We have a lot of options for replacing gas-fired generation and the most effective plan is to combine them in a system that maximizes efficiency and takes advantage of our proximity to a waterpower superpower – Quebec.
We can start by restoring Ontario’s leadership in developing cost-effective energy efficiency programs and go much deeper.
Improving energy efficiency is also an excellent opportunity to create jobs and spur the development of new high-value technologies. Retrofitting homes and businesses, installing new energy efficiency lighting and equipment, and developing everything from smart controls to new grid technology can drive job growth throughout the province. Gas-fired power plants are not a major source of employment, but they are a serious pollution source for both local communities and our climate. And importing more fracked gas is not going to create jobs or grow our economy.
Developing renewable energy projects right here in Ontario is another major economic opportunity. Costs for solar and wind have fallen dramatically since the days of Ontario’s Green Energy Act and the technology has also improved significantly. The world is going renewable, with the International Energy Agency predicting that 95% of growth in electricity supply over the next five years will come from renewable sources. Ontario has excellent renewable energy opportunities and turning our backs on this growth industry, as the current government wants to do, makes no sense.
The good news is Ontario is right next door to one of the world’s biggest batteries (and sources of renewable power) – Quebec. Quebec’s vast waterpower system can back up Ontario’s renewable power supply and also supply baseload power throughout the year. Its water power system is also flexible and can be ramped up and down quickly as power demand rises and falls.