Ontario Government Confirms its Support of “Made-in-Ontario” Waterpower

Energy Minister Meets with the Waterpower Industry at the Annual Power of Water Canada Conference


May 30, 2023 – Niagara, Ontario – The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) and its members are extremely pleased with the provincial government’s continued support of “Made-in-Ontario” waterpower, as confirmed by Energy Minister Todd Smith in his opening keynote address at the Power of Water Canada Conference. With more than four hundred fifty (450) delegates in attendance, it is clear that the investment climate for the industry has never been more positive.

“The province has recognized the foundational importance of securing Ontario’s existing hydroelectric assets well into the future and the significant opportunities to expand waterpower’s contribution to meeting our electrification and decarbonization objectives,” said Stephen Somerville, Chair of the OWA Board of Directors.

In his remarks, Minister Smith spoke to the positive progress made between the OWA, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) and the Ministry of Energy in designing and finalizing a Program to recontract existing small hydroelectric facilities. The Minister also spoke to the important role that new waterpower will play in meeting near and long-term energy requirements as well as the important opportunities for Indigenous economic participation.

“Waterpower is a big part of why Ontario enjoys a clean energy advantage with one of the cleanest electricity grids in the world,” said Minister Smith. “I’m pleased that the OWA and the IESO continue to make progress on a new program to recontract existing small hydroelectric facilities. Working together, we will ensure our province is on track to meet the electricity needs and increasing electrification while leveraging clean, renewable hydro generation to power economic growth for decades to come.”

In October 2022, the Minister issued a letter to the IESO providing instruction on the framework for a Program to contract existing facilities, recognizing the important role the fleet plays, both in generating electricity and providing benefits such as recreational opportunities, flood control, irrigation, tourism and supporting local employment and economic development.  The Program is expected to be finalized and implemented by the fall of 2023.

In February of 2023, the Ministry launched a public consultation to seek input on the IESO’s “No Regrets” recommendations as outlined in their “Pathways to Decarbonization” Report. The Ministry concurrently released the “Northern Ontario Hydroelectric Opportunities” Report, prepared by Ontario Power Generation with assistance from the OWA. The Report identifies 4,000 – 5,000 MW of untapped hydroelectric potential in the province.

“Our industry is poised to grow through a measured and planned cadence to the expansion of existing assets and the development of new resources”, added Somerville. “One look at the talent and expertise of the companies attending our annual conference and it is apparent that we’re ready to deliver.”

Based on a socioeconomic analysis commissioned by the OWA, an estimated $2.4 Billion will be invested in sustaining existing assets in the near term, supporting 5,000 jobs. It’s estimated that as much as 75 per cent of every dollar invested in hydro developments and expansions stays in the province, supporting local communities, workers and families.



For more information on OWA, visit: www.owa.ca.


Media requests can be directed to:

Paul Norris, President
Ontario Waterpower Association
Phone 705-741-9686 Email: pnorris@owa.ca