New Graduate Courses in Waterpower

As the world strives for decarbonization, the energy supply is in transition, and waterpower is uniquely positioned to support this change. As the oldest form of low carbon energy, waterpower’s role is becoming even more important. The energy transition is demanding more flexibility to support other renewable technologies, upgrading of aging infrastructure that not only support the electricity grid but are imperative for integrated water management in supporting flood mitigation, navigation, and recreation. There are exciting opportunities with new energy storage facilities and investment in small waterpower at the distribution level. The challenges with climate change and balancing water resources are many, but waterpower stations are suited to tackle these challenges, embedded in communities and ecosystems all across Canada. They are long-term assets, in a world of short-term investment. A new curriculum focused on waterpower aims to prepare students for the unique challenges of this technology and growth opportunities in the industry, drawing on its long history and the many lessons learned, especially in the domain of sustainable development.

Industry support: The curriculum has been developed in partnership with the University of Toronto (UoT) and the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA). The OWA is a non-profit organization representing the collective interest of the waterpower sector. Their membership includes generators, engineering firms, environmental consultants, legal, project financing and insurance firms, First Nations communities, and other organizations.

“Educating the next generation of waterpower professionals has been an ongoing need for some time,” said Bill Touzel, OWA Board member. “This new University of Toronto Master’s program has specific hydropower-focused courses that aim to bridge the gap between engineering students, industry professionals, and those who are interested and passionate about the unique attributes that waterpower technology can bring to the table to solve future challenges.”

“Providing an academic pathway for waterpower professionals is of the utmost importance to our industry,” said Paul Norris, President of OWA. “Waterpower has been the backbone of the electricity system for over a century and now, more than ever, newly trained waterpower professionals are needed to balance the ongoing complexities of economic, environmental, and social challenges we face as a society.”

The curriculum is being designed in close collaboration with an OWA Advisory Committee, including two new graduate courses, which will be offered in the 2021-2022 academic year.

For further inquiries about the waterpower courses, contact Sharon Mandair,