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Turning River Currents Into Clean Electricity

Archived News Release

Turning River Currents Into Clean Electricity

McGuinty Government Investing To Spark Green Technology

A green energy project using innovative water turbines will generate renewable power from the current of the St Lawrence River.

The Ontario Government-funded project, located near Cornwall, will turn the river's strong current into 15 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power 11,000 average-sized homes.

It is the latest example of how the government is actively supporting renewable energy and innovation as the province moves away from coal to sustainable power.

The turbine looks like an underwater windmill. Installed on the floor of the river, the turbine taps into the power of the river's current to generate clean electricity. The turbine blades rotate slowly allowing fish to pass through safely with minimal environmental impact.

Burlington-based Verdant Power Canada will install their Free Flow™ Turbine technology to test the feasibility of using it on a larger scale. 

Verdant estimates that there is enough potential power in the water currents of Canada's tides, rivers and manmade channels to generate 15,000 megawatts of clean electricity using its technology -- enough to power over 11 million average-sized homes. 

Ontario is investing $2.2 million in this project under the Innovation Demonstration Fund, which supports promising bio-based, environmental and alternative energy technologies

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources conservatively estimates that there is 2,000 megawatts of untapped waterpower potential in Ontario — enough to power a million and a half homes.

Background Information

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“Here's a great example of how innovative solutions to long-term challenges like securing a renewable energy supply are being developed right here in Ontario. With this project we are demonstrating a clean, viable alternative source of energy — one that not only works in Ontario, but one we can export around the world.”

John Wilkinson

Minister of Research and Innovation

“This project shows what can be achieved through the commitment of this community to make a greener, more innovative Ontario and that our riding is ideal for opportunities in renewable energy and green technologies. The St. Lawrence River has been a major contributor to life in this area for hundreds of years, and thanks to some visionary thinking and timeless Ontario ingenuity, it is now also a source of clean, responsible energy”

MPP Stormont- Dundas-South Glengarry

MPP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry

“Developing clean, affordable and sustainable sources of energy is a top priority of our government. This project is exemplary of Ontario's drive toward a greener energy future.”

Gerry Philips

Minister of Energy

“Water is a proven resource for generating power. But we are going to demonstrate a game-changing power source – simply by using underwater currents without dams.”

Trey Taylor

President and Co-founder, Verdant Power