Our American neighbours are doubling down on renewable energy and have announced a plan to drive solar costs down to an incredible 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). It is figures like these that have led the International Energy Agency to predict that renewables will account for 95% of new power supply worldwide over the next five years.
Storage solutions for renewable energy are also growing fast. Battery technology has now reached the point where utilities are investing in large-scale systems, like a 100 megawatt battery planned for California. This combination of renewables and battery storage is already close to parity with other electricity sources, particularly high-cost nuclear and peak gas generation.
Ontario, however, is fortunate to have an even better – and lower cost – solution. As an MIT study found, combining renewable systems with Quebec’s waterpower system is an excellent way to create a 24/7 renewable power supply. When solar and wind production is high, Quebec can import power while storing water in hydro reservoirs. When these sources are less available, Quebec can use stored water to produce electricity. We’ve used this sort of system at Niagara Falls for close to 100 years – storing water in a large reservoir until power is needed. But we could deploy this solution on a far larger scale by working with Quebec.
Ontario can also embrace a community power approach to ensure communities have a strong say and benefit directly from renewable energy development. Ontario pioneered community renewable power co-ops, but now wants to ignore all the benefits, from jobs and taxes to better air, communities could reap from investing in green energy.