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.
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
MEDIA RELEASE: For Immediate Release: 13 July 2016
10 Ontario Rivers Protected from 19 Hydroelectric Projects
SUDBURY: The Ontario Rivers Alliance (ORA) is celebrating a major victory in the protection of 10 Ontario rivers that have been under threat from 19 proposed hydroelectric projects. Actions taken by the ORA and its members have led to what was considered to be impossible – the termination of 19 Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) Contracts.
In 2011, ORA came into being to address a rash of 87 proposed hydroelectric proposals initiated under the Green Energy Act. The offer of generous incentives to produce power during peak demand hours had proponents rushing to claim access to falls and rapids on rivers all across the province. The number of proposals to actually receive FIT Contracts was soon reduced to 41, and of those, Xeneca Power Development Inc. had secured 19 contracts for projects involving 23 Crown sites on 10 Ontario rivers. Continue reading
It was very surprising and disappointing to read your decision letter; however, it was somewhat understandable when the Minister’s decision was based upon inaccurate and unsupported responses contained within the Ministry Review (Review) document, Xeneca Power Development Inc.’s (Xeneca) correspondence, and the Environmental Report (ER). Continue reading
What was found in the PF was encouraging, and yet at the same time very concerning. It was encouraging to see that MOE concurred with ORA and VRS, when it reported “NR’s review of the ER indicated that in several instances, the proponent has not met the requirements of the Waterpower Class EA”; however, it was disturbing that “EAB has indicated they are considering denying the Part II Order requests with conditions, noting that it may be possible to impose detailed conditions to ensure all outstanding concerns are addressed”. This referenced document goes on to express the questions, concerns and uncertainty of how to deal with this deficient ER, and whether this would “expose the Ministry to any risk (ie: other proponents seeking the same level of direction during the proponent-driven EA process, or liability issues if the approach taken leads to unforeseen negative impacts on the environment or other users)”.
Posted 8 March 2014
A recent study indicates that peaking facilities have serious potential to damage freshwater ecosystems, particularly in areas with heavy metal deposits from mining and industrial developments. Based on the study, researcher Erik Szkokan-Emilson advised ORA in their preparation of a Part II Order request to the Minister of Environment regarding a proposed modified peaking hydroelectric facility at Wabagishik Rapids on the Vermilion River. Continue reading
“Our concerns have not been alleviated by Xeneca’s response; in fact they are heightened as a result of their continued insistence that studies were completed when clearly they were not. As a result of this, one has to wonder what else they are not telling us. What will happen when a company like this takes over a large 20 to 30 km section of lake and river that local stakeholders and aquatic life rely on – all to produce approximately 1.7 MW of power. Xeneca’s behaviour does nothing but erode our trust and confidence even further. Continue reading
Below is a preliminary draft:
Excerpt: “This project has not been planned in an environmentally responsible manner, and has not fully taken into account the interests of local stakeholders and the public. Therefore, it is our position that for all the reasons noted herein, Xeneca has not fulfilled its requirements under the Class EA for Waterpower.”