You Asked

Why did Renfrew Power Generation construct a new waterpower generation station and redevelop other facilities?

  • RPG needed to upgrade aging infrastructure, identified in a dam assessment, to continue producing a clean, reliable supply of hydroelectricity and maintain continuous flows and levels in the Bonnechere River.
  • RPG must maintain reliable water levels to support the Town of Renfrew’s water treatment plant to supply drinking water and water for fire protection, and to diffuse treated effluent from the wastewater treatment plant.
  • The construction of the Thomas Low Generating Station and redevelopment of the dam by RPG—a for-profit company—increases its capacity to generate and sell renewable energy. Funding was made possible because of access to Ontario’s Green Energy’s financial incentives including stable prices for long-term contracts through the Feed-in Tariff Program (FIT), and the ability to expand and redevelop facilities under the Hydroelectric Contract Initiative (HCI).
  • As a partner, RPG supports the Town of Renfrew’s goal of maintaining a sustainable community in which to live, work and grow by maintaining critical community infrastructure and, starting in 2016, by providing the town with long-term dividends.

How is Renfrew Power Generation Inc. (RPG) paying for the construction of the new Thomas Low Generating Station and the redevelopment of its facilities?

RPG is paying for its new generating station, and upper dam and canal redevelopment using revenues from a long-term contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator—long-term contacts with stable pricing are part of Ontario’s strategy to stimulate investments in renewable energy, and end coal-fired generation and its harmful health and environmental effects. Ontario is coal-free: the first jurisdiction of its kind to do so in North America!

The long-term contract will be used to repay RPG’s $24.7 million loan with TD Bank. RPG’s bylaws require the Corporation of the Town of Renfrew to act as guarantor of the loan RPG secured to finance the project. The term of the loan is 20 years.

What is the relationship between Renfrew Power Generation (RPG) and the Town of Renfrew?

  • The Corporation of the Town of Renfrew is the sole shareholder of RPG, owning 100% of the shares.
  • When RPG was formed in 2000, RPG’s value was split into: 50% debt and 50% equity. As the shareholder, The Corporation of the Town holds the debt in the form of a promissory note, and the equity shares. RPG pays interest on the debt at a rate of 7.25% annually to the Town.
  • RPG currently provides an interest payment of $67,000 to the Town of Renfrew.
  • RPG will providing the Town of Renfrew with a dividend starting in 2016.
  • RPG’s three-member Board of Directors oversees the management of RPG.
  • The Board of Directors reports to its sole shareholder, the Corporation of the Town of Renfrew. Council of the Town of Renfrew is the proxy shareholder.
  • RPG Directors are recommended by the Board and are appointed annually by the shareholder’s proxy shareholder, Renfrew Town Council.
  • Day-to-day operations are managed by an onsite staff.
  • To learn more follow the link: About RPG

What are some of the benefits of this project?

  • RPG’s investment in the TLGS results in a doubling of generating capacity to deliver clean, reliable, and renewable energy for 50 to 70 years.
  • RPG is creating electricity for distribution to 500 homes in Renfrew.
  • New and upgraded infrastructure will ensure RPG maintains reliable water levels to support the production of drinking water by the Town of Renfrew, to diffuse treated effluent from its wastewater treatment plant, and supply sufficient quantities for fire services.
  • Local citizens will benefit for years to come because of long-term dividends that will be issued to RPG’s sole shareholder, the Town of Renfrew, starting in 2016.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by more than 11.4 metric tonnes per year.
  • A new entrance was constructed to the historical “Swinging Bridge.”
  • A new, larger trunk sewer pipe—RPG had to change the route for the penstock which meant moving the Town’s aging 18” sanitary sewer installed in the 1960s. Since the sewer pipe was nearing the end of its life, RPG installed a new 24” trunk sewer pipe to carry waste from a large portion of Renfrew, at no cost to the Town of Renfrew. The larger pipe will accommodate future growth within the town.
  • To learn more follow the link:  Thomas Low GS

Who was Thomas Low?

Renfrew Power Generation’s decision to name its new waterpower generating station, the Thomas Low Generating Station, is a testament to one of Renfrew’s progressive leaders. The new generating station stands next to the weathered but resilient red-brick building that housed Thomas Low’s generation units for more than 100 years.

Born in Quebec City in 1871 and educated in Pembroke, Thomas Andrew Low came to Renfrew where he became an entrepreneur, lumberman, industrialist, and parliamentarian.

The entrepreneur
Low’s ambitions were inspired by the belief that he could produce much more electricity using the waterpower of the Bonnechere River to supply the Town of Renfrew power to run its water system. Harnessing water power to create electricity gave Renfrew a distinct edge, one that made Renfrew a successful manufacturing centre. Click Here to learn more about the Hon. Thomas Low.