Kitchener and Halton Hills call for the phasing-out of Ontario’s gas-fired power plants

Yesterday the City of Kitchener and the Town of Halton Hills became the first municipalities to request the Government of Ontario to start phasing-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants.

Kitchener City Council unanimously called on the Government of Ontario to phase-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by 2030 to ensure that the province can meet its 2030 climate target. Watch the video here (discussion starts 1 hr. 28 min.).

Halton Hills Town Council unanimously requested the province “to reverse its plan for increasing power production at its gas-fired power plants” and instead invest in energy efficiency, wind and solar energy and to “begin negotiations with the Province of Quebec to purchase clean hydro electricity” to replace power from the Pickering Nuclear Station, which is scheduled to close in 2024. Watch the video here (discussion starts at 5 min.).

In February 1999, the City of Kitchener was the first city in Ontario to call for the phasing-out of Ontario’s dirty coal plants; following its lead, 10 additional Ontario municipalities called for the phase-out of Ontario’s coal-fired power plants. And thanks to the strong leadership of Kitchener’s former MPP and Minister of the Environment Elizabeth Witmer, in 2002 the Government of Ontario committed the province to the phase-out of all of Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) coal-fired power plants by 2015.

OPG, which now owns five large gas-fired power plants, including the Halton Hills Generating Station, is Ontario’s largest fossil-fuel electric utility. We can phase out fossil gas power plants and replace them with low-cost energy efficiency, made-in-Ontario wind and solar, and water power from Quebec.

What you can do

Please ask your municipal council to request the Government of Ontario to phase-out our gas-fired power plants by 2030. Municipal leadership makes a difference! Download our draft municipal phase-out resolution here. And let me know how we can help! We’d love to make a deputation before your City Council.

Individuals can also sign on here.

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Campaigns Director

We took down Enbridge’s pipeline plan!

There will be no new Hamilton gas pipeline – at least for now. Yesterday, Enbridge Gas withdrew its application to build a giant new pipeline through sensitive natural areas in Hamilton to bring more US fracked gas to Ontario and to facilitate Doug Ford’s plan to ramp up the output of Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300%.

Enbridge said it was withdrawing the pipeline proposal due to a drop in demand for fossil gas. We have always maintained that there was indeed no need for this pipeline and that there were many better ways to meet our energy requirements, especially lower-cost efficiency efforts.

One of the most outrageous parts of the Enbridge proposal was the company’s intention to use the pipeline to deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England via Ontario and Quebec and thereby circumvent a fracked gas pipeline ban in New York State. Now, Ontario will not be used as a convenient detour around climate leadership.

Your emails, calls and letters had a big impact on pushing Enbridge to reconsider this pipeline and the likelihood of getting it built. Initial submissions at the Ontario Energy Board, where the environmental position was ably communicated by lawyer Kent Elson on behalf of Environmental Defence, also made it clear that Enbridge had a weak case when it came to the need and business case for this giant new pipe.

Enbridge has left the door open to bringing back its pipe-dream later, but we urge the company to reconsider and realize that deepening energy efficiency efforts and transitioning away from fossil fuels is the direction it should head.

Thank you for standing up for our climate!

Angela Bischoff, Campaigns Director

We took down Enbridge’s pipeline plan!

There will be no new Hamilton gas pipeline – at least for now. Yesterday, Enbridge Gas withdrew its application to build a giant new pipeline through sensitive natural areas in Hamilton to bring more US fracked gas to Ontario and to facilitate Doug Ford’s plan to ramp up the output of Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300%.

Enbridge said it was withdrawing the pipeline proposal due to a drop in demand for fossil gas. We have always maintained that there was indeed no need for this pipeline and that there were many better ways to meet our energy requirements, especially lower-cost efficiency efforts.

One of the most outrageous parts of the Enbridge proposal was the company’s intention to use the pipeline to deliver fracked gas from Pennsylvania to New England via Ontario and Quebec and thereby circumvent a fracked gas pipeline ban in New York State. Now, Ontario will not be used as a convenient detour around climate leadership.

Your emails, calls and letters had a big impact on pushing Enbridge to reconsider this pipeline and the likelihood of getting it built. Initial submissions at the Ontario Energy Board, where the environmental position was ably communicated by lawyer Kent Elson on behalf of Environmental Defence, also made it clear that Enbridge had a weak case when it came to the need and business case for this giant new pipe.

Enbridge has left the door open to bringing back its pipe-dream later, but we urge the company to reconsider and realize that deepening energy efficiency efforts and transitioning away from fossil fuels is the direction it should head.

Thank you for standing up for our climate!

Angela Bischoff, Campaigns Director

A golden opportunity to reduce climate damaging emissions

In early October, Prime Minister Trudeau directed the Canada Infrastructure Bank to invest $2.5 billion in projects to support renewable electricity generation and storage and to expand Canada’s east-west electricity grid.

An excellent way to invest some of these funds would be to build a new 20 km transmission line between Ontario and Quebec through Ottawa. This line, which could be built within an existing transmission corridor, would increase our import capacity by 2,000 megawatts for a cost of approximately $80 million.

The increased power import capacity provided by this line would allow Ontario to phase out its gas-fired power plants by 2030 instead of ramping up their greenhouse gas pollution by more than 300%.

An additional benefit would be creating a low-cost way to back up renewable power produced in Ontario. According to a recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study, Two Way Trade in Green ElectronsHydro Quebec’s reservoir system is the lowest-cost, carbon-free back-up option for wind and solar energy.

Phasing out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by 2030 will provide Ontario with all (or virtually all) of the greenhouse gas pollution reductions that it needs to achieve its 2030 climate target.

More than 45 organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, are calling for Ontario to phase-out its gas plants using an integrated combination of energy efficiency investments, Made-in-Ontario wind and solar energy and Quebec water power. You too can sign on here.

What you can do

Please contact Premier Ford and your local MPP here and tell them that you want Ontario to seek funding from the Canada Infrastructure Bank for a new 20 km transmission line that will double our ability to buy low-cost water power from our next door neighbour.

Thanks for making the time.

Angela Bischoff, Campaigns Director

Let’s hear what the federal by-election candidates have to say about climate

We have asked the Liberal, Conservative, NDP and Green Party by-election candidates in the ridings of Toronto Centre and York Centre to participate in our online all candidates debates on climate solutions. This is your opportunity to hear how the major parties plan to tackle the biggest issue of our time.

In Toronto Centre, the NDP and Green Party candidates have agreed to participate.

In York Centre the Liberal, NDP and Green Party candidates have agreed to participate.

The debates will be broadcast via Zoom and Facebook. Please register if you want to view the event directly in Zoom and have the opportunity to ask a question. And please share this information with your networks – we all need to hear what the candidates have to say on this issue.

Toronto Centre All-Candidates Debate on Climate Change

Wed. Oct. 14, 2 – 3 p.m. EST

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/toronto-centre-all-candidates-debate-on-climate-change-tickets-124593333013

Livestreamed here: https://www.facebook.com/CleanAirAlliance

Facebook event to share: https://www.facebook.com/events/3726469264039908

Recording of event will be posted for later viewing here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh934oFZunJlDrdVn7IU8BA

York Centre All-Candidates Debate on Climate Change

Fri. Oct. 16, 2 – 3 p.m. EST

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/york-centre-all-candidates-debate-on-climate-change-tickets-124730934583

Livestreamed here: https://www.facebook.com/CleanAirAlliance

Facebook event to share: https://www.facebook.com/events/837770900364258

Recording of event will be posted for later viewing here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh934oFZunJlDrdVn7IU8BA

Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time and we need to hear how these candidates would support the transition to a low-carbon economy. You can ask the Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre and the Conservative candidates in both ridings why they are not ready to make their views known on this vital issue:

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Campaigns Director

Picturing lower electricity rates for Ontario

Want to know why people in Ontario are paying so much more for power than their neighbours in Quebec and Manitoba? Take a look at these graphics.

Residents of Ontario are paying as much as 90% more for power than people in Quebec and as much as 50% more than their neighbours in Manitoba because Ontario depends so heavily on high-cost nuclear power. 

And it is about to get worse. Despite the fact that Premier Ford promised to lower our electricity rates by 12%, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is proposing to raise its price of electricity by 74% over the next five years to pay for the re-building of the Darlington Nuclear Station.

In fact, as this graphic shows, nuclear costs have been steadily climbing over the last two decades, helping to drive up electricity bills for the people of Ontario while their neighbours continue to benefit from low-cost water power. Ontarians also spent much of the past two decades helping to pay off the massive debt accumulated through nuclear projects that went hugely over budget.

Fortunately, we have much lower cost options to keep our lights on. Energy efficiency, wind and solar power and Quebec water power can all meet our electricity needs at less than half the cost of re-building OPG’s and Bruce Power’s aging nuclear reactors. 

Send a message to Premier Ford, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca and Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner and tell them that we need to defund the nuclear industry to prevent our electricity rates from sky rocketing. Click here now. 

Thanks for making the time.

Angela Bischoff, Director 

 

A gift for Premier Ford

Premier Ford is meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault tonight and tomorrow to discuss economic recovery plans. If Premier Ford is lucky, the Quebec Premier will be bringing him a big gift – a way to finally meet Premier Ford’s promise to reduce our electricity costs by 12%.

Premier Legault has made no secret of the fact that his government would love to sign a long-term electricity export deal with Ontario. That’s because Quebec has a huge surplus of low cost water power that it has been dumping for pennies on American spot markets for years. Quebec would much rather sell this power to Ontario at a still bargain rate of 5 cents per kWh under a 20-year contract .

Strangely, Ontario premier after premier has turned a deaf ear to Quebec’s generous offers. And despite the fact that Premier Ford claims he is different from his predecessors, it seems like he still can’t hear the fantastic offer being put forward by Premier Legault over the shouting from Ontario’s nuclear special interest lobby.

As a businessman, Premier Ford would never turn down an offer to get a commodity at half the price. But that is exactly what he is doing in refusing Quebec’s offer. We are paying 9.5 cents per kWh for nuclear power today and will be paying almost twice that by 2025. It is simply economic insanity to continue to pursue high-cost nuclear when we have a better option knocking on our door. And the last thing people in Ontario need right now is higher – not lower – hydro rates.

For a minuscule fraction of the cost of rebuilding one nuclear reactor (and Ontario’s current plan is to rebuild 10 of these dinosaurs ~ $26 B), we can build a new 20 km. transmission line near Ottawa (~$80 M) that would allow us to import enough low-cost Quebec water power to completely do away with the need for power from both the Pickering and Darlington Nuclear Stations.

Ontario’s perplexing plan to replace the power from the Pickering Station, which is scheduled to close in 2024, with gas-fired electricity, will result in a more than 300% increase in climate pollution from our electricity sector. This will make it impossible for Ontario to meet even its already inadequate 2030 climate targets.

It’s time for Premier Ford to exercise some of the “common sense” he loves to talk about and make a deal with Premier Legault. The result will be lower costs, fewer climate damaging emissions and less air pollution.

Click here to send a message to Premier Ford. Tell him to deliver on his promises to help Ontarians deal with the economic fallout from COVID-19 and lower our electricity rates by 12% by making a deal with Quebec.

 

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Time to defund nuclear

Ontario’s electricity prices are 50% to 90% higher than Manitoba’s and Quebec’s. The reason is simple.  While Quebec and Manitoba have built their electricity systems around low-cost water power, Ontario has bet big — and lost — on high cost nuclear.  Now the province wants to dig itself into an even deeper hole by rebuilding 10 aging reactors.  At the same time, the Ford Government has slashed energy efficiency programs, torn up renewable power contracts and refused to make a deal with Quebec for low-cost water power.  All to protect a nuclear industry that is largely obsolete and in decline worldwide. It’s time to end the nuclear gravy train and adopt more sensible options for keeping our lights on and our communities safe.  This pamphlet explains the benefits of defunding nuclear now.

