OPG and Coral Rapids Power, a company wholly owned by Taykwa Tagamou Nation, are partners in building a new 28 megawatt (MW) hydroelectric generating station on the Abitibi River. The station, located about 80 km north of the town of Smooth Rock Falls, is named in honour of the late Peter Sutherland Sr., a respected community elder.
The site is nearing its final form and now includes two 14 MW turbine units, and a seven kilometre transmission line connecting the existing 115 kilovolt line on the west side of the Abitibi River. Existing access roads in the area have also seen improvements as a result of construction activities.
Once in operation, the station will use a portion of the water flowing down New Post Creek to generate electricity. The remaining water will continue to flow over the falls to maintain its original beauty.
“This project will provide clean, reliable, affordable power while benefitting the local and regional economies,” said former Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli in 2015, when the project got underway.
At peak construction periods, the project has employed 220 workers, many of whom reside in the local community. These numbers include approximately 50 Taykwa Tagamou Nation members who have held positions such as operators, general labourers, surveyors, mechanical and carpentry apprentices, and kitchen and housekeeping staff.
The project is expected to be completed in 2017, and will provide enough renewable electricity to power up to 25,000 homes. It is currently tracking on schedule.
The Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station project was assessed under the provincial Environmental Assessment (EA) Act and was subject to the Class EA for Waterpower Projects as a new project on a managed waterway.