New Cambrian Road Transformer Station Can Power 32,000 Homes

By David Hill, Barrhaven West Councillor

Sustainable investment continues to surge in and around Barrhaven, helping shape our community’s identity and improving the quality of life. The latest initiative creating buzz is Hydro Ottawa’s Cambrian municipal transformer station, just west of the 416, and a stone’s throw away from Half Moon Bay. This is Hydro Ottawa’s largest municipal transformer station and has major implications for Barrhaven’s grid stability.

It has been a long road to the project’s completion. The initiative was originally proposed in 2008 as a business case, due to rapid suburban growth in the area. Following consultations in 2016 and an environmental risk assessment in 2019, the station was energized in April 2022.

The station’s capacity of 90 megawatts is enough to power 32,000 single homes annually! This capacity was much needed to relieve the stress on existing stations which were operating near capacity. With electricity needs expected to double in Barrhaven in the next 20 years, this station will be a game-changer for our community.

In fact, the impact of the new station has already been felt. Since the station was energized, Mother Nature has thrown many challenges its way, like the 2022 Derecho, the 2023 Tornados, or the April 2023 freezing-rain storm. During this turbulent period, this power station has cleared the hurdles and is a key reason there were not prolonged, or any, power outages resulting from these extreme weather events.

The site’s service to the community is far from over, as Hydro Ottawa projects the Cambrian station will be operating for 50 years or more!

However, that’s not the only feature. This station’s location was selected to be home to a special pollinator meadow, making it one of the largest pollinator meadows in eastern Ontario! This 15-acre meadow contains “carefully curated native plants and wildflowers” for bees, flies, moths, butterflies, beetles, and hummingbirds, according to Hydro Ottawa.

With the help of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the site has a 4-acre reforestation area, with 2,750 trees planted! In addition to providing ecological benefits, this reforestation area will create a wind barrier for the station, mitigating damage from wind-related events.

Hydro Ottawa’s Cambrian transformer station is just the latest example of how we can strike a balance with development, while ensuring that we are going to be safer and stronger when dealing with the reality of increased extreme weather events. I look forward to monitoring the impact of this station and I am eager to look for other ways to continue promoting sustainable development in Barrhaven.