The Independent Electricity System Operator’s (IESO) public engagement webinar on how Ontario can phase-out its gas-fired power plants is scheduled for Thursday, June 24th at 9 a.m.  If you haven’t already registered to participate you can do so by emailing <engagement@ieso.ca>.

While support for phasing out gas-fired generation to protect our climate continues to grow, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Enbridge Gas are continuing to tell the IESO that a gas plant phase-out is not possible.

According to Enbridge, “Ontario requires flexible generation in the electricity grid that only natural gas can provide. Today, and for the foreseeable future, electricity can’t be efficiently stored.”

According to OPG, the “emerging technologies for multi-day or seasonal storage are not yet commercially mature.”

Fortunately, OPG’s and Enbridge’s assertions are simply not true. Ontario has at least two viable storage options that can permit a complete gas plant phase-out by 2030, namely Hydro Quebec’s reservoirs and our electric vehicles’ batteries.

1. As an MIT study has shown, Hydro Quebec’s existing reservoirs can act like a giant battery for Ontario’s wind and solar energy. By integrating our intermittent wind and solar energy with Quebec’s hydro-electric reservoirs we can convert our wind and solar energy into a firm 24/7 source of baseload electricity supply for Ontario.

The MIT study’s finding are supported by Brookfield Renewable, which has asked the IESO to “recognize and further value hydropower’s ability to provide the full range of system needs, including storage.”

2. According to Peak Power Inc., electric vehicles could provide 7,000 megawatts of power to the grid by 2030. To put this figure in context, we needed only 6,845 MW of gas generation during our summer peak demand day in 2020.

In 2003 when Dalton McGuinty was elected Premier of Ontario, coal was responsible for 25% of Ontario’s electricity supply. Nevertheless, thanks to the IESO’s leadership, Ontario was able to achieve a complete coal phase-out by 2014 without jeopardizing reliability.

In 2020, gas was responsible for 6% of our electricity supply. Instead of increasing our imports of fracked gas from western Canada and Pennsylvania, we now have the opportunity to take the next step to clean-up our electricity grid and create jobs in Ontario by phasing-out our gas plants by 2030.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

P.S. According to a story in today’s Globe and Mail, BC Hydro will phase-out two gas-fired power plants to reduce its carbon pollution. Ontario should follow their lead!