Presented at ORA’s Annual General Meeting by Dr. Frederick Schueler and Aleta Karstad:
It’s a lizard, It’s a snake, It’s one of the most unique fishes in the world: the American Eel!
Known for their elongated bodies and short fins, these fish which were once very common in North American waterbodies, are now endangered. This is largely due to the presence of hydroelectric dams, which block their natural migration routes, making them unable to reach their breeding grounds in the ocean.
Learn more about their impressive migrations, extraordinary life cycle, and current conservation efforts through this short video.
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.
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.
For the reasons set out below, CELA and other aligned organizations and First Nations conclude that the various environmental assessment (EA) proposals set out in these Registry notices are highly problematic, unsupported by persuasive evidence, and contrary to the public interest purpose of the Environmental Assessment Act (EAA), namely the betterment of Ontarians by providing for the protection, conservation, and wise management of the environment.
Accordingly, we collectively recommend that these current proposals should be withdrawn and re-considered by the Ontario government.
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.
ORA collaborated with Engineers Without Borders (UW Chapter) to host a youth engagement workshop for 35 grade 11 students in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Secondary School on March 31st. The group included students from the STEM Club and from the Environment Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Red Seal Program. ORA offered the students a Sector-Partnered Experience (SPE) focusing on real-world environmental issues to be solved. Continue reading
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!
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.
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.