Ontario announced $1 billion on Thursday for Ontario Power Generation to refurbish eight hydroelectric generating stations in eastern Ontario. In a statement, the Ontario's Ministry of Energy and Electrification said the refurbishment will allow the stations to generate an additional 100 gigawatt hours of clean electricity annually, enough to power over 11,000 homes.

Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Minister of Energy and Electrification, made the announcement in Ottawa on Thursday, saying refurbishments will create 500 jobs and provide reliable, affordable, and clean energy to support growth.

“Hydroelectric generating stations in eastern Ontario have been providing the province with clean electricity for a century, and with today’s investment, we’re extending the life of these eight stations for decades more to help Ontario meet its growing electricity needs,” Lecce said, taking the opportunity to double down on the provincial government’s opposition to what he called the “regressive federal carbon tax.”

The refurbishment will involve major rehabilitation of generating equipment at the Arnprior, Barrett Chute, Mountain Chute, Stewartville, Chats Falls, Chenaux, Des Joachims, and Otto Holden stations.

In the past few months, the province has announced nearly $1.6 billion in investments in hydroelectric power. This includes extending the lifespan of its largest hydro dam, Sir Adam Beck, and refurbishing the R.H. Saunders Generating Station, the second-largest hydroelectric station in the province.

According to the energy and electrification ministry, this investment in Ontario’s hydroelectric fleet is part of the government’s plan, “Powering Ontario’s Growth,” aimed at meeting energy demand and reducing emissions by expanding the province's reliable, affordable and clean grid.

The Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator forecasts electrical demand will increase by an average of two per cent annually over the coming decades, amounting to a 59 per cent approximate increase by 2050. This growth is driven by economic expansion, population growth and the electrification of industries, such as mining and steel, as well as the increasing adoption of electric vehicles.