Four hydroelectric generating stations in the Peterborough and Quinte West area are among the 758 renewable energy contracts that the province cancelled last Friday.
The stations were to be constructed along the Trent Severn Waterway at Lock 31 in Buckhorn, Lock 24 in Selwyn, Lock 25 just south of Lakefield and Lock 1 in Trenton.
The Lock 31 (2.5 megawatt) and Lock 24 (3.0 megawatt) projects were spearheaded by Peterborough Utilities in partnership with Curve Lake First Nation, both estimated to be $20-million projects.
Orillia-based Bawitik Power Corp. was planning a 3.0 megwatt project for Lock 25 that was to be built in 2020.
Hydromega had planned a large 7.0 megawatt station in Trenton.
John Wynsma, vice-president of generations at Peterborough Utilities Group, says they’re “obviously disappointed” with the province’s announcement. The PUG also had 11 solar projects cancelled, he said.
He said the bulk of the environmental testing and assessments for the hydrostations had been completed and that construction was about “a year away” from beginning at the Buckhorn site.
“Synergies will also be lost with Parks Canada at the Selwyn site,” said Wynsma. “We were planning to build automated gates to bypass flow which would have helped them managed the waterway as they rebuild there.”
The projects are among 15 waterpower projects in southern Ontario where were scrapped — a move criticized by the Ontario Waterpower Association, which says the projects help improve public safety, create local jobs and manage water levels for recreation and fisheries.
“I urge the government to consider the multiple benefits that these waterpower facilities can provide well into the future,” said Paul Norris, OWA president. “Waterpower facilities are assets that last forever, reduce electricity costs over time, and support local infrastructure.”
For central Ontario, other cancelled contracts include several dozen roof-top and ground solar projects in communities including Lindsay, Apsley, Alnwick/Haldimand, Norwood, Dysart et al, Bancroft, Madoc and Minden Hills.
The province says the cancellations will save taxpayers $780 million.
“We clearly promised we would cancel these unnecessary and wasteful energy projects as part of our plan to cut hydro rates by 12 per cent for families, farmers and small businesses,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.
“For 15 years, Ontario families and businesses have been forced to pay inflated hydro prices, so the government could spend on unnecessary and expensive energy schemes. Those days are over.”
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