Brown’s ‘People’s Guarantee’ promises change, but is it just change for change’s sake?

Toronto Star
December 11, 2017
Martin Regg Cohn

Brown’s ‘People’s Guarantee’ promises change, but is it just change for change’s sake?
The Tories would replace Ontario’s cap and trade program with a carbon tax of their own that would end up pushing fuel prices significantly higher. But that kind of switch hasn’t been successfully attempted yet.

Change that’s not scary.

That’s the subliminal message emanating from Patrick Brown’s Progressive Conservatives as they push out a new campaign platform officially called “People’s Guarantee.” Guaranteed not to rattle you.

Underpinning the platform is a promise to deliver kinder, gentler, more reassuring regime change. And on the surface, it succeeds — by pledging to (more or less) stick with Liberal commitments on pharmacare, rent controls and minimum wages (albeit more slowly).

But there’s a catch: Change that’s not so scary — but definitely disruptive — on climate change.

It’s getting a lot less coverage than other PC commitments, but Brown would rip up Ontario’s existing cap and trade program. The Tories would replace it with a carbon tax of their own — as required by a federal “backstop” law — that would end up pushing fuel prices significantly higher (albeit rebated via income tax cuts and child care credits promised elsewhere in their platform).

Such a switch, from cap and trade to carbon tax, has never before been successfully attempted, as Ontario’s independent environmental commissioner, Dianne Saxe, pointed out to me in my weekend column. So why would Brown bother with an untried and unproven changeover at this stage of the game?

Change for change’s sake.

Environmental experts have been debating the relative benefits of rival systems for a decade, which is one reason Ontario took so long to make up its own mind. Last year, after years of foot-dragging, the province finally followed the lead of California and Quebec by linking up with their tried-and-tested cap and trade system.

No loony-left idea, it had been shepherded by the state’s then-governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger (a Republican) and Quebec’s then-premier Jean Charest (like Brown, a former federal Tory). Why do Brown’s Progressive Conservatives believe a system favoured by fellow right-wingers is so wrongheaded?

The PCs are ostensibly opposed to what the Ontario government does with money raised from carbon emitters. In their People’s Guarantee platform, the Tories cheekily dub it the “Liberal Cap-and-Trade Slush Fund,” brimming with billions of dollars paid by polluters.

Brown claims that the money is being squandered by the Liberals on patronage pals and pet projects. In fact, the spending is being scrutinized by the environmental commissioner and is allocated to mundane projects such as rapid transit, energy retrofits and bike lanes.

The PC platform document complains that “the Liberals . . . only seem to care about the growing yet still small share of the population who take public transit.” But even if Tories doubt the merits of funding bike lanes or mass transit, there is a simpler way for them to cut that “Liberal Cap-and-Trade Slush Fund” down to size.

Brown could simply rebate those cap and trade billions directly to taxpayers by making the system “revenue neutral” — just like his proposed carbon tax. In other words (and numbers), they could still take the money from polluters as the province does today, but without investing in supposedly suspect environmental measures — instead “using all the cap and trade revenues to finance tax cuts,” as Jack Gibbons, head of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, says.

The appeal of their alternative carbon tax, according to Ontario’s PCs, is that the money will go straight back to voters through tax cuts. But there is nothing necessarily neutral about carbon tax revenues, as B.C. has just demonstrated: That province’s new NDP government has announced that proceeds from the carbon tax will now be invested in environmental projects to fight global warming — just like Ontario’s cap and trade regime.

So if the existing Ontario Liberal system can be made revenue neutral with a change in government, and the proposed PC carbon tax can be switched to a so-called slush fund on a whim, why bother switching systems at all? More to the point, given that many industries support a price on carbon as long as it is clear and certain, why create uncertainty by changing systems in mid-stream?

Comparing the rival systems this month, Dave Sawyer of EnviroEconomics noted that “on emission reductions, the cap and trade scenario outperforms the carbon tax scenario.” All this back and forth comes at a cost because “the down side is this policy lurching will erode confidence and expectations in carbon pricing, which undermines the price signal.”

It would also be costly to change midway through. Brown’s platform has budgeted $1.5 billion for “transitioning away from cap-and-trade and into a carbon pricing system,” noting that a PC government will “ensure that businesses are kept whole.”

Cap and trade is so difficult to understand that it’s hard to love, but it’s commendably flexible. A carbon tax, simple as it sounds, can be unhelpfully rigid in a mixed economy like ours, the environmental commissioner says.

Oddly, Brown’s Tories denounced a carbon tax for years, but have belatedly embraced it. Is this change for climate change’s sake, or merely for the sake of regime change?

Letter: Cut the power on surplus nuclear generation

Sudbury.com
December 8, 2017
Jack Gibbons

Letter: Cut the power on surplus nuclear generation
Close Pickering next year, Ontario Clean Air Alliance advises

According to Energy Minister (Glenn) Thibeault, we must sell our surplus electricity to the U.S. at a financial loss in order to keep our lights on (“Thibeault: Ontario does sell surplus power below value,” Nov. 24).

This is due to our dependence on Ontario Power Generation’s inflexible nuclear reactors.

At night and on weekends, our nuclear reactors produce more power than we need. Since nuclear reactors cannot reduce their output during off-peak hours, we have to export their surplus production to our American neighbours at very low prices. In fact, we often have to pay them to consume our excess nuclear production.

The good news is that the Pickering Nuclear Station’s operating licence expires in August 2018. By closing Pickering in 2018, Minister Thibeault can eliminate our surplus nuclear generation. As a result, we will no longer need to pay the Americans to take it away.

In the future, when we need new sources of electricity, we can import low-cost water power from Quebec.

Jack Gibbons
Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Toronto

Confederation of Tomorrow Conference 2.0

Confederation of Tomorrow Conference 2.0

In 1967 Ontario Premier John Robarts’ “Confederation of Tomorrow” conference took place on the top floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre. That conference was about two things: dialogue and leadership.

On Monday, December 11 – fifty years later – the “Confederation of Tomorrow 2.0” conference begins at the TD Centre. And once again, the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec have an opportunity to better the country through dialogue and leadership.

This is Premier Wynne’s opportunity to lay the foundations for a Made-in-Canada electricity grid by using the conference as an historically fitting platform to say “yes” to Quebec’s offer of their clean, abundant water power. Hydro Quebec is willing to sell us a 20-year supply of electricity at 1/3 the cost of re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.

