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Category Archives: GHG Emissions

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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Hydro Impacts 101: The Trade-offs

We’ve been sold the idea that hydropower is a clean, green, and non-emitting energy source.
But this is far from the truth!💔🌱

Check out this eye-opening infographic and the full report below to learn more about the hidden environmental and socio-economic costs of these projects! 🌊💰

  • Hydro impacts 101: the trade-offs

Hydro Impacts 101 – The Trade-offs


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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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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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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Embro Dam Class Environmental Assessment – Alternatives

Update:  The Upper Thames Conservation Authority went with the most popular, Alternative #4, which is to construct a naturalized channel with offline ponds/wetlands – see photo above.

There are very few thriving Brook Trout populations left in southern Ontario, and it is especially surprising to find them present as far south as London, Ontario. Brook Trout are a sentinel species – the canary in the coal mine. In southern Ontario, Brook Trout populations have seen an 80% decline in their numbers over the last 50 years. Their populations have been under increasing pressure from a warming climate as well as agricultural, urban, rural and industrial development.

Removing the Dam and headpond to create a free-flowing and healthy coldwater Brook Trout fishery would be the perfect place for a family to go for walk, play or picnic in the Embro Conservation Area. It would provide a healthy riverine ecosystem and a beautiful natural environment for the entire community to enjoy!!

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Hydropower is destroying our rivers, biodiversity and fueling Climate Change

Dams and hydropower facilities harm the environment and, when headponds or reservoirs are flooded, can produce carbon dioxide and methane for the life of the dam. Ontario is about to embark on a whole new era of dam building. Ontario has 224 operating hydropower plants and only 3 with fish passage.
By the way, Ontario Power Generation has been selling Clean Energy Credits for hydroelectric since 2013.   
NO MORE NEW HYDROELECTRIC DAMS IN ONTARIO!!