 

Proposal to extend life of Pickering Nuclear Station is reckless and financially irresponsible

Premier Doug Ford’s support for Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) proposal to extend the operating life of the geriatric Pickering Nuclear Station to 2025 is reckless and financially irresponsible.

Pickering is the 4th oldest (and 5th largest) nuclear plant in North America. It is surrounded by more people – 2.2 million within 30 km – than any other nuclear station on the continent.

The Government of Ontario does not have a plan to evacuate those millions of GTA residents in the event of a serious nuclear accident. The erroneous emergency alert sent in January about an accident at the plant demonstrated all too well how unprepared we are for a real emergency at the Pickering Nuclear Station.

Fukushima-level accident at Pickering could cause 26,000 cancers and a $125 billion loss in housing values.

It is reckless to put the safety of millions of GTA residents at risk, especially given that we have lower cost, cleaner and safer options to keep our lights on. Energy efficiency investments, Made-in-Ontario wind and solar energy and Quebec water power can keep our lights on at less than half the cost of continuing to operate the old and dangerous Pickering Nuclear Station.

By immediately starting to dismantle the Pickering Nuclear Station, when its repeatedly extended operating license expires in 2024, we can create 32,000 person-years of employment between 2024 and 2034 and return most of the 600-acre Pickering waterfront site to the local community by 2035.

In contrast, under OPG’s plan this prime Lake Ontario waterfront site will remain off-limits to revitalization for more than 40 years.

For the 1,900 workers employed at the Pickering Nuclear Station, transitioning to the fast growing nuclear decommissioning industry by developing expertise through the dismantling of Pickering is a better option than dragging out the life of one of the world’s oldest nuclear plants.

Send a message to all four Ontario Party Leaders asking them to close the PIckering Nuclear Station in 2024 when its license expires and immediately dismantle the station.

 

Thanks for taking the time.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Not worth the risk: No more delay in closing the Pickering Nuclear Station!

Send Ontario’s party leaders a message that once again delaying closure of the old and unsafe Pickering Nuclear Station is a bad idea.  We have many safer — and lower cost — options for keeping our lights on and don’t need to keep Pickering operating until 2025. Your message will be sent to the leaders of the Progressive Conservative, NDP, Liberal and Green Parties with just one click below.

 

More than 45 groups call for ON phase out of gas-fired power plants to help our climate

The Ford Government wants to ramp up the greenhouse gas pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040.

To help fuel this massive increase in fossil fuel electricity and climate threatening pollution, the provincial government recently purchased 3 gas plants (for $2.8 billion), and Enbridge hopes to build a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas from the U.S.

Ontario is set to throw away close to a third of the greenhouse gas reductions it achieved by phasing out dirty coal thanks to a power plan built around ramping up gas-fired generation to replace the output of the Pickering Nuclear Station (scheduled to close in 2024).

Fortunately, there is a better way to keep our lights on. We can meet our 2030 climate target and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out our gas-fired power plants by 2030 and embracing lower cost and cleaner options.

Here is how we can avoid a huge gas pollution increase:

  • Reverse shortsighted cuts to energy efficiency programs and stop under-investing in this quick-to-deploy and low-cost resource. We can ensure we maximize efficiency efforts by paying up to the same price per kWh for energy efficiency measures as we are currently paying for power from nuclear plants (e.g., up to 9.5 cents per kWh).
  • Return Ontario to leadership in developing increasingly low-cost renewable energy resources. It makes no sense to ignore our lower cost options for keeping our lights on while investing in high-cost nuclear rebuilds. We should support renewable energy projects that have costs that are below what we are paying for nuclear power and work with communities to make the most of these economic opportunities.
  • Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 power from its massive waterpower system. Quebec has offered power at less than one-half the cost of re-building our aging Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Stations and Ontario can only benefit by making a long-term deal with its green energy-rich neighbour. Quebec’s system of reservoirs can also be used like a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power, eliminating the need to use gas-fired power plants.
  • Put in place an interim cap of 2.5 megatonnes per year on our gas plant’s greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to ensure Ontario meets its climate targets.

