We can save $34 billion while lowering our climate impact
The Ontario Government has issued a Climate Change discussion paper that recognizes the urgent need for climate action and strongly suggests putting a price on carbon. That's the good news. The bad news is that pricing carbon will likely still be opposed by many interests despite the clear evidence of an unravelling climate. But simply by improving the efficiency of both our electricity and gas use and importing low-cost water power from Quebec instead of rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear Station, we can offset the impact of a carbon price with huge cost savings. Read our new factsheet, Achieving our climate goals while lowering our energy bills, and provide your own comments on the province's plan.
We need a public review of any Bruce Power deal
The Independent Electricity System Operator is deep in secret negotiations with privately owned Bruce Power for the re-building of the aging reactors at the Bruce B Nuclear Station on the shores of Lake Huron. This proposed deal would be the costliest ever signed between the Ontario government and a private company — running anywhere from $60 - $111 billion. Yet despite falling electricity demand and no shortage of safer and more cost effective options, Ontario’s Minister of Energy is refusing to send any deal to the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) for a full public review. Our new pamphlet lays out five reasons we need an OEB review of any deal with Bruce Power to see if it makes any sense for Ontario.
Our climate needs smarter natural gas use
Burning natural gas is Ontario’s second largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (after transportation).In 2012, natural gas consumption was responsible for approximately 30% of our GHG emissions. But despite the Ontario government's commitment to putting Conservation First when it comes to using natural gas (and electricity), the Ontario Energy Board has released a gas conservation framework with many serious flaws, including:
Our new factsheet examines the flaws in the OEB's approach and looks at how this plan can be better aligned with the Government's efforts to meet greenhouse gas emission targets while saving Ontario homes and businesses money
Quebec electricity would save Ontario consumers $14 billion
The OCAA's newly released review of the province's Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) points to a number of opportunities and problems:
Electricity demand down, economic growth up
Today, Ontario is producing 21% more goods and services for every kilowatt hour of electricity consumed than it was in 2005. Since the depths of the 2008-09 recession our economy has steadily recovered while electricity demand has remained largely flat. Better technology, such as LED lighting -- which has now leaped ahead of even fluorescent lighting in its energy efficiency -- computerized pumps and motors that adjust to workloads, and more efficient computer data centres are examples of the technologies driving this trend.
But Ontario continues to under invest in energy efficiency and remains fixated on spending tens of billions of dollars to re-build increasingly unnecessary nuclear reactors. For every dollar the province has budgeted for energy conservation efforts in the next six years, it is planning to spend at least $5.40 on re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.
To learn more about these two trends, read our new factsheets:
High cost jobs
This new factsheet looks at the cost of creating jobs in the auto manufacturing sector compared to creating jobs through the rebuilding of the Darlington Nuclear Plant. For government, there is no question which approach offers greater bang for the job creation buck.
A picture is worth billions
The graph in our newly revised factsheet explains in one image why Ontario should be pursuing water power imports from Quebec instead of re-building our aging nuclear reactors. Combined with energy efficiency, Quebec imports are far cheaper than nuclear electricity, even under Ontario Power Generation’s most optimistic estimates. Even if we lock into a long-term contract at double the spot market price for Quebec water power, we will still come out ahead by billions of dollars. It really is that simple.
Greater electricity trade can help both Ontario and Quebec and save us $1 billion a year
Our new report makes it clear that there are enormous benefits for both Ontario and Quebec that would flow from increased cooperation on electricity. Ontario could import power from Quebec at a fraction of the cost of rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear Station. Quebec could increase both its export prices and volumes and diversify its export markets. Quebec could import Ontario wind power in winter to help meet its peak demand. Ontario could use Quebec wind and water power in summer to help meet peak demand. Both provinces will end up with lower debt thanks to either lower system costs or increased revenues. It's a win-win deal just waiting to happen.
Read more about what a deal can do for Quebec: Higher Profits, Lower Bills: A New Electricity Strategy for Quebec | En francais
Nuclear generation up, electricity costs up
The amount of power supplied by nuclear plants in Ontario has increased by 44% since 2003. Over the same period, the wholesale cost of electricity has also risen by 50% — just more evidence that high cost, high risk nuclear power is no bargain. With OPG requesting a 30% price increase for its nuclear plants, in part to start paying for the costly rebuilding of its aging Darlington Nuclear Station, there has never been a better time to negotiate a much lower cost power import deal with Quebec. In fact, a recent poll shows that Ontarians would prefer to import hydro power from Quebec than rebuild Darlington even if power from Darlington cost the same as power from Quebec!
Celebrating the coal phase out
On Feb. 27th, the OCAA was joined at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto by 300 guests to celebrate Ontario's groundbreaking coal phase out. It took 17 years and a relentless effort to eliminate the single largest source of air pollution, toxins and greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario, but we did it! At the event we presented "Clean Air and Climate Champion Awards" to Bruce Lourie, president of the Ivey Foundation, Dr. Ted Boadway from the Ontario Medical Association, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, and Premier Kathleen Wynne. We also heard from Premier Kathleen Wynne, who committed to continued action to address smog and climate change.View event photos.
Why Ontario needs to put conservation first (and nuclear last)
The Ontario Government has released a new Long Term Energy Plan. The good news is that plan includes a commitment to put conservation first for both electricity and natural gas in Ontario and opens the door to importing low-cost water power from Quebec. The bad news is that it continues to call for spending tens of billions of dollars on re-building unneeded nuclear reactors.
Making energy efficiency work for Ontario's economy
How Ontario can create thousands of new jobs, reduce government deficits and grow its economy by embracing energy efficiency
Read the accompanying analysis of the economic impact of increased energy efficiency produced by the Centre for Spatial Economics, one of Ontario's top economic forecasters.
Conservation vs. New Supply factsheet: This factsheet summarizes the Ontario Power Authority's spending on new supply sources compared to its spending on efficiency and conservation methods.
The case for phasing out nuclear power
OCAA Chair Jack Gibbons on how Ontario can phase out nuclear power and why we should import water power from Quebec:
OPG is seeking permission from the Ontario Energy Board to raise its rates commencing March 2011 to start paying for the Darlington Re-Build project. According to OPG, its proposal to extend the operating life of Darlington by 30 years will cost $8.5 to $14 billion. However, as this OCAA report notes, every single nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone over budget and the actual costs of Ontario’s nuclear projects have been 2.5 times greater than the original cost estimates.
Billions still owing on debt racked up by old Ontario Hydro on costly nuclear projects