Working together Premiers Wynne and Couillard can provide the political leadership to create an east-west electricity grid which will move us towards a renewable energy future and lower electricity bills. And a better, more unified, Canada.

Please message Premier Wynne (or email: premier@ontario.ca) today and ask her to champion a Made-in-Canada green energy future at the “Confederation of Tomorrow 2.0” conference.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

Nuclear accidents happen then what?

Nuclear Accidents Happen – Then What?

Do you know what to do in the case of a nuclear explosion? Where would you go? What are the risks? Are the government and OPG properly prepared?

Join us for a public discussion about the Pickering Nuclear Station and emergency measures:

Tues. Dec. 5, 7 – 9 p.m.
Pickering Recreation Complex
, 1867 Valley Farm Rd, Pickering, O’Brien Room A (at the back of the complex, where the skating arena is located). An easy walk from the Pickering GO station.

A panel discussion with:
* Kerrie Blaise, Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA)
* Dr. Ian Fairlie, Radiation Biologist
* Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Senior Energy Analyst, Greenpeace
* Janet McNeill, Durham Nuclear Awareness (DNA)
* Angela Bischoff, Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA)

Close Pickering! Many experts think Ontario’s nuclear emergency plans are not adequate given the scale of the catastrophe that could develop during a major accident in the heart of our largest urban area.

Come and learn more about what “the authorities” are doing (or not doing) to protect us all in the event of a nuclear emergency.

Free. All welcome. If you can’t attend in person, we’ll be live-streaming it on the facebook event page.

Host Organizations: DNA (Durham Nuclear Awareness) and Ontario Clean Air Alliance

For more info: 416 260 2080 x 1, angela@cleanairalliance.org or 
https://www.facebook.com/events/1531984583558612/

Read about the event in the Pickering News Advertiser here.

www.Close-Pickering.ca
www.BuyQuebecPower.ca

And please pass this message onto your friends and neighbours.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

FAO nuclear cost report is fundamentally flawed

The Financial Accountability Officer of Ontario (FAO) has issued a report on the costs of nuclear power that relies on outdated and incorrect information to draw a highly misleading picture of the risks of continuing to pursue high-cost nuclear projects in Ontario. This is a very disconcerting – and highly inadequate — piece of work from an agency that is supposed to provide an impartial, evidence-based look at major economic decisions facing the province.

The FAO’s flawed conclusions about the costs of Ontario’s plan to rebuild 10 aging reactors relies on the following false assumptions:

1. The FAO assumes the price of nuclear power will peak at 9.5 cents per kWh despite the fact that OPG is seeking to raise its price of nuclear power to 16.5 cents per kWh to pay for re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.

2. The FAO assumes that the cost of importing water power from Quebec would be 12 to 16 cents per kWh despite the fact that last year Ontario and Quebec signed a seven-year electricity supply contract for 2 billion kWh per year at a price of 5 cents per kWh. The FAO also ignored the fact that this summer Hydro Quebec offered to sell us 8 billion kWh per year for 20 years at a price of only 5 cents per kWh and that the average price paid for power exported by Quebec in its most recent fiscal quarter was 4.2 cents per kWh.

3. The FAO assumes that the nuclear re-build cost overruns will not exceed 50% despite the fact that every nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone massively over budget – on average by 2.5 times. It also ignores that fact that initial stages of the Darlington rebuild project are already over budget.

4. The FAO assumes that the cost of increasing transmission capacity between our two provinces by 3,300 megawatts (MW) would be $2 billion despite the fact that a May 2017 IESO report said that we could upgrade our capacity by 4,050 MW for only $1.6 billion – a fraction of the cost of rebuilding reactors.

Please sign our petition requesting Premier Wynne to say yes to Hydro Quebec’s offer to sell us clean, safe water power at one-third the cost of re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.

Please pass this message onto your friends.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

p.s. Listen to a 5 min. radio interview with Jack Gibbons on The Stafford Show this morning.

10,000 people are right!

More than 10,000 people have now signed our petition calling on the Government of Ontario to close the old and dangerous Pickering Nuclear Station. Clearly, there is a strong appetite to see this nuclear station – one of the world’s oldest and largest – shuttered as soon as possible.

What the petition signers recognize is that it makes no sense to keep this obsolete station operating in the middle of our country’s largest urban area. No one would build a nuclear plant in Pickering today. We shouldn’t keep the existing one operating there either, especially since it’s years beyond its design life.

Pickering has the highest operating costs of any nuclear station in North America. That, along with the rebuilding of the Darlington Nuclear Station, is why OPG wants to dramatically increase its nuclear power rates by 180% (from 5.9 to 16.5 cents/kWh ) – not exactly the solution the people of Ontario need right now.

To add insult to injury, at night and on weekends, Ontario’s nuclear reactors produce more power than we need. And unlike water, wind and solar power, the Pickering Nuclear Station cannot reduce its output when demand drops. As a result we have to sell its surplus power to the U.S. at a financial loss, often at negative prices. By closing Pickering we can eliminate our need to export power at a financial loss, and we can lower electricity bills.

The smart solution to meeting our electricity needs is to make a deal with Quebec for low-cost power. Recently, Quebec offered to sell Ontario enough power to replace Pickering at a price that is 45% lower than the aging nuclear plant’s operating costs alone. Importing Quebec power could actually cut our electricity costs by more than $12 billion over the next 20 years.

It was one sweet offer, but so far the Wynne government has refused to sign. So we’ve launched a new petition calling on the Premier to make a deal with Quebec to save us all $billions.

Please sign our petition calling for a deal with Quebec and pass it on to your friends!

Thank you…

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

p.s. Last week I spoke at 2 events alongside First Nations calling for a 100% renewable Ontario. Watch a 2 min. video of my speech at Queen’s Park, and a 7 min. version of the events.

Power Projections

Globe and Mail
November 16, 2017
Jack Gibbons

Power projections

Re In Ontario, Hydro’s Future Gets Murkier (Nov. 14): How we meet our energy needs may be in a period of massive flux, but that hasn’t stopped the Ontario government from doubling down on obsolete nuclear technology.

