Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eagle Lake Micro Hydro Project

Did you know that we get over half of the 9.4 million cubic meters of drinking water we use in West Vancouver from Eagle Lake?

Eagle Lake is located on Cypress Mountain. Originally it drained west into Nelson Creek and emptied into Eagle Harbour. Around 1960 dams were constructed on the west and south ends of the lake. These dams diverted the water flow into Eagle Creek which also empties into Eagle Harbour.

Eagle Lake’s history as a source of drinking water goes back to the early 1900’s. In 2001/02 the water supply system on Eagle Lake introduced a new benefit to the resident of West Vancouver. At that time BC Hydro approved a micro power generation project for Eagle Lake. A Czech designed Pelton turbine was added to the roof of the water reservoir. The turbine and harvests energy that was previously lost in a pressure reducing station. The unit has a capacity of 0.2 MW and generates approximately 1.1 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. This ‘free’ electricity represents about 20% of the power consumed by the District of West Vancouver.

Eagle Lake micro power generation is managed by Pacific Cascade Hydro Inc for the owner the District of West Vancouver.

Residents of West Vancouver can be proud that this green project proves, under the right conditions, power generation within a drinking water distribution system is feasible as well as environmentally and economically sound. The project could be duplicated in water distribution systems globally.

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PS: A reader points out that the 20% of all West Vancouver's power use must be wrong. And I agree. I believe the intention of the figures presented by the District's www site was that the project provides 20% of the District's power use. See the comments for the correct intpretation.


  1. Anonymous12:43 am

    This is an innovative project but nothing is ever 'free'. There were financial costs to construct the project and environmental cost associated with the transmission line from the power house to the substation above the highway. In my opinion the net effect is still a positive one.

    I am having some problems with your numbers though.

    According to BC Hydro F2007/2008 annual report, the average dwelling in BC consumes 10,860 kWh per year. West Vancouver's 2006 stats puts the number of dwellings around 16,849. That gives us 182,882,400 kWh or 182.9 gWh. So at 1.1 gWh / year the Eagle lake project generates about 0.6% of West Vancouver's residential consumption. This does not include commercial or industrial consumers nor does it account for the high probability that dwellings in West Vancouver might consume more electricity than the average BC dwelling.

  2. I agree how do you define 'free' or 'green.' If you find a $20 in your old coat pocket is it 'free?'

    On the math, I pulled the numbers off a District of West Van website. Your comments caused me to reread the material. It says the power "represents 20% of the District's power neeeds." Now I think they mean that quite litterally. The power generated is 20% of the power consumed by the various district run buildings and services. Things like the pool, rink, city hall, etc...

    Thnks for reading and offering your comments.

  3. Thanks for Good Articles about Pelton Turbine, I 've learn a lot.

  4. There is no Cypress Mountain in or near Cypress Provincial Park. Cypress Mountain Ski Resort is named after the Park which includes Hollyburn, Black and Strachan Mountains. I suspect the lake is actually on Black Mountain. There is a Cypress Mountain in Coquitlam however.

  5. The Project is on Black Mountain which is in Cypress Provincial Park. The lake is called Dick Lake on some maps.