It is hard to believe that a bright, promising relationship could begin in a dank, dark tunnel. But those were indeed the circumstances that brought Brookfield Renewable Power Inc. (Brookfield Renewable) and Hatch together nearly 40 years ago.
Today, Brookfield Renewable is one of the largest publicly traded renewable power platforms globally, and it is also one of Hatch's premier clients. Its primarily hydroelectric generation portfolio includes 170 hydropower facilities and five wind farms, and totals approximately
4,800 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity, including projects under construction.
The relationship between our two companies dates back to 1975 when an engineer from Acres (now Hatch) met with representatives from Brascan (now Brookfield Renewable) inside a tunnel in Brazil to discuss possible solutions to an underground problem.
While the names have changed over the years, Brookfield Renewable and Hatch have worked together for nearly four decades. This longevity can largely be attributed to open communication, trust and consistently delivering quality work.
Since that initial meeting, people from both companies have continuously demonstrated their commitment to these qualities in a variety of field situations. One of the earliest involved the Shikwamkwa dam, which had a history of problems commencing with first impoundment. In the late-1970s, Hatch began assisting Brookfield Renewable (then Great Lakes Power) in managing the serious risks associated with this structure. With Hatch's assistance, the company implemented monitoring and remediation programs, which enabled the dam to remain in service for nearly 30 years. Eventually, Hatch recommended that the dam be replaced and this was accomplished by the end of 2006, ahead of schedule and under budget.
Not surprisingly, Hatch's successful work at Shikwamkwa led to other collaborations. Hatch's first greenfield hydro project for Brookfield Renewable (then Great Lakes Power) was the Clergue hydropower facility in Sault Ste. Marie. This EPCM engagement was successfully delivered in 1982.
From that point forward, Hatch provided near-continuous water power services on upgrades and remedial works for all of the company's facilities in northern Ontario. Ultimately, when Brookfield Renewable was ready to expand, Hatch was well-positioned to help, assisting the company with its first purchase of a hydro facility in northern British Columbia in 1999. This very successful assignment resulted in Hatch's services being part of the company's growth strategy. Since that initial acquisition, Hatch has steadily undertaken due diligence assignments, helping Brookfield Renewable to purchase hundreds of assets in Canada, Brazil and the United States.
From Hatch's perspective, the best part of the relationship is that it has always been — and still is — a two-way street. Brookfield Renewable has benefited by having access to a responsive, consistent team of engineers who are dedicated to delivering high-quality, yet cost-effective services. And Hatch has benefited from a steady stream of assignments, as well as the opportunity to develop innovative solutions. Among them was a reservoir mapping system designed to help find and monitor sinkholes that were developing at the Shikwamkwa dam. Another was Hatch's operations software for hydro plants, which was developed to assist Brookfield Renewable in managing its plants in Canada. These systems have since evolved and have been used for numerous other clients.
Today, Brookfield Renewable stands as a powerful international player in the renewable energy space. It has recently completed a major restructuring in which it combined its assets and became a publicly traded company. This produced an enterprise with a value of
US$12 billion, creating new cash flow that will be used to continue growth in strategic markets.
Like many good matches, the relationship between Hatch and Brookfield Renewable has not only stood the test of time but is getting better. With the company on the verge of significant expansion, Hatch is standing alongside Brookfield Renewable — positioned to work together as the company expands in South America and other markets well beyond its Canadian origins.