Going 100% Renewable

The world is going renewable and not a moment too soon. The time we have left to avoid the worst impacts of climate change grows smaller every day.

Ontario was the first jurisdiction in the world to phase out coal-fired electricity to address climate and health. But recently the province has been steadily moving backwards: tearing up renewable power contract, slashing energy efficiency programs and planning a huge increase in the use of gas-fired electricity.

As the International Energy Agency (IEA) has made clear, these actions are not what we need to lower emissions and reduce our climate impact. The IEA reports that it expects 95% of the world’s new power generation over the next five years to come from renewable sources and has called for a swift phase out of fossil fuel burning if the world is serious about keeping warming to no more than 1.5 degrees.

Ontario is well positioned to move to a 100% renewable energy system thanks to its strong renewable resources, history of effective efficiency efforts, and proximity to the world’s waterpower leader, Quebec. We believe Ontario can make its electricity system 100% renewable by taking three key steps:

Solar and wind are now fully cost competitive with other sources of power and half the cost of nuclear energy. And increasingly solar and wind plus storage is also becoming both technically viable and less costly. But Ontario has a big advantage: it can partner with Quebec to use that province’s huge water reservoirs as a way to store solar and wind energy. Essentially, Quebec will import our excess solar and wind power and hold back water when the sun is shining and wind is blowing. When we need power, Quebec releases water to generate power and sends it to Ontario. An MIT study found that this is an excellent way to turn intermittent solar and wind into power that is available 24/7.

The growth of electric vehicles will also open up new ways to store power with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) systems.

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