Kemano is a settlement situated 75km southeast of Kitimat, BC. It was built to service a hydroelectric power station that provides energy for Alcan to smelt aluminium from its ore. The Kemano project consisted of pulling 2.2km of cable — four pieces of cable were spliced together from the bottom of the Kemano site up the 2600’ level to a mining operation. In addition to installing kellum grips on the 25kV cable, Houle also installed a 25kV unit substation.
The most complex part of the project was lowering part of one cable down a 600′ high section of a cliff. The crew used battery powered hammer drills to set anchor points in order to install the 25kV cable to the rock face permanently. Prepping the crew to work on a cliff required proper training. Houle purchased rock climbing gear and hired a high-angle rescue company to train the team.
Weather was a factor in this job as work could not be completed if there was rain or snow. Houle worked around a tight timeline and was able to complete the job in six weeks before the rain and snow set in. The extreme remote location also posed a challenge. The project team was required to either fly in to the site or to get to the location by barge. As there were no cell towers, there was no communication to outside areas. A person with a shotgun was on watch at all times in case of bear sightings. The mountain was steep, with no road access to the top of the mountain so a path had to be cleared for all terrain vehicles. Despite the remoteness of the project site, Houle successfully organized personnel and materials.