OPG, First Nations Group Partner on Ontario Hydro Project

A partnership between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Coral Rapids Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN), a Cree nation in northeastern Ontario, in late August announced the completion of a two-unit, 28-MW hydropower project in the province. The $300 million construction project involved more than 200 workers, including about 50 indigenous people.

The TTN wants to pursue projects in its territory and actively seeks partnerships. It is working on mining, forestry, and hydro projects in Ontario. The Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station (Figure 1), about 80 kilometers north of Smooth Rock Falls near the junction of the Abitibi River and New Post Creek, is named for a late community elder who was born in 1915 near the site of the station. Sutherland’s grandson, Wayne Ross, is president of Coral Rapids Power.

Figure 4_OPG
1. A hydropower partnership.  The Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station involved more than 200 workers, including about 50 indigenous people. Courtesy: Ontario Power Generation

“Our partnership with OPG is strong due to the relationship we’ve guilt on a foundation of respect and trust,” Ross said in a news release. “Our community members have gained a long-term revenue stream and transferable skills that our members will use on other infrastructure projects.”

OPG President and CEO Jeff Lyash said in a release, “The Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station is the latest example of OPG’s commitment to working closely in partnership with First Nations communities.”

TTN and OPG partnered in 2007 after settling past grievances between the agencies. Ross said TTN had looked at the project with private developers for many years before eventually agreeing to work with OPG. Construction began in 2015. The Peter Sutherland plant is part of a series of projects for OPG in the region, including the 438-MW Lower Mattagami River Project in Kapuskasing, Ontario, which was built in partnership with Moose Cree First Nation and brought the total capacity of Lower Mattagami to more than 900 MW.

The turbines at Peter Sutherland use water from New Post Creek. The water is moved 250 meters through a penstock to the powerhouse on the Abitibi River. The project includes two turbines, a steel penstock, a 340-meter-long open channel, a spillway dam, and a 7-kilometer transmission line.

Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor.