Waterpower development approved at Ear Falls site

The Ontario government has given Horizon Hydro approval to pursue a proposed waterpower facility on a Crown land site, Natural Resources minister David Ramsay announced last week.
“Horizon Hydro Inc.’s proposal has the potential to contribute to the region’s prosperity with their focus on the sustainable development of a waterpower site on the Troutlake River,” noted Ramsay.
“This exciting project means cleaner air and healthier Ontarians, given the potential to generate 3.2 megawatts of emission-free power—enough to supply up to 2,900 homes with electricity,” he added.
The MNR has accepted a proposal from Horizon Hydro for development of this site.
The company now can seek approvals to build a waterpower facility, along with the opportunity to apply to the Ministry of Energy’s Standard Offer Program.
The proposed project also must undergo environmental assessments and public review before construction of the waterpower facility can begin.
This is an important opportunity for the public to become involved.
“We are delighted to continue to invest in Ontario’s renewable future, as this is our second small hydro development in the province,” said Ian Baines, president of Horizon Hydro and chairman of the Ontario Waterpower Association.
“We are pleased to show that smaller, low head plants—such as this project and our similarly-sized Bala project in the Muskokas—can make a contribution to our green future, and kudos to MNR for encouraging these projects to proceed.”
“Our industry is committed to the responsible development and management of the province’s valuable resources for new renewable energy,” said Paul Norris, president of the Ontario Waterpower Association.
“While we already produce about one-quarter of our electricity from clean, renewable waterpower, this project helps develop Ontario’s significant remaining potential,” he noted.
“The McGuinty government is committed to removing barriers and creating renewable energy opportunities,” echoed Energy minister Dwight Duncan.
“This initiative is another important step forward in building a cleaner, greener energy future for our province.”
The MNR is promoting renewable energy by making Crown land available for wind power and waterpower development. There are about 35 waterpower site release applications in various stages of review and approval.
Should the ministry agree that a proposal is a good fit for a site, the proponent then must secure a variety of other approvals, including an environmental assessment, before the project can begin.
The land is leased to successful proponents by the ministry.