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Ontario reviewing hydroelectric potential of province's north

Consulting firm Hatch was retained by the Ontario government in September to undertake an updated analysis and evaluation of hydroelectric potential in the province's northern region. The initiative - made possible with support from the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Power Authority - will help guide Ontario's Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP), as well as aboriginal community-led economic development.

The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) said initial studies on the province's hydropower potential began in 2005 to support the Integrated Power System Plan (IPSP). An evaluation at that time led to the inclusion of about 3,000 MW of additional capacity to be developed in the IPSP, with much of it located within the province's north.

In 2010, the LTEP established an initial objective of 9,000 MW of hydropower to be in service by 2018. The plan also recognized the importance of developing new transmission in northern Ontario, as well as the provision of services to diesel-dependent areas.

BC Hydro seeks feedback on draft resource plan

Canadian utility and hydropower project operator BC Hydro has been directed to conduct a final round of consultations on its most recent draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with First Nation groups, key stakeholders and the public.

The draft IRP details BC Hydro's recommended actions to meet an expected 40% increase in British Columbia's demand for electricity over the next 20 years while keeping power rates affordable. Canada's Clean Energy Act requires a plan to be submitted at least once every five years.

Feedback on its current iteration will be accepted through Oct. 18, and BC Hydro will resubmit the IRP for government consideration by Nov. 15.

Specifically recognized in the draft IRP is the proposed 1,100-MW Site C project on British Columbia's Peace River, which, BC Hydro said, "would meet the long-term energy needs of customers with cost-effective, reliable and renewable electricity."

The plan also details the utility's desire to diversify its generating fleet to include other forms of power production - most notably with liquefied natural gas - although hydroelectricity is still noted for its past and future importance.

"British Columbia has built some of the most ambitious hydroelectric projects in the world," the company said in a release. "Generations of British Columbians have benefited from the foresight of these historic investments."

Construction of Ontario's 10-MW Okikendawt project under way

Construction of Hydromega Services' 10-MW Okikendawt project began in September. The project - located adjacent to a dam that controls an outflow from Ontario's Lake Nipissing into the French River - is a joint venture between Hydromega and the Dokis First Nation.

All energy generated by the facility will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority for a 40-year term via a feed-in tariff power purchase agreement.

Hydromega said the project was designed after consultations with stakeholders in the region and that fishery habitats and sensitive ecological and archeological zones will be protected.

The partners said they were helped in the project's development by Ontario Power Authority, Hydro One, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, federal departments of Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Public Works, Government Services Canada, and other local and federal municipalities. Financing for Okikendawt was arranged by the Stonebridge Financial Corporation.

"We anticipate construction of the project will take 18 months," Hydromega President Jacky Cerceau said. "Development of the project will lead to significant investment in construction‐related activities, services and equipment contracts with numerous companies."

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