The international materials group said technical studies and preliminary engineering for the 225MW new turbine has been budgeted at about US$13M, which is 10% of the overall cost of the project in Canada.

Manufacturing work on the new turbine is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2009 and the unit is to be installed, commissioned and brought online in 2013. In total, Alcan has budgeted US$130M to upgrade the installed capacity of the hydro plant, which was built in 1943.

The project will enable Alcan to supply extra, backup peaking capacity to power utility Hydro-Quebec as agreed with the provincial government late last year. Alcan said the investment would help it use its water resources more efficiently and thereby also was in line with its strategy for profitable growth.