Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2018 - Page 16

Q - From your perspective, how are the state of rivers in northern Ontario?

Q - From your perspective, how are the state of rivers in northern Ontario?

A - Ontario rivers are a whole lot better than they would have been if all 87 hydroelectric projects had gone ahead. It turned out that only half of those original 87 received power procurement contracts, some were stopped by ORA, and some were withdrawn -likely because of the escalating cost of building a hydroelectric project. So only a handful went ahead and are now in operation, and there were no new hydroelectric projects in the last Feed-in-Tariff procurement. There are also a few moving forward on the Trent/Severn River system on properties owned by the Parks Canada Agency – an already compromised river system. Several northern Ontario rivers were earmarked for waterpower development in off-grid remote communities, like the Pickle Lake and Red Lake Cluster, as well as the Ring of Fire. However, a recent decision was made by the province to push transmission lines through, rather than build new hydroelectric facilities. The Independent Electricity System Operator determined that many of these smaller rivers have low and unreliable flows that only produce at approximately 15 to 30% of installed capacity and are just not viable for a reliable source of power. So, at the moment, to a large extent they are safe from new hydro development.