Canadian utility Hydro Ottawa launched construction of a 29 MW expansion of its Chaudiere Falls hydropower project by escorting a number of provincial dignitaries on a tour of the worksite earlier this week.
The existing 29 MW plant, located on the Ottawa River that splits cities Ottawa and Gatineau, was purchased by Hydro Ottawa in November 2012 as part of a deal that gave the company ownership of multiple hydroelectric plants located at Chaudiere Falls.
The Ontario Power Authority (OPA) authorized a 40-year power purchase agreement in March 2014, allowing for the plant's expansion.
The project will "serve as a place of recognition and celebration of Canada's First Nations and Ottawa's industrial past," the utility said in a statement, while viewing platforms to be built atop the new powerhouse will allow visitors to see the falls, which have long been obscured by other buildings.
"Hydro Ottawa's Chaudiere Falls expansion promises to be an important addition to our community by providing clean, renewable energy to our homes and businesses as a public space where Ottawa residents can come together, and as a celebration of indigenous Canadians," Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli said. "I applaud Hydro Ottawa for their vision, and look forward to the benefits our community receives from this project."
The project is expected to take about two years to complete.
"Hydro Ottawa is making that dream a reality with minimal impact on the environment, inviting collaboration from all stakeholders, and by putting Ottawa residents at the center of its vision for Chaudiere," said Jim Durrell, chair of Hydro Ottawa's board of directors. "Once again, residents will have unobstructed access to this historical site and birthplace of renewable electricity in Ottawa."
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