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Lower Mattagami improvements to add 460 MW to Ontario system

Ontario Power Generation announced it plans to add 460 MW to its Lower Mattagami River hydro system by building a new 250-MW powerhouse and upgrading three other hydro projects in Ontario.

The expansion program includes:
o Construction of a new 250-MW powerhouse to replace the 52-MW Smoky Falls hydroelectric station;
o Increasing capacity of the 136-MW Little Long project by adding a 70-MW unit, plus upgrading of existing runners;
o Increasing capacity of the 140-MW Harmon project by 96 MW from a runner upgrade and installation of a new 79-MW unit; and
o Increasing capacity of the 158-MW Kipling project by 96 MW from a runner upgrade and installation of a new 78-MW unit.

Ontario Power said it has received environmental assessment approvals for the project. It said the project now has entered a "definition phase" in which it will determine feasibility.

"This is an important step forward in developing 450 MW of clean renewable hydroelectric power," Energy Minister Dwight Duncan said. "Ontario needs new generation and the Lower Mattagami offers the additional benefit of the potential for a commercial relationship with First Nations."

Ontario Power plans to continue discussions with First Nations regarding the project. The utility's board also requires that conditions of a power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority ensure the project's economic feasibility. Although bids are to be solicited for design and construction, spokesman John Earl said that process is not yet in place.

Redevelopment planned for Upper Mattagami, Lower Montreal

Ontario Power also is pre-qualifying prospective bidders to redevelop three hydro projects on the Upper Mattagami River and one on the Lower Montreal River, for a total gain of 15.2 MW.

The utility plans to redevelop and increase capacity of three plants on the Upper Mattagami near Timmins: 10.4-MW Wawaitin, increasing to 13.5 MW; 3-MW Sandy Falls, to 4.9 MW; and 5.3-MW Lower Sturgeon, to 8.9 MW. Powerhouses are to be replaced and upgrades are planned for dams and associated structures.

Ontario Power also is planning redevelopment of 3.6-MW Hound Chute on the Lower Montreal River south of Cobalt. Those plans call for the construction of a replacement powerhouse of 10.2 MW.

The utility said it would pre-qualify a limited number of entities that responded to an invitation for expressions of interest for work at the four stations. The pre-qualified firms are to be invited to submit proposals.

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