The greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants will increase by more than 300% by 2030 and by 500% or more by 2040 as the province uses gas to replace aging nuclear plants and to meet growing demand for electricity from population growth and increased electrification (electric cars, home heating). If this occurs, Ontario will lose roughly 40% of the pollution reduction benefits it achieved by phasing-out its dirty coal plants.

A better answer

Here is how we can avoid a huge gas pollution increase:

    • 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 9.6 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 plant’s greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to ensure Ontario meets its climate targets.

Power authority agrees to look at feasibility of phasing out gas

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), which issues contracts for power generation on behalf of Ontario, has decided to look at what would be involved in phasing out gas plants.  The IESO is launching a public consultation on phasing out gas and will host a public zoom meeting on June 24th at 9 a.m.  Details will be posted on the IESO events page.  To register, contact engagement@ieso.ca.

It is very important that the IESO hears from Ontarians that it must look seriously at alternatives to gas.  So far, the materials the IESO has posted and sent to municipalities focus mostly on defending the role of gas in our electricity system.  We need a thorough, fact-based assessment that takes into account what is needed to achieve climate targets, so the IESO needs to hear from you.  You can send your response to engagement@ieso.ca.  You can use this sample letter to help write your response.

We have sent a series of letters to the IESO about what we would like to see this consultation cover and our thoughts on the best ways to phase out gas:

 

Read our report on how Ontario can phase out gas-fired generation.

Municipal Support for phasing out gas continues to grow

Community and climate organizations across Ontario support phasing out gas

 Sign our petition to phase out Ontario’s gas plants.