A group of hydroelectric generators will promote the growth of waterpower in the province of Ontario, where the electricity market will be deregulated in less than a year.TORONTO, Ontario, CA, 2001-08-06 [SolarAccess.com] A group of hydroelectric generators will promote the growth of waterpower in the province of Ontario, where the electricity market will be deregulated in less than a year. “It’s time for Ontario’s waterpower interests to work together through an organization that is mandated to represent its needs,” says Paul Norris, president of the Ontario Waterpower Association. “The OWA will establish a corporate relationship with the Ontario government and facilitate effective communication within the industry. We’ll work to provide timely information about relevant government initiatives, and solicit input and advice in developing industry positions on issues of concern to the entire waterpower industry.” Founding members of the group include Ontario Power Generation (formerly Ontario Hydro), Great Lakes Power, Algonquin Power, Beaver Power, Regional Power, Seine River Power, Orillia Power, Abitibi Consolidated and Inco. These suppliers represent 95 percent of the hydraulic generating capacity in the province. Currently, 26 percent of electricity in Ontario comes from water, a decrease from almost all generation less than three generations ago. Total installed capacity is 8,150 MW, with the 2,000 MW facility at Niagara Falls rated as the largest of 200 plants. The estimated potential from re-development of existing facilities is 1,350 MW, with potential for 250 MW at sites previously assessed. Two thousand locations across Ontario have been identified with hydraulic potential. “Current estimates suggest that Ontario has a known unrealized potential of over 1,600 MW of waterpower; that’s enough to provide electricity to almost a quarter of a million homes,” he adds. “The realization of that potential, if developed, would significantly boost the waterpower industry’s almost $1.7 billion in annual energy production.” “There is renewed interest in waterpower,” he says. “Opinion Polls have suggested that there is strong public support for waterpower as a green, renewable source of energy as consumers look for concrete ways to address their growing concern about such environmental issues as climate change and global warming.” Three years ago, a Waterpower Task Force was created to examine existing regulations and policies affecting the hydroelectric industry in Ontario, and to recommend an appropriate regulatory regime and policy framework. In November 1999, the group tabled a set of recommendations to highlight key factors to sustain the development of waterpower. The OWA will work with government agencies on policy initiatives, including environmental assessment, emissions credit and trading systems, resource allocation and planning, renewable energy promotion and economic valuation. It will work with the Canadian Hydropower Association and the Independent Power Producers’ Society of Ontario.