Ontario is one of the few jurisdictions banking heavily on nuclear to meet future needs with its plan to rebuild 10 aging reactors at a cost of tens of billions of dollars. Nuclear will lock us into exactly the sort of inflexible and unresponsive system that we are already being warned will be little more than a massive white elephant. Ontario needs to wake up and smell the coffee before it is left with a mountain of debt and power no one needs.

Jack Gibbons, chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Fighting a ‘toxic threat,’ Indigenous groups protest at Queen’s Park

The Varsity
November 12, 2017
Ilya Bañares

Fighting a ‘toxic threat,’ Indigenous groups protest at Queen’s Park
Demonstration opposes government nuclear policy, discarding of toxic waste on Indigenous land

Members of the Anishinabek and Iroquois Caucus First Nations, as well as the Bawating Water Protectors, led a demonstration alongside environmental activists and supporters in Queen’s Park on November 9. The purpose of the protest was to demonstrate against the provincial government’s nuclear policy and the proposed discarding of toxic waste on Indigenous lands, as well as to push for renewable energy. At its peak, the crowd consisted of around 100 people.

The demonstration, named “We Want a Renewable Ontario,” called for the phasing out of the province’s nuclear stations. A particular focus was placed on the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. Originally designed to halt operations in 2018, the current Liberal government pushed back the deadline to keep the station functional for four more years.

Protesters also criticized the Ontario Power Generation (OPG), a Crown corporation, for its plan to dump its nuclear waste on First Nations lands in the province, arguing that the proposal could “potentially [poison] the waterways, soil, and air forever with radioactive contamination.” A 2017 OPG report contended that a site near the Lake Huron coast would be the ideal location for the toxic refuse. In order for this to happen, Catherine McKenna, the Federal Environment Minister, would have to approve the plan.

The group also demanded that the provincial government accept Québec’s offer to supply renewable energy at a lower cost than Ontario can provide, potentially replacing the current power generated at nuclear stations. In a pamphlet distributed during the event, the coalition called on “Premier Wynne to support a deal with Quebec that would enable us to replace our high-cost nuclear generation with low-cost renewable water power.” Many signs during the assembly supported this message.

Most of the demonstrators carried signs reading “Close Pickering,” and flags with “Nuclear Power? No Thanks,” written on them.

Candace Day Neveau of the Bawating Water Protectors emphasized the critical role of Indigenous worldviews in this context. “In our language, there’s no word for owning the Earth,” she said. “The Canadian government is just absolutely disgusting, and I’ll say it again: Canada is not a country. It’s a settler idea. This is Turtle Island and we have to own that. We have to be accountable to our identities here.”

Glen Hare, Deputy Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation, called on media groups to “stand with us; fight with us,” eliciting reactions from CBC journalists on site covering the event. “Only when bad things happen to us are we in the spotlight,” he said.

Amanda Harvey-Sánchez, student member of Governing Council and Academic Director for Social Sciences at the University of Toronto Students’ Union, was among the attendees. Harvey-Sánchez said in an email that she joined the rally “as an act of solidarity with Indigenous youth calling for a phase out of nuclear power in Ontario and a transition to 100% renewable energy.” Harvey-Sánchez reiterated that the proposed burial and abandonment of nuclear waste on Indigenous lands poses a threat to waterways and bodies of water like the Chalk River and Lake Huron. “The province and Canada more broadly has made a commitment to work towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” she said. “The abandonment of radioactive waste on their territory without consent stands in conflict with that commitment.”

Julia DaSilva, a second-year U of T student, was one of the protesters in Queen’s Park. “It’s really crucial that we have as many people as possible at events like this,” said DaSilva, “so that politicians can’t pretend that there isn’t public opposition to their irresponsibility — to their allowing the colonial project to continue.”

The group tried to bring a mock nuclear waste drum to the office of Premier Kathleen Wynne but were stopped by on-site security. The protestors then began chanting, “Take your waste, we don’t want it.”

The protest followed a panel from the previous day called “Toxic Threat: Radioactive Waste on Indigenous Lands” held at Massey College. The event hosted speakers Patrick Madahbee, Grand Chief of the Anishinabek Nation; Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance; Neveau and Meawasige of the Bawating Water Protectors; and Dr. Gordon Edwards from the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility

Indigenous demonstrators, environmentalists urge governments to stop using nuclear power 

Toronto Star
November 9, 2017
Julien Gignac

Indigenous demonstrators, environmentalists urge governments to stop using nuclear power 
First Nations people and environmental groups are airing their grievances about nuclear power and its storage

A large demonstration at Queen’s Park called on Canadian governments to phase out nuclear power and opt for renewable energy sources, instead.

First Nations people and environmentalists from around Ontario joined in solidarity on Thursday

Initially, they had gathered to attend a panel discussion on Wednesday at the University of Toronto.

Some held placards baring the words “Protect the sacred.”

They formed a drum circle at one point.

Activists say waste generated by nuclear energy must be regulated more efficiently, and that future production of nuclear power will only lead to more waste, so it should be terminated in order to safeguard human and environmental health.

“Collectively, we’re addressing the nuclear industry and what is to be done with the waste afterwards,” said Quinn Meawasige, 24, a member of Bawating Water Protectors, a grass-roots organization. “We’re raising awareness. We don’t want to burden our future generations with this problem.

“We need to act now.”

Before settlers arrived in what was to become Canada, all land belonged to Indigenous people, Meawasige said. Now it’s home to industry, he added.

First Nations remain steadfast in their opposition to a waste repository at the Bruce nuclear facility, located near Lake Huron. The federal government has yet to sign-off on the project proposed by Ontario Power Generation.

“There’s no burial or transportation of radioactive waste without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous communities, the First Nations who would be impacted,” Meawasige said. “We need to be working toward a renewable future.”

Radioactive waste disposal is tightly regulated and is safe, said a spokesperson from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, the federal agency tasked with monitoring and regulating the nuclear industry, and issuing licenses to producers.

“CNSC imposes rigorous reporting requirements on the operators of nuclear waste management facilities, and verifies that facilities comply with established safety requirements through inspections and audits,” said spokesperson Aurèle Gervais, adding that current, licensed radioactive waste facilities do not adversely affect bodies of water.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee is focused on the solution, he said, which starts with individual environmental stewardship.

“You can write letters to the editors of papers. You can write letters to your member of parliament, petition environmental ministers,” he said.

“Would you poison your mother?

“That’s really what we’re doing when we poison mother earth.

