Nipawin Hydroelectric Station
The Nipawin Hydro-electric Station is situated on the Saskatchewan River, 5 kilometres upstream from the town of Nipawin. Commissioned in 1986, the Nipawin Hydro Station is the province’s newest hydroelectric station. Three operating units compose the station, each capable of producing 85 megawatts of electricity. Approximately 1.1 billion kilowatt-hours of power are generated annually from this station. That is enough power to supply 175,000 average households a year!
Water for the station is impounded in Codette Lake by the Francois Finlay Dam. Codette Lake was chosen as the reservoir name to honour Metis trader Baptiste Codette. The dam is named in honour of James Finaly and English merchant Francois Leblanc. Together in 1768, they constructed a trading post on the lower terrace of Bushfield Flats immediately upstream of the power station.
Water from the reservoir flows through penstocks to turbines located in the lower portion of the powerhouse. The force of the water turns the hydraulic turbine which rotates the generator’s rotor by a shaft connecting the two components. The spinning rotor inside a stator produces electricity transmitted to the transmission grid.
This construction wonder and the spectacular river gorge are best viewed at the Francois Finally Dam Vista Viewpoint. For a further adventure, one can wander down the hillside to reach the water. This is a beautiful spot for inshore fishing and a short walk along the river. The Nipawin Hydro-electric Staff are always happy to provide pre-arranged tours by calling 1-306-862-3148.
Directions to the dam from Nipawin are as follows:
Leaving Nipawin, take highway 55 north toward White Fox. After passing over the bridge, drive approximately 5.3 kilometres, then turn left onto Old Highway 35. Head south on Old Highway 35 toward SK-790 W for approximately 7.1 kilometres. There are signs guiding the driver throughout. Take a sharp right, drive for 950m. Then turn left, drive 3.2 kilometres, left again, drive 3.1 kilometres. One last left before a slight right and in 400 metres, one should reach the destination.
E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station
The E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station is located on the Saskatchewan River about 75 kilometres northeast of the town of Nipawin. Commissioned in 1963, the E.B. Campbell Hydro Station is the province’s largest hydroelectric station. The station is named in honour of E.B. (Bruce) Campbell, a former SaskPower president. He was the assistant chief engineer when SaskPower built the station. The project was one of Mr. Campbell’s significant engineering accomplishments during his 37-year career with SaskPower.
The plant comprises eight operating units with a total plant output capability of 289 megawatts. Water for the station is impounded in Tobin Lake by a dam constructed at the hydro facility. The name “Tobin” came from William Thorburn, an early fur trader who built a trading post where the Petaigan River entered the mainstream of the Saskatchewan River. The rapids close to the trading post became known as “Thorburn Rapids” and later was shortened to “Tobin Rapids.” Since it was created, the lake has become an essential fishery in Saskatchewan, producing world-class walleye and northern pike.
There has also been refurbishment of Units 1-6 of the plant that will allow it to provide at least 50 more years of renewable power generation. The refurbishment of the E.B. Campbell Hydro station cost approximately $300 million, substantially less than constructing a new plant would cost. As of April 2022, $95 million has been spent, with $6 million toward Indigenous and local employment opportunities. Work on the hydroelectric station will continue until 2025.
Directions to E.B. Campbell Hydroelectric Station from Nipawin:
Head east on PTH/ SK –55 E, and drive for approximately 28 kilometres. Then turn left onto SK-123 N, driving for 41.6 kilometres. Turn left, drive 750 meters, and the destination will be on the right.