OWA releases film documenting hydropower project’s development

The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) — a Canadian hydroelectric power advocacy group — has released a new documentary that highlights partnerships between First Nation groups and hydropower developers.

Titled Our Heritage, Our Future — The Kapuskasing River Waterpower Project, the film chronicles the development of relationships between the town of Kapuskasing, Ontario, developer Hydromega, and three First Nation Groups, including Brunswick House, Chapleau Ojibwe and Chapleau Cree.

“We are very excited to be sharing this story,” OWA President Paul Norris said. “It’s an example of First Nation communities being involved with economic partnership and business. This is a new business model in hydroelectricity, where communities are not just consulted but are equity partners.”

The film outlines the development of the 22-MW Kapuskasing River Waterpower Project, which includes the development of four hydroelectric sites on the Kapuskasing River. Some of the generating stations are expected to be commissioned this year after work began in 2005.

“The Kapuskasing River Project has generated social and economic benefits for the municipality, First Nations and surrounding communities,” said David Orazietti, Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources. “This project serves as an example of the significant potential for new investment in Northern Ontario.”

The Ontario Waterpower Association said it has identified more than 3,000 MW of untapped hydroelectric power within the province that, if developed, “could help moderate electricity prices for decades to come.”

Our Heritage, Our Future was made possible by the Waterpower Working Group (WPWG), which is a collaborative comprised of Aboriginal, industry and government parties.

Meanwhile, the Kapuskasing hydropower project is being supported by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada, Wabun Tribal Council and OWA.

“The Kapuskasing waterpower project is ground breaking,” said Kapuskasing mayor Al Spacek. “It demonstrates not only environmentally sound energy solutions, but significant social and economic benefits. Shareholders are the citizens and the community will always be a benefactor.”

Our Heritage, Our Future – The Kapuskasing River Waterpower Project can be accessed online via WPWG’s website here.

HydroWorld.com reported that Hydromega had altered its original plan for two generating sites to four sites in April 2007.

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