Our electricity planners are doubling down on their plans to make Ontario’s climate problems worse. Just as cities across Ontario clean up from the terrible storms that raced across the province a few weeks ago, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is gearing up to add NEW polluting gas-fired power plants to our electricity system.

Instead of working toward the zero-carbon electricity system Premier Ford called for during the election, the IESO is planning to add up to 3,500 megawatts of NEW gas-fired electricity generation (the equivalent of six gas plants the size of Toronto’s Portlands Energy Centre) through a procurement process that is not open to zero-carbon options such as demand response, energy efficiency and Quebec waterpower.

The new gas plants the IESO is eager to contract for will be with us for at least the next 20 years and will contribute to increasing the greenhouse gas pollution from our electricity system by more than 600% by 2040. We don’t think this is what the Premier had in mind when he said he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less than a 100% zero-carbon electricity system.

The IESO’s plan will be very bad for our climate but great for gas companies that can secure juicy long-term contracts to perpetuate polluting gas power in Ontario until 2047 or beyond. 

The rush to build more gas plants demonstrates an astounding lack of foresight. Ontario has been adrift on benefiting from the huge plunge in costs for wind and solar energy. We are failing to pursue all our incredibly cost-effective energy efficiency options. We are refusing to tap into the huge synergies to be had by working with Quebec due to the perplexing insistence by the IESO that it makes sense to import fracked gas from western Canada and Pennsylvania, but not to contract for clean, low-cost renewable electricity from Quebec.

In the face of a growing climate crisis, we need to get serious about new approaches that don’t put us even further behind the rest of the world when it comes to benefiting from moving to the zero-carbon energy future.

What you can do 

We can’t let the IESO drag Ontario backwards. Please contact Premier Ford and ask him to direct the IESO to NOT contract for NEW gas-fired power plants. Tell him to direct the IESO to move Ontario to a zero-carbon electricity grid by 2030 and lower electricity bills by investing in energy efficiency, cost-effective Made-in-Ontario green energy and increased energy cooperation with Quebec.

 

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