The Ford Government wants to ramp up the greenhouse gas pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040.
To help fuel this massive increase in fossil fuel electricity and climate threatening pollution, the provincial government recently purchased 3 gas plants (for $2.8 billion), and Enbridge hopes to build a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas from the U.S.
Ontario is set to throw away more than a third of the greenhouse gas reductions it achieved by phasing out dirty coal thanks to a power plan built around ramping up gas-fired generation to replace the output of the Pickering Nuclear Station (scheduled to close in 2024).
Fortunately, there is a better way to keep our lights on. We can meet our 2030 climate target and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out our gas-fired power plants by 2030 and embracing lower cost and cleaner options.
Here is how we can do it:
- Reverse shortsighted cuts to energy efficiency programs and stop under-investing in this quick-to-deploy and low-cost resource. We can ensure we maximize efficiency efforts by paying up to the same price per kWh for energy efficiency measures as we are currently paying for power from nuclear plants (e.g., up to 9.5 cents per kWh).
- Return Ontario to leadership in developing increasingly low-cost renewable energy resources. It makes no sense to ignore our lower cost options for keeping our lights on while investing in high-cost nuclear rebuilds. We should support renewable energy projects that have costs that are below what we are paying for nuclear power and work with communities to make the most of these economic opportunities.
- Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 power from its massive waterpower system. Quebec has offered power at less than one-half the cost of re-building our aging Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Stations and Ontario can only benefit by making a long-term deal with its green energy-rich neighbour. Quebec’s system of reservoirs can also be used like a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power, eliminating the need to use gas-fired power plants.
- Put in place an interim cap of 2.5 megatonnes per year on our gas plants’ greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to ensure Ontario meets its climate targets.