Canadian Hydropower Association

Canadian Hydropower Association

December 14, 2011 14:42 ET

Hydropower Investment Could Create a Million Canadian Jobs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 14, 2011) - The Canadian Hydropower Association (CHA) reported today that a study it commissioned indicates hydropower investment could produce over 1,000,000 Canadian jobs over the next 20 years from construction activities alone. These are known as FTEs, or "full-time equivalents," where each represents one person employed for one year. The employment opportunities would occur in every region of the country. The business school, HEC Montréal, conducted the study, entitled Job Creation and Economic Development Opportunities in the Canadian Hydropower Market.

Electricity generation projects already under consideration for 2011-2030 would create 776,000 FTEs for construction firms and their suppliers, which is the equivalent of 38,800 positions lasting 20 years. A further 224,000 induced FTEs are forecast to be created by increased spending by those directly or indirectly employed by the projects. "These results highlight what appears to be one of the best kept secrets of the Canadian energy sector," said CHA President and CEO Jacob Irving, "the multiple benefits of Canada's extraordinary hydropower potential."

The report's authors employed the commonly used Statistics Canada Input - Output Model of the Canadian economy to test various scenarios. The 158 potential projects that industry members identified for the study would require investment of $127.7 billion and would result in 29,060 megawatts (MW) of both refurbished and new generation capacity. The model results predict that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be about $15 billion per year greater over the study period than it would have been otherwise, due to the construction of the capacity and its subsequent operation.

"The researchers call this the 'optimistic' scenario," said Mr. Irving, "but it's good to remember that it is limited to projects currently under some degree of active consideration. We're already the world's third largest hydropower generator. It's astonishing to think, big as we are, we have still vast clean and renewable undeveloped hydropower potential from coast to coast to coast"

While the employment totals are impressive, the study did not attempt to quantify employment created by investment in new and upgraded transmission and distribution capacity that would be necessary to handle the increased hydropower production. Moreover, these infrastructure expansions could also enable increased investment in other electricity projects, such as wind and solar generation. The impact on employment of this type of activity also fell outside the scope of the research.

"The Canadian hydropower industry has been, and will continue to be, a reliable source of clean, renewable energy for Canada, and North America. The HEC Montréal study also reminds us of its tremendous potential as an economic driver for Canada," said Mr Irving.

About the Canadian Hydropower Association

Founded in 1998, the CHA is the national association dedicated to representing the interests of the hydropower industry. Its principal mandate is to promote hydropower nationally and internationally as a source of renewable energy, to make the economic and environmental advantages of hydropower better known, and to publicize the benefits of hydropower in the search for sustainable energy solutions. CHA members represent more than 95% of the hydropower capacity in Canada.

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