“We’re saying we got to stop this nonsense.”

Dr. Gordon Edwards, the president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, takes aim at the federal and Ontario governments, saying they do not have adequate policies in place to manage nuclear waste.

“Both levels of government have been basically abdicating responsibility to the nuclear industry,” said Edwards.

Edwards said that the nuclear commission spearheads environmental assessments for these projects.

But it has never refused to grant licenses to industry players, he said.

“We’re concerned about their lack of objectivity. Now, we’re getting to the point where the industry wants to abandon this waste,” he said, adding that storage locations are mainly located near major rivers and lakes, which can have an impact on First Nations and municipalities.

“It’s scary prospect, because many of these wastes remain dangers for hundreds of thousands of years,” he said.

Angela Bischoff, outreach director for the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, said it is high time Ontario switches to renewable energy entirely.

The Pickering nuclear plant was supposed to shutdown a decade ago, she said, but it keeps getting license extensions. She added that its current operating license is set to expire in 2018.

“It starts with making a deal with Quebec,” she said. “They have surplus water power and (they are) offering it to Ontario at a fraction of the cost of keeping our aging nuclear fleet alive.”

Ontario doubles down on obsolete nuclear – and you’re paying for it

Ontario doubles down on obsolete nuclear – and you’re paying for it

In its just released Long Term Energy Plan, the Wynne government has doubled down on its plan to rebuild 10 aging nuclear reactors. The price tag for this dubious plan is a whopper — a 55% increase in residential  electricity rates by 2032 (pg. 28).

This high-cost, high-risk plan flies in the face of worldwide trends, where many countries are moving away from nuclear energy and embracing ever lower-cost renewable sources instead. In fact, in 2016 worldwide wind power output grew by 16% and solar by 30%, while nuclear grew by just 1.4% (largely due to China). Nuclear reactors actually produced only about half as much of the world’s electricity supply in 2016 as they did 20 years earlier, a clear sign of an industry in steady decline.

And it’s not like Ontario does’t have other options. For starters, we live next door to a renewable energy superpower – Quebec. And Quebec has offered to supply Ontario with clean renewable energy at one-third the cost of power from rebuilt reactors. This is power that is available around the clock in every season of the year. Taking Quebec’s offer could lower Ontario’s electricity costs by $12 billion over the next 20 years, but the Wynne government apparently prefers to bet on always-over-budget nuclear projects instead.

Meanwhile, the first stages of the Darlington Nuclear rebuild project are already massively over budget while Ontario Power Generation seeks to continue operating the high-cost, 46-year-old Pickering Nuclear station despite it being surrounded by more than two million people and its power no longer needed.

In the U.S., South Carolina pulled the plug on construction of two nuclear reactors at a cost to ratepayers of billions of dollars. And giant nuclear builders Westinghouse and Areva have both gone essentially bankrupt (with Areva being bailed out by the French government just as Ontario had to bail out the old Ontario Hydro after it became mired in nuclear debt).

Ontario’s fixation with obsolete nuclear energy is to say the least puzzling, but what is clear is that this fixation is going to cost us dearly.

Please sign our petition calling on Premier Wynne to make a deal with Quebec to lower our electricity costs and to open the way for a modern renewable energy system. And please forward this onto your friends. Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

Your chance to ask OPG some tough questions

Your chance to ask OPG some tough questions

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is holding “information sessions” next week on its plan to keep the 46-year-old Pickering Nuclear Station running for another seven years (at least).

This is your chance to ask OPG some tough questions:

· Where is it going to store the radioactive waste produced by running reactors for another seven years? Fifty-two years after construction of Pickering began, OPG still has not figured out what to do with its highly radioactive waste. Instead, it is stored in “temporary” containers that sit beside or on top of Lake Ontario. There are already 14,000 tonnes of high level nuclear waste stored at the station, incredibly.

· Why is it only now getting around to improving emergency plans, distributing KI pills and expanding public notification systems, 45 years after this station began operating?

· When can the people of Pickering get their waterfront back? Why are they planning on leaving the station sit idle for 30 years after shutdown rather than immediately decommissioning it? This is despite the fact that the International Atomic Agency says that immediate decommissioning is the “preferred” approach and will provide a fairer transition for workers.

· What will happen to the Pickering plant’s employees if it is idled in 2024 and then left untouched for the next 30 years? We’re calling for immediate decommissioning of the station after shutdown.

· Why would we keep Pickering running when we can import much lower cost power from Quebec and lower our electricity bills? Pickering has the highest operating costs of any nuclear station in North America.

Quebec recently offered Ontario more than enough power to replace what we use from Pickering at 5 cents per kWh. That’s a fraction of Pickering’s fuel and operating costs alone, 9 cents. And, no, despite OPG’s misleading claims, we do not need new transmission lines to access this power. Yet OPG prefers to keep an accident-prone nuclear station running in the heart of Canada’s biggest metropolitan area.

So the big question for OPG is “Why?” Why keep this aging and obsolete plant operating when we have safer and lower cost options, such as importing low-cost power from Quebec? Why choose the riskiest and highest cost option for keeping our lights on and agree to see our hydro bills go up again?

In fact, maybe that’s a question you should ask our Premier – premier@ontario.ca.

The public are invited to drop-into OPG’s green-washing open houses anytime from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., presentation at 6:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 24 – Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, 875 Morningside Ave, Scarborough

• Wednesday, Oct. 25 – Pickering Recreational Centre, 1867 Valley Farm Rd., Pickering

• Thursday, Oct. 26 – Pickering Nuclear Information Centre, 1675 Montgomery Park. Rd, Pickering

If you plan to go to any of these, please let me know. Can I send you our leaflets to share with other attendees (and/or to your neighbours)? If so, please send me your mailing address and I’ll mail them to you (free of charge). Thanks.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

How to actually cut electricity costs

Ontario’s Auditor General is slamming the Wynne government for its use of creative accounting to hide the real cost of bloated nuclear projects.

Instead of using accounting tricks, the government could actually cut costs by simply taking Quebec up on its offer to supply the province with low-cost water power. If Ontario signed on to the deal offered by Quebec this summer and scaled back the already over budget Darlington rebuild project, it would save Ontario ratepayers more than $12 billion over the next 20 years. And we could save even more if we made a deal with Quebec to supply enough power to replace Darlington entirely.

