According to the preliminary assessment of environmental and social impacts conducted by Organisme du bassin versant du Témiscamingue (OBVT), the Onimiki project:
- Will have little impact on the environment
- Will produce few greenhouse gas emissions
- Has a low risk of affecting groundwater recharge
As the project progresses, more in-depth studies will be conducted to confirm the findings of minimal impact from OBVT’s preliminary study.
The Onimiki project is a micro hydro power plant (MHP) and will have little effect on the current environment. (MHP = capacity of less than 50 MW)
The Onimiki project is also a “run of river” (ROR) power plant because it doesn’t involve any modifications to the current capacity and water levels of Lake Kipawa or any other affected lakes and rivers. (ROR = draws energy from an existing waterway with little or no water storage)
The variation in water level, (or tidal range) of the various lakes in our region is already under regulation by the Federal government – regulations to which we adhere.
This variation cannot exceed 30 cm, as is already the case. The Onimiki power plant thus has no impact on these regulations that we already apply.
The Onimiki project meets the highest environmental and social acceptability criteria. It is a micro hydro power plant (MHP) which will have little effect on the current environment. (MHP = capacity of less than 50 MW).
The Onimiki project is also a “run of river” (ROR) power plant and as such, it doesn’t involve any modifications to the current capacity and water levels of Lake Kipawa or any other affected lakes and rivers. (ROR = draws energy from an existing waterway with little or no water storage)
According to OBVT, the mixing of a greater volume of water in a given sector should also increase water oxygenation. For example, OBVT expects the increased flow of water in Gordon Creek to lead to a higher volume of nutrients, but the concentration of nutrients in the water will remain the same.
For spawning areas at Lake Kipawa for example, an agreement was made with CEHQ (Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec) in 2013 to lower the normal level of the lake by 40 cm during the lake trout spawning season.
- The water level is gradually lowered from September 1 to October 20 each year.
- This agreement aims to help fish eggs survive the winter drawdown.
Many spawning grounds were also identified by MRNF in and around Lake Témiscamingue, but only one walleye spawning ground was found near the mouth of the Kipawa River.
- The walleye’s rate of reproductive success fluctuates widely from one year to the next.
- The fluctuation is related to climatic factors that affect egg hatch rates as well as the abundance of zooplankton and available prey during the first winter.
Our evaluation allows us to estimate that these mini-power plants will generate $1.8 million in net incomes within the first year of operation.
The economic benefits that the Onimiki project will generate will represent an important lever of economic development for the communities, (natives and non-natives) of Témiscamingue who greatly need to revitalize and diversify their economy.
The money will be used to implement economic and social development projects, create jobs by attracting companies to the region, build schools and long-term care units for the First Nations, and offer more resources to young people and our elders.
With the economic benefits generated through the project, the Onimiki project will represent an important lever of economic development for the communities, (natives and non-natives) of Témiscamingue who greatly need to revitalize and diversify their economy.
- The Onimiki project will create approximately 200 jobs in the region during its construction – which should last two years.
- The economic benefits that will be generated by these hydroelectric mini-power plants will allow us to open our region, revitalize our economy, and create good jobs by attracting more businesses to the region.
- Two operators will be needed to work the mini-power plants.
Hydro-Québec is responsible for the electricity supply throughout the province. We are in discussion with government authorities to obtain the hydric rights to officially launch the project.
The Onimiki project is aligned with Quebec’s 2030 Energy Policy and is a quality community project that meets the needs of the market, and the high demand for electricity from our Ontario neighbours.
The MRC of Témiscamingue now works hand-in-hand with the First Nations communities of Kebaowek and Wolf Lake.
Together, we display extraordinary efforts so the region can finally have access to this powerful lever of economic development.