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Category Archives: Government

IESO Engagement – 2024 Annual Planning Outlook

Manitou River

Recent hydropower shortages in BC, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have highlighted its vulnerabilities in the face of the extremes of climate change. Hydropower is reliant upon water availability, so during the low-flow season or in times of drought, it can become intermittent and unreliable. As noted above, ongoing drought is already affecting hydropower output, and many provinces are being forced to import power or turn on the coal and natural gas facilities. Reliable hydropower does not bode well for the future.

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IESO Long-Term 2 RFP Engagement – April 4, 2024

The Chute, First Falls, Ivanhoe River – Photo by Mark Clement

Unfortunately, the hydropower industry, as well as all levels of government, have ignored the extensive body of evidence compiled over the last few decades, indicating that hydroelectric reservoirs contribute approximately 5 to 7% of global GHG emissions that, individually, can rise to the level of a gas-fired facility. Instead, the industry and this government greenwash it with disinformation by labelling it as non-emitting, low-emitting, clean or renewable to mislead the public into believing it will cut GHG emissions when, in fact, it will be adding significantly to global emissions until the dam is removed.

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Feedback on IESO Resource Adequacy and Long-Term 2 RFP Feedback on Engagement

Abitibi River – Twin Falls GS

The ORA is providing feedback on the 22 February 2024 Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) webinar. ORA strongly objects to agricultural land being used for energy projects, as it is just another land-grab opportunity. Agricultural land is Ontario’s vitally important breadbasket, and it must be protected.

ORA also strongly objects to new hydroelectric being included as a “non-emitting” resource, eligible for the Long-Term 2 Request For Proposals (LT2-RFP). It was clearly stated in the engagement workshop and in the slide presentation that “the IESO has been asked by the Ministry of Energy to review the role of existing assets and new non-emitting electricity resources that can be in-service by 2029 including wind, solar, hydroelectric, storage and bioenergy”.

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Hydroelectric is not a Pathway to Decarbonization or Net Zero

Dear Ministers Guilbeault, Wilkinson and Champagne,

ORA understands the urgency in fulfilling the vitally important commitment the government has made to cut GHG emissions to 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030; however, we will present evidence from independent third-party peer-reviewed studies indicating that an effective path to decarbonization is not through hydropower.

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Is hydroelectric a pathway to decarbonization?

Watch our video to understand how hydroelectricity is greenwashed by Ontario Power Generation as “clean” and “non-emitting” when there are hundreds of independent third-party studies to the contrary. Read our full submission here!

Please sign and share our petition to protect Ontario Rivers and send OPG a strong message! 


IESO – 2023 Annual Acquisition Report Feedback

There are numerous independent third-party studies reporting that hydroelectric facilities emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and we will be stuck with these dams for 100 years or more as proponents are quick to point out. There are also no up-front decommissioning fees to take these dams out when the rivers start to dry up, and the truth is finally acknowledged that they are methane factories.

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2023 Annual Acquisition Report – ORA Feedback

Big Falls, Trout Lake River

There are currently three pumped storage projects going through the planning and approvals process, that would add approximately 2,000 MW of electricity to the grid. Developing that same Installed Capacity from small hydroelectric projects would involve 200 – 10 MW proposals that would cause untold environmental damage to dozens of Ontario rivers.  It is imperative the province does not rush or over-reach its targets and develop new electricity projects unnecessarily.

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Hydroelectric and its “Pathway to Decarbonization”

Abitibi River – Twin Falls GS

Please sign and share our Petition:  Hydroelectric is NOT a Pathway to Decarbonization.

The increasing role of hydroelectric reservoirs as GHG emitters and negative environmental effects has resulted in thousands of independent peer-reviewed studies laying out the facts. However, the hydropower industry and governments have done a thorough job of promoting waterpower through a powerful disinformation campaign to mislead the world into believing it is clean and non-emitting while turning a blind eye to the growing body of evidence to the contrary.

ORA strongly recommends that OPG begin the use of drone technology to detect, map and measure GHG emissions within the entire zone of influence of its hydroelectric facilities – in the upstream reservoir, turbine intake, spillway and downstream of the dam. This will ensure that those who have purchased clean energy credits from OPG are getting what is claimed – a clean and non-emitting source of electricity. All data should be placed in real-time on the OPG website and made available to researchers and the public.

In closing, the ORA requests that the Minister finally remove the label of clean and non-emitting from hydroelectric generation. Certification will mean nothing if there is no authentic and verifiable science-based method of reducing Ontario’s GHG emissions. Furthermore, it would be unethical and fraudulent to mislead the public and corporations into believing they are paying for clean and non-emitting electricity when they are actually paying to fuel climate change.

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Ministers Guilbeault and Duclos: Expand the single-use plastic ban – Joint

We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are deeply concerned about the plastic waste and pollution crisis and its devastating impacts worldwide. As responsible ministers for the Canadian Environmental Protection Act – “an Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health”, we urge you to take bolder and urgent action to tackle the crisis by expanding the single-use plastics ban to include a more comprehensive list of problematic plastics and substances.

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A Clean Electricity Standard in support of a net-zero electricity sector – Discussion Paper

Abitibi River – Twin Falls GS

When people refer to hydroelectric as clean, it’s usually in the context of GHG emissions; however, governments and utilities often use the term categorically and without caveat or qualification. Using the word “clean” in this context is misleading. Just because hydroelectric facilities are not spewing out smoke does not mean they are clean or renewable.  In fact, waterpower has resulted in significant and ongoing impacts on water quality, water quantity, ecological processes, fish and wildlife populations and habitat, and to aboriginal communities. Hydroelectric also makes a significant daily contribution to the earth’s accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere.

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