Swift River Energy Limited Partnership, by its general partner Swift River Energy Limited (SREL) is constructing a 4.7-MW hydroelectric power facility approximately 25 m south of the existing North Bala Dam on the Moon River in the village of Bala, Ontario. The North Bala Dam, along with the neighbouring South Bala Dam is owned by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
- A new scenic lookout to the Moon River
- Land rent to the Township of Muskoka Lakes
- Water tax paid to the province of Ontario
- A stronger, more stable electrical grid
- A new park for Bala, adjacent to the powerhouse
- $9M injected into the region from construction activities
- More parking spots along highway 169
- Improved fish habitat and better management of water levels
The project commenced construction in Aug 2017. The development will consist of the excavation of an approach channel, the installation of an intake leading to a powerhouse and a tailrace returning water to the Moon River immediately downstream of the dam. The arrangement of the proposed development is based on a gross head of approximately 6.2 m, which is provided by the existing dam at the site. There will be no structural changes made to the dam as part of the project. Construction will take approximately 2 years to complete.
In 2003, Ontario made the decision to phase out coal, estimated to cost the province $4.4 billion (2004$) annually when considering, financial and environmental costs. The government began encouraging the development of privately funded renewable energy sources, including small hydro generation, through the restructuring of the electricity sector. The North Bala Dam project site was offered for competitive release under the MNR Waterpower Site Release Policy.
Following a Request for Proposals. Criteria considered in the RFP included financial capabilities, experience, and technical know how. SREL was named as the Applicant of Record.