March 1, 2004

Association urges enhanced incentives for new hydropower facilities

Greater incentives are needed to encourage the development of new hydropower facilities, Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) president Al Snyder told members of the Quebec Electricity Association (Association de l'industrie Èlectrique du QuÈbec) recently.

Over the past twelve years in Canada, very few hydropower projects have been developed, he said, partly due to insufficient harmonization between provincial/territorial and federal environmental assessment processes, the timing and requirements of the environmental assessment process, and uncertainty regarding its outcome.

Hydropower produces 60 times fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than coal-fired power plants and 18 to 30 times fewer GHG emissions than natural gas power plants. In addition, says the CHA, its operational flexibility makes it ideally suited to support the development of other renewables such as wind energy.

"Despite the obvious environmental and technical advantages of hydro, it is much longer and more difficult to obtain the go-ahead for a hydro plant than for a thermal plant," said Snyder. "As electricity demand is expected to continue growing over the coming decade, even with new and effective energy conservation measures, we must continue developing low emitting sources of electricity if we are serious about addressing climate change and air pollution," he continued.

To ensure the development of new hydropower capacity, the CHA is calling for incentives such as emissions credits for new hydropower development, appropriate price signals and streamlined environmental assessments. These measures, it says, are necessary to ensure the continued development of Canada's only large-scale renewable and low-emitting source of electricity.

Founded in 1998, the CHA represents the interests of Canada's hydropower industry. Its members represent more than 95% of the hydropower capacity in Canada. More information is available from Gabrielle Collu, 514/844-7338, Web site

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