FirstLight Power completes planned integration of H2O Power company

By Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

FirstLight Power, a leading clean power producer, developer, and energy storage company, will now operate eight hydroelectric facilities in Northern Ontario following the company’s integration of H2O Power.

The announcement came on Tuesday, April 11, signifying FirstLight’s first venture into the Canadian market and scaling them to one of the largest energy storage and clean energy generation platforms in North America.

H2O Power owns the Fort Frances Generating Station, an eight-unit hydroelectric station located on the Rainy River. The company comprises a total of eight hydroelectric facilities, three control dams, and 140 km of transmission lines that operate to deliver power to Ontario, making H2O power the third largest provider of hydroelectric power in Ontario.

Oshawa-based H20 Power, which owns the hydroelectric generating station at Fort Frances, has been integrated into FirstLight Power. This is FirstLight’s first Canadian ventre. – H20 Power image

The facilities are operated remotely from Oshawa, Ontario, and maintained locally by H2O Power. H2O Power has been majority-owned by PSP Investments since 2011.

Claire Belanger, communications manager for FirstLight Power, said that the local agreements between H2O Power and municipalities will remain.

“[The integration] likely won’t mean a lot of changes in the area. We’re bringing on their team as well, so a lot of the same familiar faces will be around,” she said. “Nothing about this deal affects existing agreements. The local agreements will remain.”

Alicia Barton, President and CEO of FirstLight welcomed the onboarding team at H2O. “We are proud to expand our operations into Canada and welcome the 43 talented members of the H2O Power team to our growing company,” she said in a press release.

Over the last ten years, H2O Power has completed significant upgrades to its fleet of hydroelectric facilities. The more than $100 million upgrade program consisted of turbine refurbishments, runner replacements, generator rewinds, and transformer replacements.

Marc Mantha, appointed Vice President & General Manager of Canadian Operations, said on behalf of H2O Power that they are pleased to join forces with FirstLight.

“We are pleased to join forces with FirstLight Power to become one of the leading clean energy operators in North America,” said Mantha. “We have made significant investments to upgrade our fleet to enhance operations and increase capacity, bolstering our ability to provide more clean and flexible power to the region and the people of Ontario. Our talented workforce has vast experience operating renewable assets, which will be a tremendous benefit as FirstLight continues its expansion efforts across North America.”

The integration of H2O Power followed a number of strategic partnerships that have solidified FirstLight as a leading owner, operator, and developer of critical energy storage and renewable energy assets.

FirstLight would provide high-capacity factor hydroelectric power, along with considerable storage capabilities in the associated river systems, which will assist Ontario in integrating significant planned new additions of wind and solar capacity, the press release said.

“This integration represents an important development for the North American clean energy sector, and it comes at an important time in the global response to climate change. It is also particularly exciting for our team at PSP as it advances our climate strategy and our intention to be a leading investor in assets that enable economy-wide decarbonization,” said Stephan Rupert, Managing Director and Head of Americas, Infrastructure Investments at PSP Investments, in a press release.