Ontario reviewing hydroelectric power potential of province’s north

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Engineering consulting firm Hatch has been retained by the Ontario government to undertake an updated analysis and evaluation of hydroelectric power potential in the province’s northern region.

The initiative — made possible with support from the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Power Authority — will help guide Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), as well as aboriginal community-led economic development.

“Hatch is excited about the opportunity to study the potential for clean, renewable energy in Ontario‘s north,” said Richard Donnely, Global Director for Water Supply. “Similar to our neighbors in Manitoba and Quebec, developing this untapped resource will provide significant sustainable growth in this region.”

The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) said initial studies on the province’s hydropower potential began in 2005 to support the Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP). An evaluation and assessment of Ontario’s hydroelectric potential at that time led to the inclusion of about 3,000 MW-worth of additional capacity to be developed in the IPSP, with much of it located within the province’s north.

In 2010, the LTEP established an initial objective of 9,000 MW of hydropower to be in service by 2018. The plan also recognized the importance of developing new transmission in northern Ontario, as well as the provision of services to diesel-dependent areas.

“Ontario has significant untapped waterpower potential in the north and several First Nation communities have expressed an interest in moving projects forward,” OWA president Paul Norris said. “I look forward to the results and supporting the sustainable development of potential new initiatives.”

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