Canadian Projects Limited (CPL) has completed over three billion dollars of successful run-of-river hydroelectric, wind and solar power projects, on time, within budget and with the utmost professionalism possible. Although the company was only founded in May of 1999, the depth of its knowledge goes much further back and is based on decades of experience in Canada’s growing renewable energy sectors.
Today, company co-founder and President Paul Kemp and his highly trained team of about twenty full-time engineers, project managers, construction managers, project administrators and administrative staff continue to build on their collective strengths and talents. The company works in civil-mechanical engineering while partnering with long-time trusted professionals in areas such as geology, surveying, electrical and other specialties, when required.
Prior to co-founding Canadian Projects Limited, Kemp, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Calgary, worked for respected firms including UMA Engineering Ltd. – which had been involved in renewable energy since 1979 – and Canadian Hydro Developers.
The firm worked on the three megawatt Belly River hydroelectric facility in Alberta and Cowley Ridge – also in Alberta – which was the first commercial wind power facility in Canada and recently closed after twenty-three years in operation.
Canadian Projects Limited has grown to become one of the most respected renewable energy firms in Canada. “We are a renewable energy engineering consulting company that focuses on project management, design and construction management,” says Kemp. CPL combines experience with innovation in its projects nationwide. The company serves clients from its headquarters in Calgary, Alberta, an office in Barrie Ontario and several project offices.
Canadian Projects Limited prides itself on the company’s vast renewable energy industry experience. CPL creates “an essential balance between energy production, environmental stewardship and economic viability. With the best people and the right opportunities, we are in the enviable position to change the nation’s power supply to successfully meet future sustainability and profitability objectives.”
CPL’s preferred approach is to work with clients starting from the very conception of the project and working through to it becoming operational. At the initial stages, there are numerous design decisions to be made and authorization activities which will have a tremendous impact on the outcome, particularly in terms of environmental impact. “And for those reasons, we feel it’s important to be part of the early development process for the projects,” states Kemp, citing the need for consistency during project design phases and the many lessons to be learned during construction.
“We take those lessons learned by delivering our project management services, and that allows us a continuous improvement cycle towards our next projects and designs and execution approaches, which improves our ability to deliver the next projects going down the line, as well as the project we are working on at the time,” says Kemp.
“It creates a cyclic evolution of the design process, if you will. If you’re starting off right at concept all the way to commissioning, you experience the unique challenges of every project, and you acquire tremendous knowledge, and that’s what puts you in a good position for the next projects – to do them even better.”
Canadian Projects Limited’s involvement in the early stages of a renewable energy project provides numerous advantages for its customers. Recognizing that renewable energy projects require serious consideration and attention to scheduling, cost, financing, regulatory requirements and more, CPL manages risk via an engineering procurement construction management approach (EPCM) model. Through this, the company provides all technical planning and design preparation, bid documents and other critical aspects prior to construction.
When combined with in-depth practical knowledge, technical skills and a keen awareness of all factors involved, the company steers the course of projects to avoid late notices, regulatory approval delays and potential conflicts, keeping costs to a minimum.
“There are basically two ways of approaching a project today: one is risk avoidance; the other is risk management,” states Kemp. “We prefer the risk managed approach, because it affords the owner more control over their project, making choices when issues arise and how to turn those issues into opportunities.”
CPL has used this ECPM approach for dozens of its renewable energy projects and avoided risk premiums charged to clients through other methods such as design-build. By working closely with hand-picked specialized contractors, the company can design fair contracts to get a competitive price; if certain risks occur, contractors are compensated for them, so they are not required to carry large contingencies.
In its almost twenty years, Canadian Projects Limited has completed hundreds of renewable energy projects, many involving major dams and hydroelectric works. Approximately two hundred of them have been in Alberta alone. In recent years, one of the largest sectors has become hydroelectric power generation, and this occupies the majority of the company’s resources.
One of CPL’s recent works is the Culliton Creek run-of-river hydroelectric project, located twenty kilometres north of Squamish, British Columbia along the famous Sea to Sky Highway. The company, along with experts at TetraTech EBA – which handled the geotechnical aspects – and Prime Engineering – which specialized in electrical – was responsible for the engineering design and project management of the fifteen-megawatt development.
The project required considerable skill sets to handle its complexity. It included headworks featuring a three-stage sediment exclusion system used to handle “high sediment load and extreme flow events using a steel sheet-pile sediment basin and weir spillway structures.” Despite weather, road and other challenges, the project was finished in December of 2015.
The company worked closely with the client – who was the purchaser – and made significant improvements, “and we ended up reducing the cost of the project by $12 million, about an eighteen percent cost reduction, which we delivered in sixteen months, which is about eight months faster than other projects being built at the same time.”
Starting from scratch, CPL built the intake, penstock and powerhouse. Among the many challenges was the site’s location deep inside the valley, a one-hundred-year flood and landslides and a forest fire. A large rock cut was needed to get down from the valley wall to the powerhouse location, and the whole thing was only about a couple of hundred metres from the edge of the Sea to Sky Highway and its heavy vehicular traffic as well as under two 500 kV transmission Lines. Despite these issues, Canadian Projects Limited accomplished the project far ahead of schedule, creating a hydroelectric project which is suitable to serve approximately three thousand residents.
Another successful endeavour for the company is the one-hundred-megawatt Dunvegan project on the Peace River. The half a billion dollar hydro project will be a base load facility, operating at almost 100 percent capacity to replace coal-fired thermal plants. “And CPL is the only company that has taken a hydro project of that magnitude in the Province of Alberta and gotten approval for it in the past forty-five years,” comments Kemp. In addition to managing the technical aspects, the company went through a tribunal hearing, stakeholder engagements and many other aspects to get the project approved.
Many clients find CPL through word-of-mouth within the industry and technical presentations conducted with government at various conferences. The company sees numerous opportunities going forward, particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan where there is an unprecedented amount of renewable energy development being planned, totalling thousands of megawatts. In Alberta alone, it is estimated that, as coal-fired plants are phased out, there will be some $10 billion of investment in renewable energy. This will keep CPL busy for years to come.
“There is an abundance of renewable resources in our country, and we are really excited about the developments in Alberta over the next ten years and finally being able to develop Alberta’s renewable energy opportunities,” says Kemp. “The winners for these kinds of things are the development companies that understand the unique requirements relative to resource, geography and regulatory requirements and who are willing to take the innovative approaches necessary to create proper project design and execute a strategy that will satisfy all stakeholders. We are an Alberta-based company, and we have spent a lot of effort over the last two decades supporting renewable energy all across Canada, most recently in Ontario and British Columbia, and we are looking forward to being able to ply our trade here again at home in Alberta.”