It’s time for our government to get real about cutting electricity costs. It’s time to make a deal with Quebec, which has guaranteed power available year-round at an incredibly attractive price.

Tell Premier Wynne that instead of fancy accounting and $4 billion in extra interest payments, you want a deal with Quebec that will actually save us money.

Please sign our petition to Premier Wynne calling for a deal with Quebec for low cost water power. We’ll make sure she receives it.

OPG trying to disguise costs of Darlington project

Global News has unearthed some stunning evidence of just how far Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is going to play down the costs of its Darlington Re-build Project.

Global obtained an auditor’s report that called into question a “deliberate management strategy” to attract lowball bids from contractors. Specifically, the auditors questioned how a bid to build a new Heavy Water Storage and Drum Handling Facility was suddenly cut by almost 50% after OPG encouraged contractors to ignore the high likelihood that there might be contaminated soil on the building site (there was).

Of course, attracting lowball quotes has done nothing to keep the actual costs for the storage facility under control. In fact, it is now projected that the final cost may be five times what was originally estimated — $500 million versus a just over $100 million original price tag.

The storage facility for radioactive water is a key part of OPG’s plan to rebuild Darlington, but it is two-and-a-half years behind schedule and already massively over budget.

But what’s a few hundred million in a $12.8 billion budget? That’s the response OPG CEO Jeff Lyash offered in response to the revelations. For OPG, running a few hundred million dollars over budget is just par for the course, it seems, given that every nuclear rebuild project it has ever managed has run massively over budget and behind schedule.

But despite Lyash’s “what, me worry?” response, Global’s digging raises some serious concerns about mismanagement and delays on the massive project. Of course, it is Ontario ratepayers (and possibly taxpayers) who will once again pick up the tab for Darlington’s overpriced electricity.

Meanwhile, Quebec’s offer to provide power at one-third the cost of power from the Darlington Re-Build gathers dust at Queen’s Park. It’s a strange world.

Please contact Premier Wynne and ask her to negotiate a long-term electricity supply contract with Hydro Quebec which will allow us to cancel the Darlington Re-Build Project and lower our electricity bills. Click here to email the Premier (premier@ontario.ca) and PC Leader Patrick Brown (patrick.brown@pc.ola.org)

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Making the most of our efficiency potential to lower rates

The Government of Ontario has adopted the Conservation First principle for energy planning. This principle means that Ontario intends to procure all energy conservation and efficiency resources that can keep our lights on at a cost that is less than or equal to the cost of new supply.

To be consistent with this principle, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) should be willing to pay at least as much to save a kWh as Ontario’s consumers will pay for the re-building of the Darlington Nuclear Station.

Today, the IESO is paying an average of 2.2 cents for efficiency measures.  Meanwhile, OPG is asking to raise the rate it is paid for nuclear power to 16.5 cents.  Clearly, maximizing efficiency is a better answer.

Read our factsheet comparing nuclear and efficiency costs.

Help us counter fake nuclear news

This summer, word spread that Ontario and Quebec were on the cusp of a very big power import deal.

Quebec, as reported in the Quebec media, would sell Ontario power for 6 cents/kWh over the next 20 years. Just over a third of the 16.5 cents/kWh OPG is asking for to rebuild its obsolete nuclear reactors.

It should have been a champagne cork popping moment for the Wynne government, as it struggles to deflect blame for rising hydro prices. With Quebec offering power at a bargain rate, Premier Wynne should have been sending Quebec Premier Couillard the world’s biggest gift basket.

Instead, the Ontario government turned up its nose, bizarrely claiming that Quebec’s offer was too pricey. Opposition Leader Patrick Brown proved to be equally math challenged, claiming that nuclear was the best source of low cost power despite the black and white (and running-in-the-red) evidence to the contrary.

Clearly, all those nuclear happy talk ads on TV and supplements in major newspapers have become the “go-to” source of “information” on nuclear power costs for far too many people. Including our government leaders.

It’s time to push back against the nuclear industry’s fake news.

Now more than ever, we need to continue documenting what a terrible choice it really is to spend billions of dollars on nuclear energy. And we need to make the case for importing Quebec power as a smarter, lower-cost solution. We need your help to do it.

We aren’t the nuclear industry. We don’t have millions of dollars to throw at advertising and lobbying. But we do have one generous friend who has agreed to match the donations you make – up to $1,500. That’s probably what Ontario Power Generation’s ad agency pays to cater its client lunches for a month. But we can stretch those dollars a long way. As a small, highly effective organization, we can slay giants with even modest resources. Just like we slayed coal.

Please make a donation today to support our research and counter the nuclear industry’s fake news. Quebec and Ontario are still talking. They can still make a deal. But the nuclear industry is doing everything it can to add static to the line. We can add clarity, with irrefutable evidence about the costs and risks of nuclear power and the advantages of clean, safe renewable energy. Please click here to support our efforts today, and double your impact thanks to our generous supporter!

Thank you for your support. We couldn’t do this work without you.

– Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director, and Jack Gibbons, Chair

Residents in east GTA overwhelmingly oppose keeping Pickering running

According to new opinion polling conducted for the OCAA, a large majority of residents in Scarborough, Pickering and Ajax oppose OPG’s plan to keep the Pickering Nuclear Station running until 2024.

By a ratio of almost 2:1, residents in these areas said they do not want to see the 46-year-old plant continue operating for another six years.

When told that Ontario has been offered power by Quebec at a cost that is roughly two-thirds of Pickering’s operating costs alone, support for closing the aging plant became overwhelming: 82% of those polled thought it made more sense to import power from Quebec than to keep Pickering running.

Support for closing Pickering was highest among Liberal (86%), NDP (90%) and Green (100%) supporters, but even a very large majority of PC (71%) voters supported closing the plant if lower cost replacement power was available.

Millennials (18-34 age group) strongly opposed (89%) continuing to operate Pickering. Obviously, a legacy of radioactive waste and more debt is unappealing to a generation that well understands the power of renewable technologies.

Of course, our poll simply proves that the people of the eastern GTA are sensible. Why keep an old and dangerous nuclear station operating in the heart of your community, especially when there are lower-cost and safer options available?

But that’s a message our Premier and PC Party Leader Patrick Brown still don’t seem to be getting. Please send them a brief message urging them to join with the majority in supporting safer and more cost effective power solutions: premier@ontario.ca, patrick.brown@pc.ola.org  Thank you for making the time.

