May 31, 2011

Hudak supports 2014 Coal Phase Out

The Ontario Progressive Conservative Party recently released their 2011 election platform, changebook.  While much of the media attention has focused on PC Leader Tim Hudak’s promise to eliminate the Green Energy Act’s feed-in-tariff program and to remove the HST from energy bills, we are pleased to note that Mr. Hudak has also promised to completely phase-out our dirty coal plants by 2014. 

The PC Party is promising to focus its energy spending on proven technologies that are “effective, efficient, and clean: like natural gas, hydroelectric, and nuclear.” 

Every nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone massively over budget and the cost overruns have been passed on to Ontario’s electricity consumers and taxpayers.  That’s why we are still paying down the former Ontario Hydro’s $19 billion stranded nuclear debt.  It’s time to put Ontario’s consumers and taxpayers first.  Hopefully, all political parties that support nuclear power will also promise that they will not allow nuclear power companies to pass their future cost overruns on to Ontario’s consumers and taxpayers.

For hydroelectricity, the real potential lies with our neighbour next door – water power imports from Quebec are our lowest-cost supply option to keep the lights on.  For example, in 2010 Vermont electric utilities signed an agreement to import water power from Hydro Quebec for 26 years at a starting price of less than 6 cents per kWh.  Hopefully all of our political parties will promise to seek to negotiate a long-term contract with Hydro Quebec for low cost water power before signing any new nuclear agreements.

Most of Ontario’s new, large natural gas-fired power plants have energy efficiencies of around 50%.  That is, 50% of the natural gas they burn is simply wasted heating up our atmosphere and lakes.  It is much more cost-effective and environmentally responsible to use natural gas to simultaneously produce both electricity and useful heat for a building, or to drive an industrial production process.  This is what combined heat and power (CHP) plants do.  They can have overall energy efficiencies of 80 to 90%.  Therefore all of our new natural gas-fired power plants should be CHP.

Please contact Mr. Hudak and thank him for supporting the coal phase-out, and remind him that one of the best ways to protect electricity consumers is to end the practice of allowing nuclear companies to pass along their inevitable cost overruns. Click here to send your automated letter now.

Thank you for contributing to Ontario energy policy!

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director
Ontario Clean Air Alliance

160 John Street, Suite 300, Toronto, Ont. M5V 2E5
Phone 416-260-2080 ext. 1
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