The first hydroelectric generator in Canada was installed near Ottawa, which was the first city in North America to sign a contract to light its streets with electric power, in 1882. Waterpower provided all of Ontario’s electricity until just over 50 years ago. 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 approximately 200 waterpower facilities representing a total of 8,150 MW of installed capacity, waterpower represents a major component of the Ontario’s energy mix with 60% of the facility locations in Southern Ontario. 35% of all facilities have capacity between 1 to 10MW. In northern Ontario, waterpower still accounts for 85% of the regional energy supply, while nuclear power accounts for 41%, fossil fuels (coal, gas, oil) 32%, and other renewables (wind, solar etc.) 1%.
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.
Ian Baines, chair of the OWA Board of Directors, indicates “it is clear that the province will depend more and more on existing and new waterpower production. Ontario has enormous untapped potential that could be realized, but we also have one of the most complex regulatory regimes. We need the value of waterpower acknowledged and reflected across government policies and programs”.