Anticipating surging demand for electricity, the Ford government has asked Ontario Power Generation to investigate the potential for building new hydroelectric dams in Northern Ontario.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Energy gave OPG the task of working with the Ontario Waterpower Association, an industry lobby group. Together, they’ll update previous evaluations of hydroelectric potential in the north, including life-cycle cost of building new stations as well as water availability.
Their report is to be delivered to the ministry and the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) by April. The IESO, in turn, is to report back to the government by November.
“To power the Ontario of the future, we must explore new sources of hydroelectric power,” Greg Rickford, Ontario’s Minister of Mines, Northern Development, Natural Resources and Forestry, said in a statement.
“Further hydro development could spur job creation in Indigenous and remote communities, power industries and communities, and will ensure a cleaner future for our province.”
Waterpower Canada, a national industry lobby group, said Ontario could add between 7,000 and 9,000 MWs of new hydroelectric capacity, roughly double current levels.
“It’s a common misconception that hydro power is tapped out,” said Anne-Raphaëlle Audouin, the organization’s president. “I think it stems from the fact that it’s 60 per cent of overall electricity generation in Canada, so people assume that surely, we developed all the hydro power there is in Canada. But in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth.”
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