Click here to call the leaders of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the Liberal Party of Ontario, the New Democratic Party of Ontario, the Green Party of Ontario, and your MPP, and let them know that you support a renewable future, not more fracked gas electricity.

Our call to phase out gas-fired power plants has been endorsed by more than 45 national, provincial and local organizations.  If your organization would like to join the campaign, please contact Angela Bischoff.

Green Party endorses gas plant phase out and calls on other opposition parties to follow its lead

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner has challenged the Liberal and NDP leaders to follow his lead and sign on to our plan to phase out polluting gas-fired power by 2030.

As the Green Party leader points out in his letter to the other opposition leaders, the government’s current weak climate action plan will be even further undermined by a huge increase in the use of gas-fired electricity generating stations.

While the Ford government has torn up hundreds of contracts for zero emission renewable energy and cancelled energy conservation programs, it has done nothing to address a huge planned increase in the use of fossil fuel energy – an increase of more than 300% by 2025. In fact, the provincially owned Ontario Power Generation just spent close to $3 billion buying gas-fired generating stations instead of investing in renewables.

Mr. Schreiner is right that Ontario’s current approach essentially means abandoning all hope of even meeting Ontario’s weak current climate pollution reduction targets. In fact, it would mean losing more than one-third of the greenhouse gas emission reduction gains Ontario realized by phasing out its dirty coal-fired power plants.

There is a desperate need for strong climate leadership in Ontario and we join Mr. Schreiner in calling on NDP Leader Andrea Horwarth and Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca to endorse the phase-out of our gas-fired power plants. Please email the other two opposition leaders right now and ask them to support our call for a phase-out of Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by 2030. Click here.

Send a message

 

And please thank Mike Schreiner, Green Party Leader, for his leadership on this issue. ph. 416-325-4664,Mschreiner@ola.org

Thanks for making the time!

Angela Bischoff, Director

P.S. Join OCAA and Hamilton350 in a webinar on Tues. July 28, 7 – 8:30 p.m. EST to learn about Ontario’s planned 300% fracked gas ramp up.

We need climate leadership!

 

29 groups calls for Ontario Gas-Fired Power Plant Phase-out

The Ford Government wants to ramp up the greenhouse gas pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040.

To help fuel this massive increase in fossil fuel electricity and climate threatening pollution, the provincial government recently purchased 3 gas plants (for $2.8 billion), and Enbridge hopes to build a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas from the U.S.

Ontario is set to throw away close to a third of the greenhouse gas reductions it achieved by phasing out dirty coalthanks to a power plan built around ramping up gas-fired generation to replace the output of the Pickering Nuclear Station (scheduled to close in 2024).

Fortunately, there is a better way to keep our lights on. We can meet our 2030 climate target and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out our gas-fired power plants by 2030 and embracing lower cost and cleaner options.

Click here to call the leaders of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, the Liberal Party of Ontario, the New Democratic Party of Ontario, the Green Party of Ontario, and your MPP, and let them know that you support a renewable future, not more fracked gas electricity.

Here is how we can avoid a huge gas pollution increase:

  • Reverse shortsighted cuts to energy efficiency programs and stop under-investing in this quick-to-deploy and low-cost resource. We can ensure we maximize efficiency efforts by paying up to the same price per kWh for energy efficiency measures as we are currently paying for power from nuclear plants (e.g., up to 9.5 cents per kWh).
  • Return Ontario to leadership in developing increasingly low-cost renewable energy resources. It makes no sense to ignore our lower cost options for keeping our lights on while investing in high-cost nuclear rebuilds. We should support renewable energy projects that have costs that are below what we are paying for nuclear power and work with communities to make the most of these economic opportunities.
  • Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 power from its massive waterpower system. Quebec has offered power at less than one-half the cost of re-building our aging Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Stations and Ontario can only benefit by making a long-term deal with its green energy-rich neighbour. Quebec’s system of reservoirs can also be used like a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power, eliminating the need to use gas-fired power plants.
  • Put in place an interim cap of 2.5 megatonnes per year on our gas plant’s greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to ensure Ontario meets its climate targets.

