MONTREAL — Quebec-based power company Boralex Inc. announced it has closed on $74.3 million in financing for the Yellow Falls hydroelectric project in northern Ontario.
The project is a 16-megawatt run-of-river hydroelectric power station currently under construction on the Mattagami River at Yellow Falls, 18 kilometres upstream of the town of Smooth Rock Falls.
The project consists of a powerhouse containing two eight-megawatt turbines that are closely coupled to the intake, a concrete dam, spill facilities and related infrastructures across the Mattagami River, indicates the Boralex website.
The Boralex announcement said the long-term financing of the station will be provided by Canada Life Insurance Company, Great West Life Insurance Company and London Life Insurance Company, with the total amount of $74.3 million representing approximately 81 per cent of estimated project costs.
"The closing of this financing is another recognition of the quality of the projects we develop and the capital market's trust in Boralex to successfully complete the construction of hydroelectric assets," said Boralex president and CEO Patrick Lemaire in a statement issued Dec. 16.
The Yellow Falls project will mark Boralex's first hydropower project developed with First Nation partners, the Taykwa Tagamou Nation and the Mattagami First Nation.
The two First Nations, together with one of the original developers of the project, have contractual rights to acquire up to 31.25 per cent of the project.
Construction of the plant site is currently underway, with commissioning planned for the end of the second quarter of 2017. The plant will operate under a 39-year power purchase agreement with Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator.
To enable work on the project to proceed last winter, an ice bridge was built on the river, explained a newsletter.
Water was pumped from the river using a high flow pump to spray the ice cover. Workers sprayed the surface a few hours at a time in order to allow time for the water to freeze. Using this method, the ice was built to more than one metre thickness, allowing up to 65 tonnes of machinery and equipment to cross.
Excavation of the diversion channel began in late February followed by the commencement of construction of the power station itself.
Boralex develops, builds and operates renewable energy power facilities in Canada, France and the United States.