In October 1988, the provincial government introduced the Small Power Research and Development Program. The program assured a guaranteed price and market for power thus making small power projects in Alberta viable.
In order to benefit from this program, the Irrigation Canal Power Cooperative Ltd. (IRRICAN Power) was formed to develop hydro power projects on the existing water conveyance infrastructure in Southern Alberta. IRRICAN is a cooperative subject to the Alberta Cooperatives Act.
The hydro power projects are located at several sites along the St. Mary Main Canal, and the three benefited districts, the Taber Irrigation District, the St. Mary River Irrigation District and the Raymond Irrigation District jointly established IRRICAN Power.
Irrican Hydro Power Plants
Drops 4, 5, 6
The Drops 4, 5, & 6 power plant is located on the SMRID Main Canal west of the town of Raymond on the North boundary of the Milk River Ridge. There are a total of twelve drop structures located on this reach of the canal. The drop structures can be developed individually or in combinations of two or three in order to make the best use of the available resource.
Power can normally be produced during the irrigation season, between April and October of each year, with peak energy production occurring between June 15 and August 15.
The Raymond Reservoir Hydro Plant is located on the south shore of Raymond Reservoir, approximately 6 km south of the town of Raymond. It is supplied by a diversion canal constructed upstream of Milk River Ridge Reservoir.
Water optimization is a paramount consideration In the operation of this facility. Providing all the water required by the agriculture users and maximizing the energy output has been achieved through the use of a total system management philosophy incorporated Into the control system utilized by Irrican.
The Chin Chute Hydroelectric project is an 11-MW facility that is being developed under the Small Power Research and Development Program by Irrigation Canal Power Cooperative Ltd. (IRRICAN Power).
Water, which is currently conveyed in the SMRID Main Canal down Chin Chute and into the Chin Reservoir, is diverted through a penstock and powerhouse and then out to Chin Reservoir.