The greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants will increase by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% 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 35% of the pollution reduction benefits it achieved by phasing-out its dirty coal plants.
A better answer
The Government of Ontario should take the following actions to achieve a complete gas plant phase-out by 2030 and an interim 2.5 million tonne per year cap on the gas plants’ GHG pollution as soon as possible.
- Direct the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to maximize its spot market purchases of Quebec water power before it dispatches gas-fired generation.
- Direct the IESO to stop spot market gas-fired electricity exports (except for emergency exports).
- Direct the IESO to pay residential, commercial, institutional and industrial consumers up to the price of nuclear electricity (e.g., 9.5 cents per kWh in 2020) for each kWh they save by investing in energy efficiency.
- Direct Hydro One to build a new 20 km transmission line in Ottawa, to increase our ability to import Quebec power by 17.5 billion kWh per year, at a cost of approximately $80 million.
- Direct the IESO to seek to negotiate long-term electricity supply and storage (load balancing) contracts with Hydro Quebec to help phase-out our gas plants and to meet our electricity needs at a lower cost than re-building up to ten nuclear reactors.
- Put a moratorium on the re-building of our aging nuclear reactors while the IESO seeks to negotiate long-term electricity supply and storage contracts with Hydro Quebec.
- Direct the IESO to purchase Made-in-Ontario wind and solar power that can keep our lights on at a cost that is less than the price of nuclear electricity (e.g., 9.5 cents per kWh in 2020).