Ontario Power finances 44.5-MW Mattagami, Montreal rivers upgrades

Ontario Power Generation announced it has completed financing of a C$200 million (US$182 million) bond issue to fund redevelopment of four hydropower projects totaling 44.5 MW on Ontario’s Upper Mattagami and Lower Montreal rivers.

OPG announced that UMH Energy Partnership reached financial close May 13, 2009, of the private placement issue of senior secured bonds, due in 2041. UMH is a general partnership between OPG and its wholly owned subsidiary UMH Energy Inc. Ontario Power Generation holds a 99.9 percent interest in the partnership and UMH owns the other 0.1 percent interest.

Scotia Capital Inc. and TD Securities Inc. arranged the transaction. The financing is on top of C$100 million (US$91 million) already provided by Ontario Power Generation through its partnership interest for the projects.

The province-owned utility announced the start of construction to redevelop all four hydroelectric projects in October 2008. (HydroWorld 10/31/08) Construction is scheduled to be completed by December 2010, resulting in an increase of more than 22 MW in generating capacity, to 44.5 MW from 22.3 MW.

Ontario Power Generation has said redevelopment would increase capacity of the three Upper Mattagami River projects, 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. Annual energy production would increase to 180 gigawatt-hours from 108 GWh.

The utililty 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. It 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. The utility has said it plans to build a 10-MW replacement powerhouse and install a weir that would eliminate most fluctuations in water. The redevelopment is expected to increase annual energy production to 47 GWh from 26 GWh.

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