Category Archives: Renfrew Upper

Bonnechere River – Renfrew Upper Plant – Upgrade and Expansion

Renfrew Upper Plant on the Bonnechere River – an upgrade and expansion under the HESOP.  Thompson Road, RR#1, Horton, ON.

Renfrew Power Generation Inc. owns and operates two dams and two power generating plants in the Town of Renfrew on the Bonnechere River. In addition, there are 3 control dams on Golden Lake, Round Lake and Lake Clear that are used as reservoirs to moderate the flow of the river throughout the year.

The Upper Plant is a three-unit hydroelectric station. The station was put into service in 1913 consisting of two generation units (Units 1 & 2) and one water turbine for municipal water pumping. In 1950, the water pump was replaced with a third generator (Unit #3) and Units 1 & 2 were rewound from 2 phase to three phase operation. The station has an installed capacity of 1.023 MW at a head of 11.2 metres.

The Upper Plant is a run-of-river operation. The generating cycle starts with spring freshet where water flows exceed the generator capacity and water is bypassed till early summer. During this period, the reservoir lakes are filled. Mid summer to mid fall, the reservoirs are drawn down but there is insufficient water flow to run the plant to capacity. Fall rains will partially fill the reservoir lakes until at freeze up in mid-December and the Lakes are drawn down to the pre spring freshet levels.

The Upper Plant consists of a dam structure, which consists of four spillways. The dam uses stop logs in the 4 spillways to control the level of the headwaters. The intake to the station consists of a concrete canal from the dam to the headwork which houses the isolation gates and intakes to the three generating units. There are steel gate to the inlets of each of the generators that can be lowered to isolate the downstream equipment. The gates are directly in front of the water chest that houses the turbines and consequently, there are no penstocks. The water chests for Units 1 & 2 are concrete and are part of the power house structure. Unit # 3 is housed in a cylindrical steel water chest that is affixed to the power house. The tailrace discharge exits the powerhouse and provides water for the head pond that feeds the Lower Plant.

The Upper Plant is connected to the Renfrew Hydro System 4.16kV MS1-F1 feeder.

This hydroelectric generating station generates approximately 6,315 MWh of renewable energy per year.

Location: Renfrew, ON
River System: Bonnechere River
Nameplate Capacity: 1.023 MW
OPA Contracted Capacity: 0.999 MW
Operator: Renfrew Power Generation Inc
Technology: Hydroelectric
Turbines: Three horizontal Francis turbines
Originally Built: 1913
Coordinate: 45°28’39.19″N, 76°41’32.73″ W