The North Bala Small Hydro Project
The North Bala Small Hydro Project is a new 4.7 Megawatt (MW) run-of-river waterpower facility at the south end of Bala's North Dam, located in the Town of Bala, Township of Muskoka Lakes, Ontario. The North Dam is owned by Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF).
The project is expected to:
- Improve water level and spring/fall flood control
- Have low environmental impact due to synergy with existing structures
- Annually offset 20,000 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to 3,888 cars and light trucks off the road
- Create over 80 new jobs during construction
- 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
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 is expected to be complete in 2019.