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Power station proponents celebrate grand opening

The Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station is a collaboration between Ontario Power Generation and Taykwa Tagamou Nation.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN) celebrated the official opening of the Peter Sutherland Sr. Generating Station on Aug. 24.

A joint initiative of the OPG and TTN, the station is located within the traditional territory of Taykwa Tagamou Nation and about 80 kilometres north of Smooth Rock Falls near the junction of New Post Creek and the Abitibi River.

Construction on the $300-million project began in 2015 and it became operational on March 31 of this year. The project was executed safely with no lost time incidents.

Named for a respected community elder, the two-unit station provides 28 megawatts to the provincial grid, which is enough to power about 25,000 homes.

More than 200 people worked on the project, including close to 50 Taykwa Tagamou citizens. In addition, Indigenous contractors supplied $50 million worth of goods and services to the project.

“Our partnership with OPG is strong due to the relationship we’ve built on a foundation of respect and trust,” said Wayne Ross, president of Coral Rapids Power, a wholly owned TTN company, in a release.

“Our community members have gained a long-term revenue stream and transferable skills that our members will use on other infrastructure projects.”

Jeff Lyash, OPG’s president and CEO, said this initiative is an example of the company’s commitment to partner with Indigenous communities.

“This station will generate clean, reliable energy for Ontarians for many years to come while providing revenue to the local community,” he said in the release.

The project involved the installation of two turbines, a steel penstock, a 340-metre-long open channel, a spillway dam, and a seven-kilometre transmission line.

The turbines use a portion of the water flowing down New Post Creek to generate electricity by moving water 250 metres through a penstock to the power house on the Abitibi River. The remaining water will continue to flow over the falls to maintain its natural beauty.