Province commits $160M to Otto Holden dam

The Otto Holden Hydroelectric Station is over 70 years old, but the province is investing big to ensure the power keeps coming from the Ottawa River.

That investment of $160 million comes through Ontario Power Generation (OPG), as part of OPG’s larger plan to invest around $1 billion to increase the amount of clean electricity generated within the province.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli made the announcement on June 27th. “This critical investment in our people and communities will bring good-paying jobs,” he said, “while continuing the Otto Holden generating station’s legacy of supplying clean power for at least another 30 years.”

“Moreover,” Fedeli added, “this refurbishment will help secure clean, green power we need to fuel our growing economy and support the hardworking families of this region.”

See: Mattawa’s Otto Holden dam celebrates 70th birthday

The Otto Holden station can generate 243 megawatts of electricity. The provincial government wants to generate 1,617 megawatts throughout the province, which could power 1.6 million homes, Fedeli detailed in a recent release.

That’s where the $1 billion will be put to work, as OPG plans to refurbish eight generating stations in Eastern Ontario. Along with Otto Holden, Chenaux, the Arnprior, Barrett Chute, Mountain Chute, Stewartville, Chats Falls, and Des Joachims are all slated for upgrades, with the goal of increasing output.

Mattawan’s mayor, Peter Murphy, noted that the investment aligns well with Dr. Otto Holden’s vision “of producing clean, affordable and renewable electricity” for the people. Dr. Holden served on the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission for 47 years, the mayor added.

“This investment to refurbish the Otto Holden Hydro Station will ensure that Dr. Holden’s vision of meeting Ontario’s power demands with clean, safe, and renewable electricity will continue for many decades to come,” Mayor Murphy said.

Raymond Bélanger, Mattawa’s mayor, noted that “Otto Holden has been part of the Mattawa area hydroelectric infrastructure since the early 1950s providing clean energy and local employment.”

“This investment ensures the continued safe operations of the station for many years to come,” Bélanger added.

Upgrading the power stations will take place over the next 20 years, the province detailed in a release, “creating more than 500 highly-skilled and well-paid jobs across the region.”

David Briggs is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of BayToday, a publication of Village Media. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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