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2015 Awards

On June 16, the Canadian Electricity Association’s Board of Directors recognized sustainability leadership at Canadian electric utilities through the presentation of the 6th Annual Sustainable ElectricityTM Awards.  These Awards recognize utilities with a commitment to innovation, collaboration, advancement of the overall success of the sector.  Award applications were evaluated with stringent criteria by an independent Public Advisory Panel, Chaired by the Hon. Mike Harcourt, 30th Premier of British Columbia.


The 2015 Award winners are:

Environmental Commitment Award
Ontario Power Generation Inc.
In Recognition of Ontario Power Generation Inc. Biomass Conversion Initiative.

OPG was recognized for their innovative approach to switching the fuel it uses in electricity generation from coal to biomass. In 2014, Ontario Power Generation Inc. (OPG) retired their coal-fired power plants to generate electricity which proved to be one of the single largest climate change initiative undertaken in North America.  As part of this initiative, OPG converted two of its previously coal-fired power plants, the Atikokan Generating Station and the Thunder Bay Generating Station, to white and advanced wood pellet biomass, respectively.The conversion projects demonstrated OPG’s commitment to mitigating its environmental impacts, and to the socio-economic prosperity of northern Ontario communities.  In fact, OPG’s efforts have garnered international attention, and other jurisdictions are now looking to follow OPG’s leadership in the phase-out of coal-fired generation and conversion of existing facilities to biomass.

Key Facts:

-Nearly all of OPG’s electricity is generated from low or non-emitting sources.

-Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to fully eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation.

-OPG has committed to furthering the research, development, and deployment of biomass-based power generation through their support for the BioEnergy Learning and Research Centre at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

About Biomass 

Biomass is an emerging fuel source, which reduces life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 80-90% relative to coal.  Emissions also contain about 75 per cent less nitrogen oxide and virtually no sulphur dioxide than coal emissions.

Social Responsibility Award
Brookfield Renewable Energy Group
In recognition of the Kokish Hydroelectric Facility Partnership 

Brookfield Renewable Energy Group was recognized for its partnership with the ‘Namgis First Nation, under the Kwagis Power LP, to develop a 45 MW run-of-river hydroelectric project on the Kokish River (Vancouver Island).  The partnership and project thrived, in part, because of a mutual respect for culture, land, and aquatic resources, as well as sound management.  Though the partnership is almost 20 years old, the facility was commissioned in April 2014. It has the capacity to annually power nearly 13,000 households with clean electricity.

Key Facts:

-During the construction phase (2012-2014) of the Kokish Hydroelectric Facility the project employed approximately 250 people.

-The facility was developed with significant consideration of environmental impacts on aquatic resources. To protect the Kokish River’s complex aquatic ecosystem, a fish passage system (fish ladder) was developed to facilitate the movement of the fish species, including Coho, Chinook, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye Salmon, Cutthroat, Steelhead and Rainbow Trout.

-This project is result of a unique partnership between the private sector, Aboriginal community and the public sector (P3 Canada Fund).


The Kokish Powerhouse has an installed capacity of 45 megawatts and can generate enough clean renewable energy to power 13,000 homes annually. Photo courtesy of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group.


Many steps were taken to protect and enhance the fish habitat and fishery resources in the watershed. The facility includes a fish ladder to facilitate migration and minimize the environmental impact, and an elaborate coanda screen intake arrangement to prevent fish from entering the intake box.  Photo courtesy of Brookfield Renewable Energy Group.

Certificate of Recognition for Sustainability Leadership
In recognition of social and economic initiatives related to Energy Operations employee training and promotion of local procurement and diversity of suppliers  

TransCanada was awarded a Certificate of Recognition for their leadership in social and economic sustainability.TransCanada anticipated the impending retirement of experienced field employees in its Energy Operations (EO) recognizes its lack of documented processes. With the objective of reducing risks to employees, facilities, and the environment, TransCanada took initiative to develop new documented processes for work management, and trained its EO staff.  To promote local procurement and supplier diversity, TransCanada created an integrated approach for planning, executing, measuring, and reporting supplier diversity and local spending. This approach included an overarching framework, business policy, processes, and tools aimed at enhancing supplier diversity, local participation, and capacity development opportunities.

Key Facts:

-Over 2,000 Site Specific Instruction procedures have been created giving Energy Operations employees access to process documentation for high frequency and/or high risk tasks.

-In 2014, TransCanada generated $104 million in work for Indigenous businesses or their joint-venture partners, an increase of 36% over 2013.

One of TransCanada’s solar facilities in Ontario. Photo courtesy of TransCanada.

One of TransCanada’s wind farms in Quebec. Photo courtesy of TransCanada.