Our Trout Lake River small hydro project was spawned from provincial government policy aimed at developing new clean, renewable, ‘green’ sources of power generation in order to reduce Ontario’s dependence on dirty, coal-fired sources of electricity production. As part of this commitment, Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) undertook a province-wide review of rivers and sites within its jurisdiction to identify those that offered untapped hydroelectric generating potential. The crown land adjacent to Big Falls, on Trout Lake River was identified as one of these candidate sites.
It was in response to MNR's competitive request for proposals that Horizon Hydro Inc. won the right, as Applicant of Record, to pursue development of a run-of-river hydroelectric generating station in 2007.
Horizon Hydro Inc. is proposing to construct a 3 to 5 megawatt (MW) run-of-the-river hydroelectric power facility in northwestern Ontario, approximately 30km north of Ear Falls. The project will be located on Trout Lake River, immediately adjacent to Big Falls.
Our proposed Trout Lake hydropower development entails the construction of the following elements:
- a new 5m high concrete overflow weir
- a concrete intake
- a 210m long approach canal on the east side of the river
- a 115m long, 2.8m diameter steel penstock
- a concrete powerhouse
- small switchyard adjacent to powerhouse
- a 200m long 115kV transmission line from the powerhouse to the existing line along South Bay Road
- new access roads from South Bay Road to the powerhouse and intake
The proposed power station would divert flows from the river through the intake to the canal. The water would then be conveyed through the penstock to the powerhouse where it would be used to drive a turbine/generator to convert the energy of the falling water to electrical energy. The energy would then be transmitted through the new transmission line to the provincial grid along South Bay Road.
The plant will be operated as a "run-of-river" facility. This means that it will not have the ability to hold back and release water from a resevoir based on a need for electricity. Instead, the plant will only utilize the natural flow in the water available at any given time. It is proposed that a maximum of 27 m3/s will be used for the project when available. All flows in the river in excess of this flow will simply spill over the weir and follow the natural river path. During low flow periods when the river flow is less than 27 m3/s, the plant will slow down its turbine/generator to accomodate the lower flow.