Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is gearing up to redevelop the historic Kakabeka Falls Generating Station, a hydroelectric facility situated in northwestern Ontario. At 117 years old, Kakabeka Falls GS stands as the second-oldest hydro station in OPG's fleet and has been a steadfast contributor to Ontario's power grid.

The aging infrastructure, with much of its original equipment dating back to 1906, currently boasts a peak output of 24.4MW, sufficient to power approximately 25,000 homes. Recognizing the station's imminent life expectancy, OPG has initiated plans for a comprehensive redevelopment project aimed at ensuring continued clean and reliable power generation for the next 90 years.

Currently in the definition phase, which encompasses front-end engineering and design work, the Kakabeka Falls redevelopment project is scheduled to commence construction in 2025, with completion anticipated by 2027. The ambitious plan includes the construction of a new powerhouse extension situated upstream of the existing facility on the eastern bank of the Kaministiquia River.

The new powerhouse will feature two state-of-the-art turbine-generating units, capable of producing approximately 27MW of clean electricity – a 13% increase from the current capacity. Simultaneously, the existing generating units and ancillary equipment will be removed from the original powerhouse, which will be preserved in its current location. Additionally, the project entails the replacement of the four penstocks and the surge tank, designed to manage sudden changes in water pressure.

Paul Seguin, OPG's Senior Vice-President of Renewable Generation, emphasized the significance of the project, stating: "This important project will help maintain and build on the legacy of Kakabeka Falls GS, which has provided clean power for Ontario for more than a century."

Situated within the traditional territory of the Fort William First Nation, the Kakabeka Falls GS redevelopment project is expected to yield economic benefits for local Indigenous communities. OPG has been working closely with the Fort William First Nation, ensuring community consultation and input are integral to the project's planning stages.

Originally established by the Kaministiquia Power Company to support the region's flour milling industries, Kakabeka Falls GS quickly expanded from its two initial units in 1906. Over the years, Ontario Hydro, OPG's predecessor, acquired the station in 1949. Today, Kakabeka Falls GS is one of 11 hydro stations owned and operated by OPG in northwestern Ontario.