In July 2015, Portage Power acquired six run-of-the-river hydroelectric facilities in Eastern Ontario from Fortis Inc. Located in Ottawa, Rideau Lake, Kingston, Gananoque and South Crosby, the combined output of these stations is 8.3 MW.
Tucked away on the shore of the New Edinburgh neighbourhood, the Rideau Falls Generating Station uses the power of the Rideau Falls to generate clean, renewable power. The twin falls mark the spot where the Rideau River flows into the Ottawa River and historically was the site of a number of industries, with all properties in the area eventually owned by the W.C. Edward’s Company.
The Power Plant at Rideau Falls was built in 1908 after a disastrous fire in July 1907 wiped out all of the mills and buildings at Rideau Falls. Edwards looked to electric power for his manufacturing. The Power Plant continued to supply power to the W.C. Edward’s Company until the 1920s, after which various companies occupied the site. The National Research Council took over operations in 1937 and undertook an extensive rehabilitation of the plant. The station was refurbished in 1985 by Rideau Falls Partnership and Granite Power Corporation and has an output of 2.8 MW.
The dam at Jones Falls was constructed in the 1830s, and was used to tame the mile-long series of rapids and falls that run through the Jones Falls. Constructed of interlocking tapered vertical stones, and at a height of almost 60 feet (18.3m), the Great Stone Arch Dam was the highest dam in North America when it was completed.
In 1946, the then Gananoque Light & Power Company started one of its largest projects, constructing a hydroelectric power station just below the dam at Jones Falls. The company brought online three generating units in 1949, adding a fourth in 1956, bringing the total output of the station to 1.8 MW.
Located adjacent to the Rideau Canal Lock #45 in Lower Brewers Mills, Washburn Generating Station was built in 1942 by the Gananoque Light & Power Company. The station was built on top of an old grist mill foundation that had been constructed in 1861 by James C. Foster, and was also the site of a woolen mill and store as well as a storage elevator.
The generating station was built to house an old turbine that had been removed from the Gananoque Plant; built in 1893, it is considered by many to be one of the oldest active turbines in Canada. Washburn generating station was shut down in 1972 for economic reasons, but under a government grant was refurbished in 1984 and restarted in 1985, with an increased output of 0.2 MW.
Located in Upper Brewers Mills, near Rideau Canal Locks #43 and 44, Brewers Mills Generating Station was built by the Gananoque Light & Power Company on the site of an old grist mill. Built in 1939, the plant contained three units with a provision for a fourth.
The station’s turbines remain in operation, with Unit #1 rewound in 1970, and Units 2 & 3 later rewound in 1995. The total output for the station is 0.6 MW.
Located downstream from Brewers Mills, the generating station at Kingston Mills sits on the edge of Colonel By Lake near Rideau Canal Locks #46-49. In 1914, on the site of an old grist mill, a new hydroelectric plant was constructed by Gananoque Light & Power.
The plant was originally constructed with one turbine, Unit #1 was considered the “workhorse of the company” and continues to generate electricity today. Two major expansions occurred, one in 1926 saw the installation of an additional generator which was later upgraded in 1971, at the same time as a third expansion took place with a third generator energized in 1975 increasing the output of the station to 2.2 MW.
The history of hydroelectricity in Gananoque goes back to 1885 when the Gananoque Electric Light Company was created and steam was used to generate power. Over the years, the town has seen a number of expansions in generation, including experimentation and brief use of thermal generation in the 1960s and the Electric Light Company became the Gananoque Light & Power Company.
The current generating station is located in the heart of the town on the Gananoque River and was built in 1939 with an output of 0.7 MW.