The Ontario Clean Air Alliance sends out email bulletins on air quality and energy issues two to three times a month. Read our latest bulletins below or browse the archive. You can also add your own thoughts on the issues raised in our bulletins by clicking the "Add Comment" link below each posting.
People in Ontario use 50% more energy per person than their neighbours in New York State. That’s a big gap that can’t be explained away by a colder climate or other factors – the bottom line is that we are simply much more wasteful in our energy use.
We need to close that gap to save money, make our businesses and industries more competitive, and avoid the multi-billion dollar cost – and risks – of new nuclear and gas plants. It’s time for Ontario to get serious about energy efficiency by making it the first choice for meeting our needs, whether it's a warm house or a cold beer.
Energy efficiency must no longer play second fiddle to expensive and inflexible generation projects like rebuilding aging nuclear reactors or expanding our fleet of gas plants. Places like New York, Vermont and California have proven that efficiency works and that it is the cheapest and most environmentally positive way to meet our energy needs. Ontario needs to get with the program for the health of our environment and our economy.
Premier Wynne needs to hear from you that maximizing efficiency – at an average cost of just 3 cents per kilowatt hour – makes much more sense than investing tens of billions of dollars in costly nuclear and gas projects. You can help get the message out by distributing our great new pamphlet to your friends, family and co-workers and by sending a letter to the Premier today.
It’s critical that we convince the Premier to move in this new direction: Already, Ontario Power Generation has signed contracts with SNC-Lavalin and others totalling $1 billion to rebuild its aging Darlington Nuclear Station. If this white-elephant project proceeds it will cost up to $35 billion and drive our electricity bills through the roof. Tell the Premier we need a new more economically sound approach – today!
You can find out more about how Ontario will benefit by investing in efficiency in our Power of Efficiency website section.
- Angela Bischoff
P.S. Click here now to order multiple copies of our new leaflet: Premier Wynne can lower your energy bills. They're free! And please distribute them to your friends, neighbours and co-workers.
Premier Wynne may be literally sitting on the answer to Ontario’s gas plant problems.
In the Whitney Block building that contains the Premier’s office, there is a steam plant that heats various buildings around Queen’s Park. It is a perfect example of outdated energy infrastructure that could be made much more efficient. By converting this plant to a combined heat and power (CHP) system, Queen’s Park could make much more efficient use of the natural gas being burned there and reduce the need for gas peaker plants to power its air conditioners in summer.
Using CHP systems is just one of 7 ideas we have for how Premier Wynne can remake Ontario’s electricity system as a lean and efficient service machine. These 7 steps are the key to unlocking cost savings, increased productivity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario. We hope the Premier will act on each and every one of them.
Seven steps to unlock Ontario’s energy efficiency potential:
New Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is promising fresh ideas and new approaches. There are few places that need that more than energy policy in Ontario.
Our smart new Premier should immediately retire the “Father Knows Best” planning approach that has locked Ontario into 1950s-style solutions of high-cost centralized generating plants and token commitments to energy conservation. Premier Wynne should use her mediation skills to help our energy planners break their single-minded focus on nuclear power and insist they start exploring the vast array of cheaper, safer options for keeping our lights on. And she should do it now before Ontario squanders billions on new and rebuilt nuclear plants, high-voltage transmission lines, mega transformer stations (downtown Toronto) and yet another high-cost gas-fired peaker plant, this time in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge-Guelph area.
Under Premier McGuinty, the government talked a lot about “a culture of conservation” while moving gas plants around like checkerboard pieces. Premier Wynne must turn talk into action and deal with the real underlying issues – reducing extreme peaks in electricity demand on hot summer days and closing the gap with our competitors on energy productivity. In short, our new Premier must demonstrate that she is ready to lead this province out of the 1950s and into a modern energy era.
Send a message congratulating Premier Wynne on her new job and telling her you want her to embrace 21st century energy solutions.
Submitted by OCAA on Tue, 01/22/2013 - 17:16.
