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Category Archives: Industry

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

The ORA is offering feedback on the 13 December 2023 Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) webinar. ORA strongly objects to new hydroelectric being included as a “non-emitting” resource, eligible for the Long Term 2 (LT2) Request For Proposals (RFP). Participants were informed of an overall need for 5 TWH of energy emerging at the end of the decade and growing through the 2030s. The LT2 RFP has an anticipated installed capacity target of around 2,000 MW of non-emitting energy resources to be procured and operational by 2030.  ORA questions the IESO’s rationale for applying the non-emitting label to hydroelectric when there are numerous independent third-party peer-reviewed studies, as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reporting guidelines. This immense volume of studies indicate that hydropower reservoirs generate significant and ongoing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially methane, for the full life cycle of the dam. It is misleading the public to claim that hydroelectric is “non-emitting” in the LT2 RFP or in any other public arenas and could be considered fraudulent.

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Marmora Pumped Storage – Clean Energy Hub Project

This closed-loop pumped storage Project does not seem likely to result in any serious negative impacts to other freshwater bodies, nor methylmercury contamination of fish tissue or greenhouse gas emissions, and it will provide clean backup power during the low-flow periods when small run-of-river hydroelectric facilities are shutting down because of reduced stream flow. Comparing the power output of this peak demand storage Project, and its minimal environmental impacts to the number of rivers it would have taken to generate 400 to 500 MW of power from dozens of small hydropower projects, makes it ORA’s preferred choice over conventional hydroelectric facilities.

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ERO-019-6647 – IESO Pathways to Decarbonization Study

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Reservoirs

The ORA will never be in favour of streamlining the regulatory, approvals and permitting processes as they were put in place to protect our natural environment and communities, and have already been significantly undermined.

Instead, we need strong and rigorous environmental assessment and robust public, Indigenous and stakeholder consultation if we are to build climate resilience into our air, land and freshwater resources.

I will briefly address my rationale and the dangers of streamlining the regulatory regime of hydroelectric facilities in particular, as it is commonly claimed by governments and industry to be ‘clean’, ‘green’ and ‘non-emitting. However, this is misleading the public at a pivotal time when we should be following the science.

Related Information:

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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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OPG: Proposed Coniston Generating Station Life Extension Project Environmental Report

Wherever water levels have been lifted from their former undeveloped elevation must be considered the full extent of the reservoir/s. This crucial detail is not set out in the ER; however, the full extent of the cascading facilities must be considered when detecting, measuring and reporting total GHG emissions (CH2, CH4 and N2O). This cascading system creates one very large artificial and ongoing multi-level series of reservoirs that are highly regulated through the WRWMP, and likely very high in GHG emissions.

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