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Century-old Calabogie Generating Station set to be rebuilt

Plans are underway to rebuild one of OPG’s oldest hydroelectric generating stations, which was damaged by a tornado last year.

A view of Calabogie Generating Station in eastern Ontario
Calabogie Generating Station

Constructed in 1917, the five-megawatt (MW) Calabogie Generating Station (GS) has produced renewable, low-cost electricity on the Madawaska River for decades.

On Sept. 21, 2018, the station was hit by a tornado, one of six that touched down in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Wind gusts estimated at 175 km/h damaged more than two dozen homes and buildings in the Calabogie area, including the station, which saw the roof of its powerhouse ripped away.

After the storm, OPG employees responded quickly to contain and clean up the damage at the site and ensure the safety of the public.

Prior to this event, OPG concluded rebuilding the generating station, which was nearing the end of its operational life, was the best alternative to repairing or refurbishing.

The project will involve demolition of the existing powerhouse and the construction of a new powerhouse about 50 metres upstream from the existing building.

Rebuilding Calabogie will enable OPG to more than double the station’s existing capacity to approximately 10.8 MW, enough to power about 10,000 homes.

A view of the powerhouse at Calabogie Generating Station
A view of the existing powerhouse at Calabogie Generating Station

Construction is planned to start in 2020, with the new station expected to go into service in 2022.

The new Calabogie GS will improve the available hydroelectric potential at the site and increase the amount of clean, renewable energy available for Ontario.

An environmental assessment is already underway to evaluate the project’s potential effects on the environment during both construction and operation. As part of this process, OPG will consult with local First Nations.

OPG does not plan to alter the current water levels and flows for the station.

“Consultation with Indigenous communities and the public is an integral component of this process,” said Mike Martelli, President of Renewable Generation at OPG.

For years, Calabogie GS has been a mainstay in eastern Ontario. Originally constructed by the Calabogie Light and Power Company, the station first supported local development and the lumber industry.

In 1929, Calabogie GS was acquired by OPG’s predecessor, the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario.