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WHITEWATER REGION — Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Electrification and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) recently announced investment plans for eight eastern Ontario hydroelectric facilities including $162 million to refurbish the Chenaux Generating Station.

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On June 27, newly-appointed Minister of Energy and Electrification Stephen Lecce joined Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski, a host of local leaders, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) officials and employees at the station to make the funding announcement. The investment is expected to create local jobs and provide reliable, clean energy in eastern Ontario for decades to come.

“The Chenaux Generating Station has been providing Ontario with clean electricity for 70 years and with today’s investment, we’re extending the life of the station by more than 25 years to help Ontario meet its growing electricity needs,” Lecce said. “This refurbishment program – part of our Powering Ontario’s Growth plan – will create jobs and ensure families in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario have access to affordable power now and into the future. Our government will continue to support affordable energy expansion while continuing to oppose the regressive federal carbon tax.”

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Chenaux Generating Station
Minister of Energy and Electrification Stephen Lecce speaks at a press event on June 27 at the Chenaux Generating Station. Photo by Anthony Dixon /jpg, PM, apsmc

Through the $162 million investment, OPG will refurbish eight generating units at the generating station that is located on the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, just west of Portage-du-Fort, Que. and east of Renfrew. The job includes major rehabilitation of generating equipment and will allow the production of more electricity from less water, officials said.

According to a Ministry of Energy and Electrification press release the work will create over 100 highly-skilled, well-paying jobs.

Yakabuski, who is also parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy and Electricity, said the generating station has played a significant role in supporting local job creation and played a big role in Ontario’s hydroelectric fleet.

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Chenaux Generating Station
During the announcement, officials and dignitaries toured the inner workings of the Chenaux Generating Station including the inside of one of the eight generating units. Anthony Dixon jpg, PM, apsmc

“And Ontario needs this power, as our government will be building 1.5 million new homes by 2031 to house a population that is expected to increase by more than 5 million people over the next decade. This station doesn’t only power our homes across the province, but it also brings highly-skilled and well-paying jobs to our riding. Our government has been clear since day one we are keeping shovels in the ground while also helping to meet increasing demand from electrification and fueling our province’s growth,” Yakbuski said.

Heather Ferguson, OPG’s senior vice president – Business Development, Strategy and Corporate Affairs, said OPG has been proud to call this area home through the Chenaux Generating Station that has been a fixture of the community that has provided stable jobs while delivering clean, reliable, low-cost power to the province since 1950.

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Chenaux Generating Station
Heather Ferguson, OPG’s senior vice president – Business Development, Strategy and Corporate Affairs, speaks at a press event on June 27 as MPP John Yakabuski and Minister of Energy and Electrification Stephen Lecce look on. Photo by Anthony Dixon /jpg, PM, apsmc

“Hydroelectric power is an enduring source of renewable power that also supports grid stability because it is always available and flexible,” Ferguson said. “This investment will ensure Chenaux continues its irreplaceable role in Ontario’s clean power system.”

Paul Norris, president of the Ontario Waterpower Association, said sustaining Ontario’s waterpower fleet is not only important for system reliability but provides a boost to the economy.

“Up to 90 per cent of every dollar invested in maintaining hydroelectric assets stays right here in Ontario, and much of that locally,” Norris said.

Chenaux Generating Station
On June 27, Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Electrification Stephen Lecce and OPG announced $162 million in funding to refurbish the Chenaux Generating Station. In the photo from left, Heather Ferguson, OPG’s senior vice president – Business Development, Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Neal Kelly, OPG director of Media, Issues, and Information Management, MPP John Yakabuski, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Energy and Electrification, and Mayor Neil Nicholson of the Township of Whitewater Region. Anthony dixon jpg, PM, apsmc

In his comments, Lecce emphasized the importance of maintaining infrastructure as part of the government’s ambitious plan to scale up and produce clean, affordable energy.

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Acknowledging the significance of stations like Chenaux and their workers, he highlighted their crucial yet often underappreciated role in Ontario’s energy mix.

Lecce outlined the plan’s focus on also increasing nuclear energy, including the construction of the first small modular reactor in the G7 at Pickering, new large-scale nuclear facilities at Bruce Power, and the refurbishment of the Pickering station.

The refurbishment of the Chenaux hydroelectric generating station is anticipated to extend the station’s life by another 30 years, securing the generation of 144 megawatts of clean electricity, equivalent to power 140,000 homes.

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