The OCAA poll was conducted by Oracle Research in early September. Its margin of error is 4.4%, 19 times out of 20.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

Uxbridge councillors blast Hydro One on new coal station

Uxbridge Times Journal
Aug 26, 2017
Moya Dillon 

Uxbridge councillors blast Hydro One on new coal station
Mayor: “We’re going backwards”

UXBRIDGE — Councillors are airing their displeasure at Hydro One’s new investment in a coal-fired generating plant south of the border.

“Talk about going backwards,” said Uxbridge Mayor Gerri Lynn O’Connor of the decision to invest in Avista, an American utility company that owns a piece of the Colstrip Power Plant in Montana, one of the nation’s largest coal-fired power plants.

The comments came in response to a letter from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance urging municipalities to share their concerns with the province of Ontario.

“I think we need to support this with a resolution and certainly outline our concerns that we’re going backward by supporting this type of action by the Province of Ontario,” Mayor O’Connor continued.

Councillors agreed, voting to support the resolution.

“You have to wonder where it’s all going,” Coun. Pat Molloy said. “We’re trying to be green here but clearly there are parts of the world that just don’t care.”

What is Brown thinking?

Orillia Packet
August 18, 2017
Jack Gibbons

What is Brown thinking?

Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown says it is not in Ontario’s interest to make a power import deal with Quebec. But the PC leader doesn’t have his facts straight. Let’s look at his claims.

Quebec power costs too much: Brown says paying Quebec six cents per kilowatt hour is too much. He seems unaware the fuel and operating costs alone of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station amount to nine cents/kWh and that Ontario Power Generation is asking the Ontario Energy Board to increase the rate it is paid for nuclear power to 16.5 cents by 2025 to pay for rebuilding Darlington’s aging reactors.

Even with the proposed 2% annual cost escalator in the Quebec contract, Quebec water power will remain an excellent deal compared to nuclear over 20 years. Every nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone massively over budget. When the final bills are in for the Darlington rebuild project, Quebec power at these rates will look incredibly attractive.

We have too much surplus power: Again, Brown seems unaware we can eliminate our power surplus by closing the Pickering nuclear station when its licence expires in 2018. Given that Pickering is the fourth-oldest nuclear plant in North America, has the highest operating costs of any nuclear plant on the continent, and is surrounded by more than two million people, replacing the power Pickering produces that is actually used in Ontario (roughly 50%) with lower-cost Quebec power as quickly as possible simply makes sense.

It will cost Ontario jobs: Yes, nuclear plants have many employees, many of whom are on the province’s Sunshine List of public employees making more than $100,000 per year. The best transition for these workers in an increasingly obsolete industry (no CANDU reactors sold anywhere in 40 years) is to develop expertise in nuclear decommissioning by immediately starting to decommission the Pickering nuclear plant in 2018 and thereby return a large part of the Lake Ontario waterfront to the people of Pickering. Decommissioning is currently the only sector of the nuclear industry that is actually growing.

There are hidden costs: Ontario has significant capacity for importing power from Quebec — we could import about as much power from Quebec as Pickering produces using our current infrastructure. The Independent Electricity System Operator says it will cost only $220 million for system upgrades to ensure we can use Quebec power in every hour of the year. That’s a small incremental cost on a nearly $10-billion deal.

It is high risk: With nuclear projects in Ontario running 2.5 times over budget on average, the real risk is massive nuclear project cost overruns. Just last week, two U.S. utilities walked away from a South Carolina nuclear project after investing billions of dollars but seeing no end to massive cost overruns in sight. Clean, safe and reliable Quebec water power can easily replace so-called “base-load” plants such as Pickering, which is forecast to be offline for repairs 30% of the time during the next five years.

Premier Kathleen Wynne has made the right choice in reaching out to the Quebec. Our neighbour has the lowest power prices in North America thanks to its wealth of water power, which will soon be augmented by its rapidly growing supply of low-cost wind power.

Turning our back on Quebec’s offer of power at a fraction of the cost of electricity from rebuilt nuclear reactors would be equivalent to shooting ourselves in the foot because the bullets were made in Ontario. The only reason to say no to Quebec is to keep a dying nuclear industry on life support for a few more years. Indeed, if Brown thinks nuclear power is cleaner, safer, more reliable and lower cost than Quebec water power, we have subway-to-Kingston project he might be interested in.

Jack Gibbons is chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance. 

Our big chance to close Pickering

Our big chance to close Pickering

Hydro Quebec is offering Ontario enough water power to keep the lights on in close to a million homes at a very low price (6.12 cents per kWh). That is 30% less than the fuel and operating costs of the Pickering Nuclear Plant (9 cents).

But it seems that our political leaders think the people of Pickering, Ajax, Scarborough and Toronto would rather keep one of the world’s oldest and largest nuclear stations running in their backyard, rather than take what Quebec is offering.

While Premier Wynne is attempting to negotiate an expanded water power deal with Quebec, her Minister is saying it’s not about replacing nuclear. Opposition Leader Patrick Brown says we have no need for Quebec power and should keep North America’s most expensive to operate nuclear plant running for another six years or more.

It seems they think the people who have had this dangerous and aging plant operating in their community for close to half a century now should be happy to continue accepting tritium releases, the stockpiling of radioactive waste (14,000 tonnes and counting) and the ever-present threat of a major accident – despite the presence of a lower cost, renewable option.

Mr. Brown, in particular, has made a number of head shaking claims about the benefits of continuing to operate Pickering, including that it is a lower cost option and somehow lower risk than clean Quebec water power. 

It is true that Ontario Power Generation (OPG) currently sells the power produced at Pickering at a big loss — about $1 billion a year. But guess who owns OPG? You do, and those losses are coming out of your pocket. Even OPG sees that this is not sustainable and has asked the Ontario Energy Board for a whopping 180% increase in the price it is paid for nuclear power. 

If you think your community would be better off without an aging and trouble prone nuclear station in its midst, and if you think we should tap into Quebec water power instead, then please share your thoughts with Premier Wynne and Patrick Brown today.

Email Premier Wynne at premier@ontario.ca or leave a phone message at 416-325-1941.

Email Patrick Brown at patrick.brownco@pc.ola.org or leave a phone message at 416-325-0445.

