Speaking at the Ontario Waterpower Association's annual conference and exhibition, Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli affirmed the role of hydroelectric power in the province's current and future energy sector.
"Hydroelectric power is a central pillar of the government's renewable electricity portfolio," Chiarelli said. "Clearly, the province's hydroelectric generation sector has been in the renewable energy business since before the term 'renewable' was common currency."
Ontario's commitment to hydropower will be further emphasized in its Long-Term Energy Plan, which will be released later this year.
Chiarelli also noted a recently announced initiative that will update existing evaluations for hydro development in the province's northern region. The study is being supported by the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ontario Power Authority and Ontario Waterpower Association.
"We are lucky to have these untapped resources at our disposal," Chiarelli said. "Ontario has at its disposal dozens of existing sites at which we must ensure we are maximizing existing opportunities, including capacity upgrades and renovation to increase generating potential."
Development in Ontario's north "just makes sense", the minister said, given hydro's ability to support growth in the province's mining sector.
"We are extremely pleased with the Ontario government recognition and support of waterpower," OWA president Paul Norris said. "Waterpower was Ontario's original source and we are confident that it will continue to be the backbone for the future of energy in Ontario."
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