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Category Archives: Hydroelectric

Impact Assessment Act – Project List, Information Requirements, Timelines

ORA has fully participated in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Process review and was very hopeful with this government’s promise to “rebuild public trust, protect the environment, advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and ensure good projects get built…” While there are some encouraging components, such as requiring the Minister and Cabinet to provide reasons for environmental approvals and creating a single agency to conduct assessments, it is extremely disappointing that the proposed Impact Assessment Act (IAA) further undermines credibility and trust as well as its ability to protect the environment. It is a very flawed process when after going through years of application review and examination of science-based evidence, that the Minister could make a purely political decision and prioritize economic considerations over meeting climate commitments – as it is doing now with the Trans Mountain Pipeline. 

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Parkhill Hydro Generating Station, Grand River

In September of 2016, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) received a Feed-in-Tariff Power Procurement Contract from the IESO to sell power to the grid.  In June 2017, the GRCA initiated a Class Environmental Assessment to evaluate the construction of a waterpower project, the Parkhill Hydro Generating Station located at the existing Parkhill Dam in the City of Cambridge. If approved and constructed, this waterpower project would have a nameplate capacity of 500 kW. The project is subject to the provisions of the Ontario Waterpower Association “Class Environmental Assessment for Waterpower Projects.” Pursuant to the Class EA, this project is considered to be associated with existing infrastructure. Continue reading


EBR-013-1476 – Draft Government Response Statement for the Recovery of the American Eel

The American Eel Needs Your Help!  You have an opportunity to support the recovery of a species that has declined by 99% of its original population, has been completely extirpated from extensive areas of its native Ontario range, and is in steep decline where it still exists.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has prepared a Draft Government Response Station for the Recovery of the American Eel in Ontario, and you have until January 11th to sign the Petition below.  More information can be found here.  To add your own comments just click on the letter and type.  Thank you for your help! Continue reading


EBR 012-8840 – Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan

 

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The Ministry of Energy is undertaking a formal review of Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP), and comments were due on 16 December 2016.

The LTEP is a road map that will set the direction for Ontario’s energy future over the next 20 years.   More information on this EBR posting can be found here.

The Ministry of Energy must ensure that our electricity supply is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and affordable.
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Panel Review of the Environmental Assessment Process – ORA Presentation

The Chair of the Ontario Rivers Alliance presented to the Expert Panel on the Review of the Environmental Assessment Process, on Thursday, 3 November 2016, in Sudbury, and also made a detailed written submission below:

Download (PDF, 7.05MB)

Our experience in Ontario is that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans defer to the will of the provincial regulators, which should be the other way around.  We need our federal government to set a high standard that will be followed by the provincial players.  Both the federal and provincial governments have gone through an intensive streamlining process which has undermined confidence in their ability to effectively review applications and Environmental Reports, let alone adequately monitor and enforce the conditions of approvals.  Consequently, environmental protections have become very lacking in these streamlined and broken processes.

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Objection to Feed-in-Tariff Program, FIT Rules Version 5.0.1

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Today I am writing to draw your attention to an issue that was quite concerning.  Rather than make an Application for Review under the Environmental Bill of Rights, I am reaching out to you in the hopes that you will withdraw a recent amendment to the FIT 5 Rules. Continue reading


ORA Meeting with Minister Glenn Thibeault

The Ministry of Energy has included hydroelectric in its renewable energy mix, and the generous rates and peaking bonuses have encouraged a rash of new hydro facilities to be proposed, as well as upgrades and changes to operating strategies that allow facilities to hold water back from downstream flow in order to produce power during peak demand hours. Many power producers arbitrarily adjust their operating strategy by using seasonal operating bands to peak on a daily basis – without first conducting an environmental assessment to determine the potential impacts, or the sustainability of the operation.

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Terminated FIT Contracts

The Ontario Rivers Alliance filed a Freedom of Information Application with the IESO in February of 2016 to obtain the following list of terminated Feed-in-Tariff Contracts: Continue reading


The Dark Side of Hydroelectric – Greenhouse Gas Emissions

One of the most popular energy sources for Canada and globally has been hydroelectric power generation, and the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and British Columbia are big fans of this particular energy source. One of the main reasons it is so popular is due to the abundance of water in Canada in the form of lakes and rivers that run throughout the provinces.

There was an article by the Montreal Gazette written back in 2011 that took a look at the Romaine River in Quebec and how it was about to turn into one of the biggest construction sites in Canada with the installation of 4 dams, 7 dikes, several large canals, and 279 square kilometers of reservoirs, all at the approximate cost of around $8 billion. What decision makers in Quebec failed to realize or choose to ignore is that harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are generated by reservoirs and they can be extensive and very damaging to the climate. Continue reading


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Dam Decommissioning

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