Ontario utility advances 100-MW Little Jackfish River

Ontario Power Generation has launched an environmental assessment of a 100-MW hydroelectric project proposed for the Little Jackfish River north of Lake Nipigon.

As part of the environmental assessment process, Ontario Power Generation and Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek, Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek, Red Rock Indian Band, and Whitesand First Nation, collectively known as the Lake Nipigon First Nations, will cooperate to assess project environmental, cultural, and socio-economic effects. Ontario Power Generation has retained SENES Consultants Ltd., Richmond Hill, to help with the environmental assessment.

“This is a unique opportunity to work closely with the six First Nations on creating a green energy project,” Ontario Power Generation Vice President for Hydro Development Carlo Crozzoli said.

The Little Jackfish River flows south from Ogoki Reservoir into Lake Nipigon, about 200 kilometers northeast of Thunder Bay. The project would feature two generating stations including dams with water intakes and by-pass structures, powerhouses, and tailrace channels. A smaller, upper site would be located at the outlet of Moule Lake. The larger, lower site would be built about 16 kilometers downstream.

The province-owned electric utility said May 20, 2009, it is optimistic discussions with Lake Nipigon First Nations will result in an ownership arrangement for Little Jackfish similar to that for 12.5-MW Lac Seul. Ontario Power Generation and Lac Seul First Nation celebrated the opening of Lac Seul, also called Obishikokaang Waasiganikewigamig, on the English River near Ear Falls in April. (HydroWorld 4/20/09) Lac Seul First Nation has a 25 percent equity share in that station.

Northern Superior Regional Chief Wilfred King, spokesman for Lake Nipigon First Nations, said the six communities would be consulted before a decision is made to proceed with the Little Jackfish project. If consultations are successful, King added, the project would offer First Nation communities an opportunity to share in the long-term benefits.

Consultation activities with other stakeholders have started and open houses to provide project information are expected to start this fall, the utility said. If the environmental assessment is successful, the project could enter service in 2014.

More information on the project is available at an Internet site established by the utility, www.littlejackfish.com.

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