OPG signs agreement to streamline approvals for dam maintenance
The provincial government recently announced an agreement with Ontario Power Generation that streamlines much of the routine work that OPG will need to do to maintain and improve its hydro dams under the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act (LRIA).
Toby Barrett, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, said on June 20, 2019 that the 10-year agreement will reduce regulatory burdens on OPG while ensuring necessary work is carried out with proper documentation and reporting requirements in place.
OPG President of Renewable Energy Mike Martelli says the company owns more than 240 dams. Hundreds of other dams across Ontario are owned by other hydroelectric companies, Conservation Authorities and Municipalities. The agreements will allow for dam owners who meet the requirements of the “Framework for Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act Agreements for Alterations, Improvements and Repairs to Dams” to file an annual work plan with the Ministry rather than seeking individual approvals for each activity to improve the condition of dams. The OPG agreement contains important provisions designed to ensure and enhance dam safety, emergency management and public safety.
“Now if we see an impending problem we are always ahead of it,” said Martelli. “When we see a condition that’s deteriorating this allows us to address it very quickly and not go through a lot of paperwork to get that work done.”
The agreement approach is available to other eligible qualified dam owners. The Framework is publicly available at https://www.ontario.ca/page/framework-lakes-and-rivers-improvement-act-agreements-alterations-improvements-and-repairs-dams.