Canada utility opens weir, part of 3.6-MW Hound Chute redevelopment

Ontario Power Generation officially opened Obermeyer Weir, part of the redevelopment of the 3.6-MW Hound Chute hydroelectric project on Ontario’s Lower Montreal River.

Ontario Power Generation announced the ribbon-cutting June 12, 2009, noting the weir is to help regulate water levels on the river by attaching a row of steel gates to panels supported on their downstream side by inflatable bladders.

Hound Chute, south of Cobalt, is one of four projects being redeveloped by the utility on the Lower Montreal and Upper Mattagami rivers. Ontario Power Generation completed financing in May of a C$200 million (US$176 million) bond issue to fund redevelopment of the four projects totaling 44.5 MW. (HydroWorld 5/29/09)

With an investment of C$70.5 million (US$62 million), the utility plans to build a 10-MW replacement powerhouse at Hound Chute in addition to Obermeyer Weir, which is to eliminate most water level fluctuations. The redevelopment is expected to increase annual energy production to 47 gigawatt-hours from 26 GWh.

The existing Hound Chute powerhouse was built in 1908 to provide power to the silver mining industry in the Cobalt area. The Hydro Electric Power Commission, a predecessor of Ontario Power Generation, purchased the project in 1948.

Ontario Power Generation named Kiewit-Alarie A Partnership, a joint venture construction company formed by Peter Kiewit Sons Co. and Leo Alarie and Sons Construction Ltd., to perform work on all four hydro projects. Construction started in June 2008.

The other three projects being redeveloped are on the Upper Mattagami near Timmins in northeastern Ontario. The 10.4-MW Wawaitin project is being increased to 15 MW, while the 3-MW Sandy Falls is increased to 5.5 MW and the 5.3-MW Lower Sturgeon is being increased to 14 MW.

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