New Control Room at R.H. Saunders Generating Station Oversees Power in Eastern Ontario

December 15, 2017
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – Ontario Power Generation’s operations in Eastern Ontario are more efficient thanks to an innovative new control room at R.H. Saunders Generating Station (GS) in Cornwall.

The new centre oversees power production at 10 hydroelectric stations on the St. Lawrence River, Madawaska River and Ottawa River which represent about 2,500 megawatts of clean, renewable power.

Announced in late 2015, the project to merge the control rooms at Chenaux Generating Station, located in Renfrew, and the R.H. Saunders Generating Station was completed earlier this year. The new control room will be staffed by operators from both hydroelectric stations.

The Saunders Generating Station was determined to be the best location for consolidation as it had the space to accommodate expansion of the existing control room, the facilities to meet the needs of additional staff, and modern utility and communication services.

“The project has relied on a high degree of teamwork, training, and knowledge sharing between Chenaux and Saunders operators,” said Project Lead Natasha Dwyer. “An Operating Advisory Team representing both operating teams has provided valuable input on staff training needs and control room design.”

OPG generating stations now managed in Cornwall include Arnprior, Barrett Chute, Calabogie, Chats Falls, Chenaux, Des Joachims, Mountain Chute, Otto Holden and Stewartville. These 10 stations range in age from 40 to 100 years old and together produce enough electricity to power over 2.5 million homes.

As part of the transition, operators from Saunders GS and Chenaux GS traded places to familiarize themselves with the nuances of operating the different plants. “The project has relied on a breadth of expertise,” said Dwyer. “Collaboration has ensured a safe and successful transition to the new operating structure.”

The project brings additional full time OPG operations employees to Cornwall.

About the R.H. Saunders Hydroelectric Generating Station

The Robert H. Saunders St. Lawrence Generating Station is operated by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and is one of two large generating stations housed in the kilometre-long Moses-Saunders Power Dam. Built across the St. Lawrence River and the international boundary between Canada and the United States of America, it shares the structure with the New York Power Authority.

Many upgrades made over the years ensure the long-term continued, safe and reliable operation of the station’s sixteen generating units. Since upgrading, the station’s capacity to produce electricity has increased by 16 per cent and the reliability of units has improved significantly. OPG and the approximately 70 Saunders GS staff have received international recognition for station improvements and operational excellence, and have maintained an impressive safety record.

The R.H. Saunders station can produce up to 1045 MW of renewable energy and provides approximately 5% of Ontario’s entire energy requirements. Annually, the station generates over six billion-kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to meeting the needs of over 600,000 homes. The energy produced from the station is one of the most clean, affordable and sustainable sources of energy in the province.

The R.H. Saunders Station is located in the west end of Cornwall.

About the St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre

In 2010 OPG opened the nearby St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre which is open to the public.

Various interactive displays recount the fascinating history of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project and addresses its impact on specific communities such as the Mohawks of Akwesasne and the Lost Villages. There is a variety of video presentations available, and displays on hydroelectric, thermal and nuclear generation, safety around power facilities, the American eel and the St. Lawrence Seaway. As well, a community room is available for use by local organizations.

For more information on The St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre please visit them online:

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