmission line.

Construction of the Waneta Expansions transmission line. Photo courtesy of Columbia Power Corporation.

FortisBC employees volunteer their time to protect endangered sturgeon

In May 2013, FortisBC Inc. employees volunteered at a sturgeon release event held by the Upper Columbia White Sturgeon Initiative to help teach the public about the importance of preserving endangered sturgeon. The FortisBC PowerSense group was on hand to help visitors understand the direct link between saving energy and protecting endangered species; increased energy demand increases the likelihood that new power generation facilities will have to be constructed to meet this demand, potentially putting other species at risk.

Newfoundland Power creates safe passage for salmon

In 2012, Newfoundland Power Inc. initiated construction of a salmon passage around its Rattling Brook Hydroelectric Development. Last year, downstream passage was achieved, with approximately 300 juveniles and a number of adults observed leaving the reservoir. As part of this project, Newfoundland Power is also required to provide upstream passage of adult salmon. A truck and transport method will be used, with the first adults moving from the plant tailrace to the upstream reservoir in 2014. NewfoundlandPowerSalmon

Newfoundland Power employee reviewing drawings for passage for juvenile salmon. Photo courtesy of Newfoundland Power Inc.

Ontario Power Generation recognized for woodland and wetland conservation

Ontario Power Generation’s Nanticoke Generating Station was nominated in 2013 by the Wildlife Habitat Council for its Corporate Habitat of the Year Award and was also a finalist in the Wings Over Wetlands and Prairies for Tomorrow award categories. These nominations were in recognition of Nanticoke’s ongoing biodiversity efforts, including the creation of a five-acre wetland on site, an area that was quickly colonized by birds, amphibians and turtles. Through its Corporate Biodiversity Program, Ontario Power Generation has helped plant more than 5,777,000 native trees and shrubs in strategic locations across Southern Ontario since 2000, expanding key forested areas and promoting the recovery of wildlife at risk. OPGNanticoke

A five-acre wetland near OPG’s Nanticoke Generation Station. Photo courtesy of Ontario Power Generation Inc.

TransCanada takes a hands-on approach to monitoring impact on animal behaviour

Actively supporting research programs contributing to habitat conservation and restoration, TransCanada uses lidar (light detection and ranging) and GPS data to gain a better understanding into how caribou and grizzly bears are responding to linear features in the environment, including power lines. Looking to move from expensive ‘catching and collaring’ to more non-invasive approaches of collecting predation data, in 2013, TransCanada launched a program to see if isotope signatures in bear hair can be used to identify caribou consumption.

Use the menu at the right to read more member success stories and case studies from the 2014 Sustainable Electricity Annual Report, Engaged for a Sustainable Future, or get the PDF here.