They need to hear from you. Thank you for speaking up now!

Let's do the math

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

Quebec power breakthrough

Quebec power breakthrough

According to Quebec newspaper La Presse, Ontario and Quebec are on the cusp on signing a major new power import agreement. If the agreement goes ahead as planned, Ontario will buy eight terawatt hours of renewable electricity from Quebec every year for the next 20 years – enough power to serve the needs of close to a million homes in Ontario.

This is exciting news for the people of Ontario, who stand to benefit from the expanded import of low-cost Quebec water power. La Presse reports that Ontario will pay just over 6 cents per kilowatt hour for this power – a bargain compared to 9 cents to extend Pickering, or 16.5 cents to rebuild Darlington.

We congratulate Premier Wynne and Energy Minister Glen Thibeault for acting on the tremendous opportunity to lower electricity costs in Ontario by tapping into our neighbour’s huge supply of low-cost power .

This deal is still far from maxing out both Quebec’s supply of low-cost power and Ontario’s ability to import such clean, green power. But it is a big step and paves the way for expanded imports in the future.

With this agreement in place, there will be even less reason to keep the old and dangerous Pickering Nuclear Station operating in the heart of the Greater Toronto Area. The government’s next step should be to order Ontario Power Generation to shut down North America’s fourth oldest nuclear plant in 2018 when its licence expires.

Please send the Premier and the Minister a note thanking them for pursuing a deal for clean, low-cost power with Quebec.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

Keep Hydro One out of dirty coal

Instead of buying into a giant dirty coal-fired generating station that is the 3rd largest greenhouse gas emitter in the entire United States, Hydro One should be helping its customers right here in Ontario by improving energy efficiency and importing more low-cost water power from Quebec.

Sign our petition calling on Premier Wynne to make it illegal for Hydro One to invest in dirty coal

Read our factsheet on Hydro One’s better options

 

 

How Hydro One can help – not hurt – people in Ontario

How Hydro One can help – not hurt – people in Ontario

Hydro One’s decision to invest in a U.S. utility that is part owner of one of the country’s largest coal plants certainly won’t do anything for the people of Ontario. In fact, this investment will just contribute to the growing climate crisis and flies in the face of the extraordinary efforts Ontario made to end the dirty coal era here.

Instead of spending its money on dirty coal, Hydro One could actually help the people of Ontario by investing in energy efficiency and improving its ability to trade power with Quebec.

Ontario still has enormous untapped efficiency potential according to the Independent Electricity System Operator, and Hydro One can help millions of residents lower their bills while also earning a tidy profit bonus for its actions. Similarly, the utility could expand its transmission ties with Quebec to allow us to import more low-cost water power. Again, lower bills for Ontario customers and guaranteed profits for Hydro One.

We’ve outlined the benefits of this approach in our new report: Setting Hydro One’s Priorities Straight

We are calling on Premier Wynne to amend the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act — which made burning coal for power generation illegal in Ontario — to stop Hydro One from investing in coal elsewhere. Help us send the Premier a message about maintaining climate leadership and clean air by signing our petition calling for Hydro One to stay out of the coal business.

Sign the petition now.

With appreciation,

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director

Wynne Liberals must top Hydro One’s U.S. coal plant purchase: report

Toronto Sun
July 29, 2017
Antonella Artuso

Wynne Liberals must top Hydro One’s U.S. coal plant purchase: report

The Kathleen Wynne government should put a stop to Hydro One’s purchase of a “dirty coal plant” in the United States, a new report by an environmental group says.

Setting Hydro One’s Priorities Straight, to be released Monday by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, also calls for the government to force the massive utility to obtain approval from the Ontario Energy Board before pursuing more expansion in the United States.

Spokesman Jack Gibbons said Hydro One should focus on lowering greenhouse gas emissions and costs for its own 1.3 million customers.

“The purchase is totally inappropriate,” Gibbons said. “An Ontario public utility should not be buying a dirty U.S. coal-fired power plant.”

Hydro One has announced it has struck a deal to purchase Avista Corp for $6.7 billion.

The U.S. utility owns a 15% stake in two units of the Colstrip coal plant in eastern Montana, a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions and responsible for an 800-acre coal ash waste pond described by Sierra Club as “toxic soup.”

Colin Nekolaichuk, a spokesman for Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault has said in an email that the Avista purchase was “a business decision…the government is pleased at the benefits this will provide for all Ontarians.”

The rates Hydro One customers pay are set by the OEB, whose mandate is to protect customers and ensure those rates reflect the cost of servicing and maintaining their system, Nekolaichuk said.

Hydro One said in a statement that Avista has a strong environmental track record, and is ranked among the cleanest power producers in the U.S. for CO2 emissions.

The OCAA report says after phasing out its five coal-fired plants and passing the Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act to prohibit this type of electricity generation in the province, Ontario as the single largest shareholder in Hydro One buys the second largest coal-fired plant west of the Mississippi and one of the nation’s top 20 greenhouse gas-producing power plants.

Instead, Hydro One should improve and expand its ability to import relatively low-cost hydro electricity from Quebec, the report says.

“According to a May 2017 IESO report, for a cost of approximately $220 million, Hydro One could upgrade its transmission system to boost our firm import capability to 2,050 MW,” the report says. “This would allow Quebec water power to meet our peak hour demands on hot summer days instead of using greenhouse gas emitting gas-fired power plants.”

Hydro One should also focus on conservation measures that would help its customers reduce their power use by as much as 31% by 2035, a potential savings of $1.4 billion on energy bills, the report says.

Under the status quo, electricity consumption in Ontario is expected to decline over that period by 12%, which would reduce customer bills by $649 million, the report says.

Hydro One should not be able to make any investments outside the country until it has implemented all possible measures to reduce costs for its customers, Gibbons said.

“Their first priority must be to do what’s best for their domestic customers,” he said. “Public utilities are not just like any other corporation — they get a monopoly from the government and in return they’re obliged to act in the public interest.”

Although the government has sold off a majority stake in Hydro One, it could still use its legislative and shareholder clout to keep the utility in line, Gibbons said.

aartuso@postmedia.com

**********

Report Recommends:

1. Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act be amended to prohibit Hydro One from purchasing coal-fired electricity generating stations anywhere.

