Minister of Energy Directs Programs for Re-Contracting Existing Hydroelectric Facilities

Investment Climate for Made in Ontario Waterpower Improved

(January 31, 2022 – Peterborough, Ontario) On Friday January 28, the Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Energy, issued a Directive to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) which, once implemented, can help boost investment across Ontario’s waterpower sector. The Directive specifically recognizes that hydroelectric facilities of all sizes play an important role in meeting Ontario’s electricity needs, as well as providing benefits such as recreational opportunities, flood control, irrigation, tourism and facilitating local employment and economic development.

“The government has sent a clear signal that sustaining these perpetual assets is key to an affordable, reliable electricity system,” said Paul Norris, OWA President. “Coupled with the Minister’s recent request to evaluate untapped potential in Northern Ontario, the development of Programs for existing facilities positions Made in Ontario waterpower prominently in our energy future.”

Under the Directive, the IESO is required, in consultation with stakeholders, to:

– design a program to provide new contracts to existing hydroelectric facilities, whose installed capacity, as determined on a facility basis, is equal to or below 10 megawatts, and whose existing contracts expire on or before December 31, 2030; and
– conduct an assessment of a program for existing hydroelectric facilities whose installed capacity is greater than 10 megawatts and whose existing contracts expire on or before
December 31, 2030

“We look forward to working with the IESO on development of these Programs to support investment in all existing waterpower assets,” added Norris. “This is a significant opportunity to ensure these facilities continue to provide multiple benefits across the province for decades to come.”

A recent socio-economic report commissioned by the OWA estimated that $2.4B could be invested in existing waterpower assets over the next five (5) years, supporting 5,000 jobs annually. The report highlighted the fact that owners and investors need to be confident in the long-term future of these assets to achieve these economic benefits.

On January 20, as part of its plan to build out Ontario’s affordable, reliable and sustainable electricity system, the Ontario government has asked Ontario Power Generation (OPG), working with the OWA, to examine opportunities for new hydroelectric development in northern Ontario to address the growing
long-term electricity needs forecast for the province.

1 All of these facilities are located in Northern Ontario

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