Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Hydropower Country Notes
Canada possesses enormous hydropower potential. In 2005, 60% of its electricity generation was provided by hydroelectric power plants, which generated more than 358 TWh, up from 337 TWh in 2004. Canada is one of the largest hydro producers in the world, and had an installed capacity of 71 978 MW at the end of 2005.
There are many significant hydroelectric projects under way. In total, these projects will increase hydro generation capacity by more than 3 500 MW.
In British Columbia, there are three significant expansions/installations currently being undertaken: the expansion of the Brilliant Dam and power plant on the Kootenay River near Castlegar will increase its capacity by 120 MW when commissioned (Spring 2007); the Forrest Kerr run-of-river hydro facility, with a capacity of 115 MW, is expected to be completed in early 2008; upgrades to the generators at the Mica Dam hydro station will add about 275 MW by 2009. The Waneta Expansion project will commence construction in 2007 pending approvals, and would add a further 435 MW.
In Manitoba, upgrades at the Kelsey generating station will add 84 MW by 2010, the first unit was started in 2006. Construction of the Wuskwatim generating station commenced in August 2006, and will add 200 MW.
In Ontario, upgrades at the Sir Adam Beck II generating station between 1996 and 2005 resulted in an increased capacity of 208 MW, and the Niagara Tunnel Project will increase the capacity factor at Sir Adam Beck II, resulting in an expected 1 600 GWh/yr extra generation by 2009. The recently completed rehabilitation at the R.H. Saunders generating station resulted in a capacity increase of 132 MW.
While plans exist for new hydro capacity in Newfoundland and Labrador, there has been no recent construction.
Quebec is the largest developer of hydroelectricity in Canada. In 2005, the 77 m high Toulnustouc Dam and generating station was completed, adding 526 MW of capacity. The Mercier project is to be completed in late 2007 on the Gatineau River north of Maniwaki, and will add 50 MW. The Eastmain-1 hydro station was fully commissioned in Spring 2007, adding a further 480 MW. The Eastmain-1-A/Rupert diversion project was launched in January 2007; it will add 888 MW when commissioned in 2010/11. The Péribonka hydro project will be commissioned in 2008, adding 385 MW. Two run-of-river projects are being constructed, at Chute Allard (62 MW) and Rapides-des-Coeurs (76 MW), and should be commissioned by 2008. Refurbishment at Outardes-3 and -4 will increase capacity by 310 MW. Upgrades at the La Tuque power plant will increase capacity by 51 MW.
Installed capacity of small hydro plants of less than 10 MW totalled 978 MW at end- 2004. These facilities are located throughout the country, particularly in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador.
In Canada, the Income Tax Act defines small hydro as any hydro facility with less than 50 MW, and allows for the accelerated depreciation of those facilities. Under this definition, the installed capacity was 3 400 MW in 2005. An inventory prepared by Natural Resources Canada identified 5 500 technically feasible sites, with a potential of 11 000 MW. However, of these, only about 15% are currently both technically and economically feasible. It is estimated that by 2011, a further 2 000 MW of small hydro capacity, below 50 MW, could be installed.
In 2004, the Ontario Government awarded one contract to a small hydro facility that guarantees the developer a fixed price and fixed term for its production. Small hydro facilities qualify for tax incentives with accelerated depreciation treatment.
Most provinces are now using a competitive process to increase renewable energy supply, including small hydro. Three provinces (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island) have legislated Renewable Portfolio Standards, and effective 1 April 2007, the federal Government provides incentives for renewable electricity generation projects.