2. Ontario government direct Hydro One to expand its capacity to import power from Quebec.

3. Ontario government direct Hydro One to pursue all energy conservation and efficiency opportunities that can cost-effectively reduce its customers’ electricity bills.

4. Ontario Energy Board Act be amended to require OEB’s approval for investments by Hydro One outside of Ontario, and be approved only if net benefit to Ontario consumers, utility already pursuing all domestic investments to lower energy bills.

(Source: OCAA’s Setting Hydro One’s Priorities Straight) 

Avista’s ownership in a Montana coal plant is under scrutiny in Ontario, which has banned coal-fired electricity

The Spokesman-Review
July 29, 2017
Becky Kramer

Avista’s ownership in a Montana coal plant is under scrutiny in Ontario, which has banned coal-fired electricity

Avista customers may not realize it, but some of their electricity comes from a coal-fired plant on Montana’s eastern plains.

The Spokane-based utility gets about 9 percent of its electricity from the Colstrip generating station, which ranks among the West’s top emitters of greenhouse gases.

With Avista Corp. poised to be acquired by Hydro One of Ontario in a $5.3 billion sale next year, the utility’s partial ownership in Colstrip has come under scrutiny in Canada.

“In Ontario, burning coal to produce electricity is illegal – a position supported by the vast majority of Ontarians,” fumed the Ontario Clean Air Alliance in a news release, accusing Hydro One of “investing in dirty air south of the border.”

The alliance encouraged the province’s residents to lobby Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to scuttle the deal or pressure Hydro One to divest itself of Colstrip.

Three years ago, Ontario became the first regional government in North America to ban coal-fired electricity. The government shut down the last of five coal plants that once supplied Canada’s most populous province with electricity and outlawed new coal-fired plants.

The move led to a visit by former Vice President Al Gore, who congratulated Wynne on the province’s coal-free status. Gore’s efforts to educate U.S. citizens about climate change was featured in the Academy Award-winning 2006 documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“You won’t find another jurisdiction, pretty much around the world, that has gone as far in terms of renewable clean energy as Ontario,” Wynne told reporters in a media briefing last week.

But Wynne found herself on the defensive after the Hydro One deal was announced, with political opponents accusing her of hypocrisy. The government of Ontario is Hydro One’s largest stockholder, with about 45 percent of the shares.

Wynne said she contacted Hydro One’s chairman, Mayo Schmidt, after the utility’s proposed purchase of Avista was announced. During the conversation, Wynne said, she talked about the “coal-free electricity grid here in Ontario” and opportunities “for that value system to be shared in another jurisdiction.”

In media briefings, both Avista and Hydro One have played up the renewable energy they sell to customers.

Avista gets about half of its electricity from dams. The utility also has biomass, wind and solar in its portfolio, along with Colstrip and natural gas-fired electricity.

Hydro One buys electricity and distributes it to 1.3 million customers in suburban and rural Ontario. The province has invested heavily in hydropower and other renewable resources. It also has large nuclear plants.

Colstrip is one of the largest coal-burning plants west of the Mississippi, producing about 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other climate-warming gases each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Avista is one of six owners of the coal plant. The utility bought a 15 percent stake in Colstrip’s units 3 and 4 in the 1980s.

Avista expects Colstrip to be a viable part of its energy mix through at least 2037, said Jason Thackston, the company’s senior vice president for energy resources.

Replacing Avista’s stake in Colstrip with a cleaner burning natural gas plant would cost between $235 million and $300 million, Thackston said. However, Avista’s draft energy plan for the next 20 years indicates the utility could reduce the electricity it gets from Colstrip and buy more energy on the wholesale market.

“That would reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions,” Thackston said.

The Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign wants to see Colstrip shut down. Hydro One’s purchase of Avista, which still has to pass regulatory approval from state and federal authorities, could help move the utility to “greater accountability on climate change,” said Doug Howell, a senior representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

Puget Sound Energy, which is a large stakeholder in Colstrip, agreed to close two of the plant’s older units by 2022 under a settlement with the Sierra Club and a Montana environmental group. The utility, which has 1.1 million customers in Western Washington, also has indicated that it could exit from Colstrip by 2030.

“There has been a lot of rhetoric around coal and coal making a comeback,” said Caleb Heeringa, deputy press secretary for the Beyond Coal Campaign. “Cleaner alternatives continue to be cheaper.”

Coal is back

Hydro One’s decision to buy into a giant coal plant in Montana and a natural gas distribution system in the U.S. northwest is a huge step backward for this province’s climate leadership.

In Ontario, burning coal to produce electricity is illegal – a position supported by the vast majority of Ontarians. So the newly privatized Hydro One decided to invest in dirty air south of the border instead, offering to buy an American utility, Avista, that owns a slice of one of the continent’s largest coal plants.

Here in Ontario, we know firsthand the health and environmental costs of operating giant coal stations, such as the Nanticoke coal plant on Lake Erie, which was once the biggest coal burner – and one of the biggest polluters — in North America. That’s why we shut down our five dirty coal stations.

But instead of respecting Ontario’s leadership, Hydro One has slapped us in the face by going shopping for a utility that owns part of one of the largest polluters in the U.S. northwest – the Colstrip Power Plant in Montana.

Premier Kathleen Wynne assured us that privatizing Hydro One would be in the interest of all Ontarians and that the government would maintain a large say in the privatized utility’s actions. It’s time for the Premier to walk her talk by telling Hydro One to either drop its deal for Avista or – at the very least – use it to help shut down Colstrip.

In fact, instead of investing in a dirty coal-fired electricity generating station, Hydro One should be investing in energy efficiency to reduce the energy bills and greenhouse gas emissions of its Ontario customers.

The potential is huge – the Independent Electricity System Operator says we could cost-effectively reduce electricity use in Ontario by another 33% by 2035 .

Unfortunately, as a result of the Ontario Energy Board’s out-of-date rules, Hydro One currently thinks it is more profitable to invest in dirty U.S. coal than clean energy efficiency in Ontario. This has to change. It’s time for Premier Wynne to tell the Ontario Energy Board to make the promotion of energy conservation and efficiency Hydro One’s most profitable course of action.

Please send a message to Premier Wynne at premier@ontario.ca telling her to direct Hydro One to stay out of the coal business and to order the Ontario Energy Board to make the promotion of energy conservation and efficiency Hydro One’s most profitable course of action.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director