New nuclear: higher cost and higher risk than hydro imports
Potential Benefits of Increased Ontario-Quebec Electricity Trade Exceed $1 Billion per Year

April 14, 2009 – Increased electricity trade between Ontario and Quebec could provide the two provinces with economic benefits in excess of $1 billion per year according to a new report, The Power of Mutual Benefit, released by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA) today.

The benefits for Ontario include:

  • Hydro-electricity imports can meet spikes in electricity demand that occur on hot summer days at a much lower cost than building three new inefficient gas-fired peaker plants in northern York Region, Kitchener-Waterloo and the southern GTA, as proposed by the Ontario Power Authority.
  • Integration of Ontario’s wind generation with Quebec’s hydro-electric facilities can result in an uninterrupted 24/7 renewable electricity supply for Ontario consumers.
  • Hydro-electric imports can supply base-load electricity to Ontario at a substantially lower cost than new nuclear reactors.

For Quebec, long-term electricity contracts can provide it with a guaranteed revenue stream to help fund its schools, universities and hospitals at a time when electricity demand from industries like forestry and aluminum manufacturing is dropping.

Despite the fact that Premiers McGuinty and Charest signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Energy in June 2008 that called for increased inter-provincial electricity trade, the provinces do not appear to be any closer to signing a long-term electricity supply contract.

Meanwhile, the Government of Ontario is planning to sign a contract within the next 67 days for the construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Station, east of Oshawa. Based on the cost estimates of Moody’s Investors Service, these new reactors could cost $26 billion.

“It is puzzling why the McGuinty government with its commitment to green energy would put building new nuclear plants ahead of a ready-made green solution –lower cost hydro imports from Quebec,” said Jack Gibbons, Chair of the OCAA.

“Ontario and Quebec energy trade should be a planning priority for ensuring green, secure and accessible energy. Across the country, there are many benefits of interprovincial energy trade and building a sustainable Canadian energy sharing strategy that meets social and environmental goals,” said Andrea Harden-Donahue, Energy Campaigner, Council of Canadians.

The Power of Mutual Benefit can be downloaded from www.cleanairalliance.org.

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For More Information:

Jack Gibbons, Ontario Clean Air Alliance 416-926-1907 ext. 240
Andrea Harden-Donahue, Council of Canadians 613-233-4487 ext. 240; 613-218-5800 (cell)