Ontario Investing $600M in Hydroelectric Station in Cornwall

May 13, 2024
By Bob Peters

Cornwall Ontario – The R.H. Saunders Generating Station will supply reliable, affordable and clean power for decades to come, thanks to an investment of more than $600 million by the Ontario Government.

R.H. Saunders Generating Station

Ontario is supporting Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) plan to refurbish its facility in Cornwall, an infrastructure program that will secure 1,045 megawatts (MW) of clean electricity, equivalent to powering over one million homes, helping to meet increasing demand from electrification and fueling the province’s growth.

“The R.H. Saunders Generating Station – the second largest hydro facility in the province – has been providing Ontario with clean electricity since 1958, and with today’s investment, we’re extending the life of the station for decades more to help Ontario meet its growing electricity needs,” said Todd Smith, Minister of Energy. “This refurbishment program – part of our Powering Ontario’s Growth plan – will create jobs and ensure we have the power we need for the next major international investment, the new homes we are building and industries as they grow and electrify.”

OPG will refurbish 16 units in total at the R.H. Saunders Generating Station. The refurbishment will include major rehabilitation of generating equipment through civil, electrical, and mechanical improvements that will see the station produce more electricity from less water. Once completed, the station is expected to produce up to 160 gigawatt hours of additional clean electricity each year, equivalent to powering over 19,000 homes.

“Since it first went into service in 1958, OPG’s R.H. Saunders station has played an important role in Ontario’s history. From powering a growing economy to managing flows in the St. Lawrence Seaway for shipping, this hydro stalwart has been invaluable to our province.” said Paul Seguin, Senior Vice President, Renewable Generation, OPG. “Once refurbished, it will electrify the lives of Ontarians for years to come.”

The work at the R.H. Saunders Generating Station will take place over the next 16 years, creating more than 200 highly skilled and well-paid jobs in Cornwall. This investment in Ontario’s hydroelectric fleet is just one part of Powering Ontario’s Growth, the government’s pragmatic plan which outlines the actions the province is taking to meet growing energy demand and reduce emissions by expanding Ontario’s reliable, affordable and clean grid.

“Through the revitalization of OPG’s R.H. Saunders Generating Station, we’re not just renewing infrastructure; we’re fortifying Ontario’s energy future,” said Nolan Quinn, MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry. “This project stands as a testament to our commitment to sustainable, dependable power, ensuring generations ahead benefit from the legacy of clean energy.”

The R.H. Saunders Generating Station first went into service July 5, 1958, and has been producing power reliably and safely on the St. Lawrence River ever since. As part of the larger one-kilometre-long Moses-Saunders Power Dam that spans the river, R.H. Saunders GS shares the structure with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project station, operated independently on the U.S. side by the New York Power Authority.

“The City of Cornwall welcomes the province’s investment in the R.H. Saunders Generating Station,” said Mayor Justin Towndale. “This refurbishment project will ensure that the facility is able to continue to provide clean energy for decades to come, while also creating hundreds of skilled jobs in our community.”

Visitor Centre

Located on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, the Saunders Dam Visitor Centre showcases the history of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project as well as the communities and people affected, and great biodiversity stories like the American Eel. With informative and interactive displays, great views of the Generating Station and a prime location on the Riverseide Trail, the Visitor Centre is a key tourist destination in the Cornwall area.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s grid is one of the cleanest in the world with a diverse supply mix made up of nuclear, hydroelectric, natural gas, wind, solar and bioenergy.
  • The R.H. Saunders Generating Station has been a reliable source of clean power for 65 years. The station currently meets about five per cent of Ontario’s power needs.
  • The R.H. Saunders Generating Station is located on the St. Lawrence River as part of the larger Moses-Saunders Power Dam shared with the United States.

Related Articles

The refurbishment of the R.H. Saunders Generating Station was featured in the latest edition of the Cornwall Living magazine, available now.

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