The Helios Centre is a non-profit research group, providing independent expertise in a broad range of energy issues.

Through its research work and the dissemination of its many publications, the Helios Centre aims to foster and build the knowledge base required to achieve a sustainable energy future.


Recent projects

British Columbia — Need for and Alternatives to the Site C Hydroelectric Project

In April 2017, Philip Raphals, together with Rick Hendriks and Prof. Karen Bakker of UBC's Program on Water Governance, reassessed the need for the Site C Hydroelectric Project, a mega-dam and power station on the Peace River in northern British Columbia that is currently under construction. The completed project will generate 1100 MW of power and 5.1 terawatt hours per year of energy. Read more...

Modernization of the Canadian National Energy Board

In 2017 the Helios Centre contributed to the consultation on the modernization of Canada's National Energy Board, presenting a report, "The NEB's Role in Electricity Regulation and Energy Information", on behalf of the Front commun pur la transition énergétique. The report of the Expert Panel is expected later in 2017.

Low-carbon electricity future

At the invitation of the organizers of the Canada-wide publication, Acting on Climate Change: Solutions from Canadian Scholars, the Helios Centre contributed an article entitled "Towards a Sustainable Low-Carbon Electric System: Challenges and Opportunities", to the follow-up book, Acting on Climate Change: Extending the Dialogue Among Canadians. The publication can be found here.

Lower Churchill Project — Newfoundland and Labrador

Since 2010, the Helios Centre has been involved in several proceedings involving different aspects of the Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project, which consists of a dam and power plant — currently under construction — at Muskrat Falls. Read more...

Natural Resources Defence Council — USA

In 2010 the Helios Centre prepared a report on behalf of the NRDC concerning the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a proposed transmission corridor from Québec to New York City.

Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE)

In 2005, together with Peter Bradford, Philip Raphals co-authored "An Analysis of the Relevance of North American Experiences to the Latin American and Caribbean Region." The project included an in-depth review of the impact on restructuring on electricity and natural gas consumers in the U.S. and Canada, with an emphasis on the development of policy guidelines for regulating energy markets in the public interest in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Québec energy policy

In the hearing on the Hydro-Québec Distribution's 2018–2027 Supply Plan, Mr. Raphals has presented evidence demonstrating the need for greater regulatory surveillance of HQD's short-term purchases from neighbouring markets (imports). These purchases have cost hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years, and Hydro-Québec has acknowledged that it does not carry out any retrospective analysis of its strategy's performance. Read more...

Nova Scotia's electricity imports from Newfoundland

In 2013-2014, the Nova Scotia Utilities and Review Board assessed a proposed contract for Nova Scotia Power to purchase electricity imported from Muskrat Falls. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) asked Mr. Raphals to provide expert testimony on their behalf in this proceeding. In his expert testimony, he demonstrated that the perceived economic benefits were based on blending high-priced contractual energy with low-priced surplus energy, for which no commitment had been made. Without large quantities of surplus energy, the cost of imports would be greater than the alternatives. The Board agreed with this analysis and approved the project conditional upon the conclusion of a contract guaranteeing Nova Scotia access to market-priced energy.

Innu Nation — Rate Case for Newfoundland & Labrador Hydro

In 2014, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro (NLH) filed a rate application that would have increased electric rates at the Innu reserve of Sheshiatsiu by 26%. The Helios Centre was asked by the Innu Nation (Labrador) to assist it before the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Utilities Board. Read more...

Wind Industry

In 2005, for CanWEA, the Helios Centre co-authored a submission on wind power to the Ontario Power Authority's Supply Mix Consultation.

In 2012, the Helios Centre completed a study of the rate impacts in Quebec caused by existing and planned wind farms. The study demonstrated that these rate impacts are real, but are far less than is widely believed.

In 2015 Mr. Raphals was a finalist for the prestigious R.J. Templin Prize, awarded by the Canadian Wind Energy Association for research that has advanced wind energy in Canada.

Low Impact Hydropower Institute

The Helios Centre has been actively involved with the Low Impact Hydropower Institute almost since its inception in 2001. Philip Raphals has been chair of LIHI's Renewable Energy Markets Advisory Committee since 2014.

In 2004, the Helios Centre produced a study entitled Seeding Green Power which took a fresh look at the characteristics that define a low-impact hydropower installation. In 2014, with the active participation of the Helios Centre, LIHI made a major revision to its certification criteria.

Renewable alternatives to diesel generation

The Helios Centre has carried out two studies for Hydro-Québec concerning renewable alternatives to diesel generation for off-grid communities. In 2006, we examined renewable energy options for Québec's off-grid communities.

In 2008, a similar study was carried out for the diesel-supplied mini-grid in Jacmel, Haiti. Not surprisingly, we found that there were far more viable options in the tropics, where sunshine and biomass are abundant, than in the North. See also Part 2 of the study.

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