Canada utility begins redevelopment of four Ontario projects

Ontario Power Generation has begun construction to redevelop three projects on the Upper Mattagami River and one project on the Lower Montreal River. The province-owned utility expects to gain more than 22 MW through the redevelopment program.

OPG said redevelopment would increase capacity of the three Upper Mattagami plants, all in or near Timmins in northeastern Ontario: 10.4-MW Wawaitin, to 15 MW; 3-MW Sandy Falls, to 5.5 MW; and 5.3-MW Lower Sturgeon, to 14 MW. Upgrades would allow the utility to make full use of water at the three sites without changing operating levels and flows, OPG Northeast Plant Group Manager Peter Murray said. Annual energy production would increase to 180 gigawatt-hours from 108 GWh.

OPG plans to decommission and remove the three existing powerhouses and associated equipment such as penstocks and surge tanks, construct new powerhouses, install equipment, and refurbish dams, weirs, and other civil structures. The utility also plans to construct a new canal for Sandy Falls.

The 3.6-MW Hound Chute development on the Lower Montreal River south of Cobalt is the fourth project being redeveloped. OPG plans to build a 10-MW replacement powerhouse and install a weir that will eliminate most fluctuations in water. The redevelopment is expected to increase annual energy production to 47 GWh from 26 GWh.

OPG named Kiewit-Alarie A Partnership, a joint venture construction company formed by Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and Leo Alarie and Sons Construction Ltd., to perform work on all four projects. (HNN 8/1/06) Construction started in June.

Wawaitin, Sandy Falls, and Lower Sturgeon were built in 1912, 1911, and 1923 to supply power to the gold mining industry in Timmins. The Hydro Electric Power Commission, a predecessor to OPG, acquired the facilities in 1944. The existing Hound Chute powerhouse was built in 1908 to provide power to the silver mining industry in the Cobalt area. The Hydro Electric Power Commission purchased the project in 1948.

In addition to its work to redevelop the four projects, OPG is re-examining part of its proposed Integrated Power System Plan to maximize the long-term energy strategy’s potential to provide clean, renewable energy to the province. (HNN 9/26/08)

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