The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is preparing to take another stab at planning for the decarbonization of Ontario’s electricity system.

The IESO’s first attempt to look at what it would take for Ontario to phase-out the use of polluting gas was a disaster. Specifically, in Oct. 2021 the IESO released a biased and fundamentally flawed report which failed to provide a least-cost plan to phase-out gas power. To add insult to injury, in Dec. 2021, the IESO released its new Annual Planning Outlook which forecasts that the greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution from Ontario’s gas plants will increase by 375% by 2030 and by more than 600% by 2040. The IESO’s plan to keep our lights on by a combination of polluting gas and high-cost nuclear power will lead to rising GHG pollution and electricity bills.

Fortunately, Ontario’s Energy Minister Todd Smith has sent the IESO back to the drawing board to develop a new plan to move Ontario to zero-carbon electricity grid.

We will be watching closely to see if the IESO can get it right this time. Instead of working to protect the profits of Ontario’s gas and nuclear power companies, the IESO should be aggressively promoting energy efficiency and renewables to decarbonize our electricity grid and lower the electricity bills of Ontario’s hard-working families.

It’s time for the IESO to listen to the 32 Ontario municipalities, representing almost 60% of the province’s population, that are calling on the Government of Ontario to phase-out our gas-fired power plants.

Specifically, our municipalities are asking the IESO to develop a plan to:

  1. Return the gas plants’ GHG pollution back to their 2017 level ASAP; and
  2. Completely phase-out gas-fired electricity generation by 2030.

The good news is that we can achieve these goals and lower our electricity bills by taking the following five actions:

  1. Ban gas-fired electricity exports to the U.S.
  2. Purchase all energy efficiency savings and solar and wind power that can keep our lights on at less than today’s price of nuclear electricity (9.6 cents per kWh).
  3. Triple our spot market purchases of Quebec waterpower using our existing transmission links with Quebec.
  4. Expand our transmission links with Quebec by up to 7,500 MW (as identified by the IESO).
  5. Install bi-directional chargers for our electric cars, school buses and fleet vehicles so that they can help us phase-out our gas plants during hot summer and cold winter days.

To learn more please download our report: Getting Ontario to a Zero-Carbon Electricity Grid by 2030.

What you can do

You can participate in the IESO’s Pathways to Decarbonization public webinar on Thursday, February 24th, 1 p.m. ET.

Register here

This is your chance to tell the IESO that you want it to develop a plan to decarbonize our electricity grid by 2030 and lower our electricity bills by investing in all of our cost-effective energy efficiency and renewable electricity options. Please tell the IESO that it is time for it to serve the public interest, not the profits of polluting gas and high-cost nuclear power companies.

If you can’t attend the webinar, you can send in your comments here:

Thanks for participating!

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