The mission of the Association is to be the collective voice advocating for the Ontario waterpower industry.
The OWA is working with government agencies on a number of provincial policy initiatives, including the following:
The OWA is also participating in initiatives led by other organizations, including the Canadian Hydropower Association and the Association of Power Producers of Ontario, and is taking steps to fulfill its mandate of forming productive partnerships with groups and agencies with an interest in waterpower.
The Ontario waterpower industry has a long and proud history and an extremely bright future thanks to the natural abundance of waterpower in the province. In fact, waterpower continues to be one of Ontario's most valuable renewable resources.
Less than three generations ago, Ontario's waterpower resources accounted for almost all of the electricity produced in the province. Waterpower fuelled the economic development of Ontario and contributed to the quality of life we enjoy to this day.
Today, approximately 26% of Ontario's energy is produced by falling water-an amount that is roughly equivalent to that generated by fossil fuels. With a total of 8150 MW of installed capacity, waterpower represents a major component of the province's energy mix. In fact, in northern Ontario, waterpower still accounts for 85% of the regional energy supply.
There are approximately 200 waterpower facilities currently operating in the province, ranging in capacity from less than 1 MW to Niagara Falls - at close to 2000 MW. It is estimated that there is the potential for another 1350 MW from the re-development of some existing facilities and at least 250 MW of new development potential on sites that have been previously assessed.
While waterpower is a proven technology, it continues to evolve and improve. Sustainable waterpower development added 150 MW to Ontario's waterpower portfolio in the last ten years alone, largely in response to the demand for renewable energy sources. With more than 2000 locations across the province identified with the raw hydraulic potential to produce energy, waterpower will continue to contribute to local, regional, and provincial requirements in a manner that balances social, environmental, and economic objectives.
In addition to producing energy, many waterpower facilities are managed to provide a number of important ancillary benefits, including flood mitigation, water level stability for recreation, flow maintenance for dilution or habitat protection, and erosion control.
In an environment of consumer choice, it is clear that renewable energy will continue to be valued, and that waterpower, which comprises over 95% of Ontario's renewable power assets, will build on its long history of contributing to the continued prosperity of the province. The Ontario Waterpower Association will play a key role in determining the future of waterpower in the province.