Quinte West: Over 100 Years of Harnessing the Power of Falling Water

A look at the City of Quinte West’s Numerous Waterpower Facilities

By: Stephanie Landers, Manager, Community Relations and Public Outreach at the Ontario Waterpower Association

The City of Quinte West, Ontario is located right in between Toronto and Ottawa along highway 401. With a population of roughly 44,000, it is a stunning region enriched with small towns, farms and plenty of water. Quinte West encompasses the lower end of the historic Trent Severn Waterway, connecting the Bay of Quinte at the east end of Lake Ontario. The Trent Severn Waterway has a drainage area of approximately 12,500 square kilometres and comprises Balsam, Sturgeon, Buckhorn, Stony and Rice Lakes.

Figure 1: Map of Southern Ontario

Quinte West was formed in 1998 through the amalgamation of the city of Trenton, the village of Frankford and the townships of Murray and Sidney. With its abundance of rivers and lakes, the Quinte area also happens to be the Walleye fishing capital of Ontario.

Waterpower development played a significant role in early economic growth and in the evolution of settlement patterns that exist across Ontario, and Quinte West is an excellent example of this. The physical evidence of a waterpower legacy has been embedded in the fabric of Quinte West for more than a century. Of the 224 waterpower facilities in the province, this community hosts five within its borders, along the Trent River, with the earliest waterpower facility being constructed in 1900 and the most recent completed in 2005.

By preserving waterpower for over a century, the Quinte West community has not only been supporting local renewable electricity, but it is contributing to a sustainable low carbon future. Below, in chronological order, highlights the five waterpower facilities which also reflect some of the history of Quinte West.

Figure 2: Sills Island Generating Station (1.8 Megawatts)

1. Sills Island (1900)

The Sills Island generating facility is oldest in the Quinte West fleet. At 117 years old, Sills Island was originally used to operate the G.E. Sills Paper Mill. The plant is now owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and is OPG’s second oldest waterpower facility out of the organization’s 66 waterpower stations. OPG is a Crown corporation wholly owned by the Government of Ontario and has waterpower facilities that span the province from Cornwall to Kenora.

Figure 3: Sidney Generating Station (4.4 megawatts)

2. Sidney (1911)

The Sidney generating station is located in the former township of Sidney. The facility was originally named after the Earl of Sydney – a British politician – but for the facilities existence it has been spelled “Sidney”. The facility is also owned and operated by OPG.

Highlighting its history, the front of the Sidney powerhouse building has a cornerstone set to the south of the main door reading “S.E.P. Co. 1911” (Sidney Electric Power Company). Ontario Hydro placed another stone to the north of the main door reading “Serving Ontario 75 years 1986” to commemorate this anniversary.

3. Frankford (1913)

Figure 4: Frankford Generating Station (3 megawatts)

The Frankford generating station was originally constructed by the Sidney Electric Power Company (part of the Electric Power Company). At that point in time the Frankford generating station was called “Sidney Number 2.”

OPG has noted that the designation has resulted in some confusion in historical records over the years with the present Sidney plant, which was put into service just a few years before Frankford and is often referred to as “Number 2 Powerhouse.” The plant was designed and construction supervised by the firm of Smith Kerry and Chace an influential Canadian engineering firm in the early 1900s.

Figure 5: Batawa Generating Station (5 megawatts)

4. Batawa (1960)

The Batawa generating station was constructed by Innergex, an independent renewable power producer which develops, acquires, owns and operates renewable energy power plants. Innergex is transforming the energy sector, creating clean energy for a brighter tomorrow.

Figure 6: Glen Miller Generating Station (8 megawatts)

This Batawa facility consists of a run-of-river hydroelectric generating station and the powerhouse is directly hooked to the 44 KV distribution system of Hydro One Networks Inc. The plant is fully automated and may be operated locally or remotely. It is also equipped with a rolling gate, which regularizes the downstream flow from the plant during turbine stops and starts, preventing disruptions of boat traffic.

5. Glen Miller (2004)

Built a decade and a half ago, the Glen Miller run-of-river facility is also wholly owned by Innergex. Construction began in January 2004, and the facility started commercial operation in December 2005. Glen Miller is located on a site that housed a paper mill, operated by Sonoco Canada Corporation until 2001.

Conclusion 

Waterpower is the original community power, which has been embedded in the Quinte West community for close to 120 years. While steeped in history with the Sills, Sidney and Frankford facilities, more recent waterpower developments at Batawa and Glen Miller have enabled Quinte West to continue the trend of being community waterpower champions.

Waterpower development and redevelopment can advance economic prosperity. Communities can leverage the environmental attributes of waterpower, while contributing to jobs and innovative development. The long-term durability of these waterpower facilities will guarantee that future generations will benefit from affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity.

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