January 22, 2013
Good money after bad
It’s bad enough that the Liberal Government is determined to spend billions of dollars rebuilding a nuclear plant we don’t really need, but now it is layering on expensive consultants as a “cost control” measure.
The government will spend upwards of $650,000 to pay an ex-Ontario Hydro employee to tell it if the project is running behind schedule and over budget, as has every nuclear project in Ontario’s history. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) itself will spend an undisclosed amount on a similar consultant to keep track of the project for a company with thousands of employees who are apparently too busy to do this.
Frankly, we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. A corporation whose CEO is paid more than $1 million a year will hire a consultant to tell the government’s consultant if its project is on track.
We have a far better solution and we’re not going to charge the government a single dollar: If you must proceed with the Darlington ReBuild Project despite all rational arguments to the contrary, at least do so only with a fixed price, all-in contract for repairs from an independent private sector company (e.g., SNC-Lavalin, General Electric). Having a bunch of consultants circling the project is not going to do anything to keep costs under control. Only a fixed price contract with a private sector corporation can ensure that the inevitable cost overruns are not passed on to Ontario’s consumers and taxpayers.
We need Opposition Leader Tim Hudak and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath to demand that the government come to its senses, drop the consultants and proceed with a no loopholes, fixed price contract. Ontario electricity ratepayers, still paying down the $20 billion debt run up on previous nuclear fiascos, deserve nothing less.
Thank you for making the time - it's important that citizens speak up.
With the government’s announcement that all coal burning will cease at the Nanticoke and Lambton plants by the end of 2013, the dirty coal era is ending in Ontario. This represents a huge environmental and health victory for all Ontarians and we congratulate the Liberal Government for this major accomplishment. We’d also like to thank the Progressive Conservative, New Democratic and Green parties for continuing to support the coal phase out through a number of elections while holding the government’s feet to the fire on getting it done.
When the Ontario Clean Air Alliance brought forward the idea of phasing out coal use in 1997, it was seen as a bold – and quite possibly crazy – idea. But we persevered and gained important allies, like the Ontario Medical Association and the late Dr. Sheela Basrur, who endorsed our call to end coal use.
There have been highs and lows since then. The announcement in 2001 that the Lakeview coal plant would be closed and its spectacular demolition in 2006 were definite highs. The commitment by then Opposition Leader Dalton McGuinty in 2002 to phase out all coal use by 2007 was another big moment. And the promise that same year by the government of Ernie Eaves to phase out coal by 2015 was the icing on the cake.
There have been delays, and we all would have liked to arrive at this point sooner, but Ontario has now cut coal use to a tiny fraction of it what it was when we got started – from 25% down to less than 3% of our electricity supply. And now the government has taken our advice to finish the phase out as soon as possible, essentially wrapping it up a year ahead of schedule (For the record, two units at Thunder Bay will remain online, but we expect they will see little if any use between now and the final phase out deadline of 2014).
We’d like to thank all of you for making this enormous victory possible. It was your letters, emails, phone calls and doorstep chats with election candidates that convinced every major political party in Ontario to endorse phasing out coal. Without such a strong public outcry to address the province’s No. 1 industrial source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, we would not be where we are today. You did it and you should be proud of what you have accomplished – the No. 1 greenhouse gas reduction action in North America.
Thank you from all of us at the Ontario Clean Air Alliance.
What Toronto really needs
All of those glass walled condos popping up in the Toronto downtown core mean more than just more coffee bars – they also mean increased electricity demand on an aging downtown distribution grid. Toronto Hydro is proposing to spend $272 million on a new transformer station to carry on with business as usual. The problems with this approach are many:
A new OCAA report is proposing another approach which would be cheaper, more efficient, more secure and more modern:
This approach will lead to lower costs for all Torontonians, fewer climate-threatening emissions and a reduced blackout risk for downtown residents.
It’s time for the City of Toronto Councillors on the Toronto Hydro board to tell the city-owned utility to fully develop our city’s power potential. We need a modern, efficient system for a modern city, not a plan from the 1950s! Please send them a message right now - it's quick and easy.
p.s. Sending your message will only take you 2 minutes – please do so now!