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Modernized Tenure for Hydroelectric Facilities
Minister Smith and guests standing in front of South River dam
Province Boosts Investment Confidence in Waterpower Industry
Minister Graydon Smith Announces Modernized Tenure for Hydroelectric Facilities on Provincial Crown Land
December 2, 2022 – South River, ON – Today, the Honourable Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, joined the Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA), officials from the Village of South River and representatives from South River Power Generation Corporation for a celebration of the modernized Waterpower Lease Agreement (WPLA). The OWA is extremely pleased with this initiative as it provides long-term investment certainty for these perpetual facilities.
“Ontario is thrilled to be making this important step in collaboration with the Ontario Waterpower Association,” said Graydon Smith, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. “This new, updated framework creates a clear path forward for waterpower companies across the province to reduce administrative burden, provide greater certainty to industry, and to help build Ontario.”
“The Village of South is very proud of our green energy investments. These projects can be complex requiring detailed work and cooperation on many levels. This agreement is an example of that work and cooperation,” said Mayor Jim Coleman. “The Village appreciates all the efforts of the Ontario Waterpower Association, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and the South River Power Generation Corporation to make this happen.”
Waterpower Lease Agreements are tenure under the Public Lands Act governing the use of Crown Land for waterpower development and operation and provide the foundation for the landlord-tenant relationship between the province and the industry. The previous generic WPLA was developed in 2001 to reflect the commercialization of Ontario’s electricity sector. There have been a number of legislative, regulatory and policy advancements over the last two decades and the modernized framework has been designed to incorporate these changes.
“This new leasehold tenure not only provides added certainty for asset owners but it also reduces regulatory burden and the duplication of approvals,” said Paul Norris, OWA President. “The OWA would like to recognize the efforts of both its members and the Ministry staff who worked collaboratively to develop this revised framework.“
There are 224 waterpower facilities in the province of Ontario and affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy to the province. The vast majority of these facilities are on provincial Crown land and have been in continuous service for decades and many for more than a century. Ontario has an estimated 4,500 – 5,000 MW of untapped waterpower potential – the realization of which will be key to addressing the province’s emergent and enduring electricity needs.
For further information, please contact:
Ontario Waterpower Association
From left to right in photo are James Carter - OWA Board Member, Sherri Hawthorne - South River Power Generation, South River Mayor Jim Coleman, Hon Graydon Smith - Minister Natural Resources and Forestry, Paul Norris - President OWA, Bill Touzel - OWA Board Member, and Paul Young OWA Board Member

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