A new report which looks at the viability of future hydropower development in northern Alberta and recognizes the positive role hydropower can play has been welcomed by the Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA).

The report – Review of the Potential for Expanded Hydroelectric Energy Production in Northern Alberta – was prepared by the Alberta Legislature’s Resource Stewardship Committee. The CHA presented to the Committee last October as part of the preparation for this study.

"As Alberta begins replacing its primarily coal-fired electricity generation, it can draw on substantial hydro potential to replace that generation and help meet new demand," said Jacob Irving, President, Canadian Hydropower Association. "A transition to hydro would provide numerous benefits including dramatically reducing GHG emissions in Alberta."

Currently, hydropower generation contributes just two per cent of Alberta’s electricity while coal-fired generation accounts for more than 60%. With coal plants being decommissioned under new Federal rules as well as continued load growth, Alberta will need to substantially increase its baseload supply. With more than 11,000MW of hydropower potential, the province has the opportunity to become another one of Canada’s hydro powerhouses.

The new report highlights, amongst others, the economic & environmental advantages of hydropower and the potential for partnerships with Aboriginal peoples, Provinces & Territories.

Canada produces 60% of its electricity from hydropower and is the third largest hydro generator in the world.


Image: The Horseshoe hydro plant, Alberta. Courtesy Transalta