Call the leaders now. It’s easy, clear and will only take 3 minutes. Our action tool will do the dialing for you. Thank you!

-Angela Bischoff, Director

The 33 Alliance Members include: 

 

Get outside and make a difference

Looking for some new routes to walk during your daily fresh air outing? We have an opportunity for you that will make a difference.

We need to distribute thousands of pamphlets calling attention to the Ontario government’s plan to expand the use of gas-fired electricity by more than 300% by 2025. Considering the urgency of the climate crisis, the opportunity to reduce demand through conservation, the drastic drop in wind and solar costs over the last five years, and the availability of low-cost water power and storage from Quebec, Ontario’s abrupt pivot toward expanding the use of fracked gas is startling.

We’re looking for volunteers to go door-to-door leaving pamphlets in household mailboxes around Ontario. Can you help? (High school students can gain volunteer hours.)

These deliveries can be safely carried out while maintaining social distancing (no contact with residents), and we will provide gloves and masks.

Social media is important, but we also need to get the word out to people’s doorsteps about Doug Ford’s plan to drag Ontario backwards. Your help can ensure we do not throw away one-third of the climate pollution reductions Ontario achieved by phasing out coal-fired power. Now is the time to move toward a 100% renewable future, rather than dial up greenhouse gas pollution.

You can order free leaflets here for distribution anywhere in Ontario.

We will also be doing group blitzes in Toronto, Pickering and Hamilton over the summer months. If you can join us, please contact me (angela@cleanairalliance.org).

Thanks for helping us put boots to pavement and get the word out about how we can meet our 2030 climate target and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out our gas-fired power plants.

Angela Bischoff, Director

Pandemic leads to moratorium on Ontario’s nuclear re-build programs

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, on March 25th Bruce Power suspended work on the re-building of its Unit 6 nuclear reactor. One day later, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced that it will not proceed with the re-building of its Unit 3 nuclear reactor at this time.

Bruce Power’s and OPG’s actions provide Premier Ford with the opportunity to reconsider whether it makes sense to continue with the previous Government’s high-cost plan to re-build 10 aging nuclear reactors and to continue to subsidize our electricity rates to the tune of $5.6 billion per year.

By investing in energy efficiency instead we can keep our lights on at less than one-quarter of the price of nuclear power and create good jobs in every community in Ontario.

In New York State, giant utility Consolidated Edison announced on May 18th that it is tripling its energy efficiency budget.  Ontario should too. According to Consolidated Edison’s Chairman and CEO, John McAvoy: “I believe one of the keys to rebuilding our communities and boosting the economy is maintaining our focus on clean energy. We’re building tomorrow’s grid so that it stands up to climate change and so it can integrate renewable energy sources like solar and wind.”

Please email Premier Ford here and tell him you support getting Ontario back to work by launching an energy retrofit program for our homes and businesses that will also lower our electricity bills.

Thank you for making the time.

-Angela Bischoff, Director

p.s. If the automatic email doesn’t work for you, please send your email to Doug Ford at premier@ontario.ca and cc: ahorwath-qp@ndp.on.ca , steven@ontarioliberal.ca , mschreiner@ola.org and angela@cleanairalliance.org

Open Letter to Al Monaco, CEO, Enbridge, Calgary, Alberta

By Email: al.monaco@enbridge.com

Dear Mr. Monaco:

Re: Your proposed Hamilton Pipeline

On May 19th I asked you to cancel Enbridge’s proposed fracked gas pipeline in the City of Hamilton.

Two days later I received a response from Andrea Stass, Enbridge’s Manager, External Communications and Media Relations.

According to Ms. Stass, Enbridge’s proposed pipeline is needed “to ensure that Ontario families and businesses continue to have reliable access to an affordable energy choice,” namely fracked gas. [1]

Fortunately, there is a better option to heat Ontario’s homes and businesses. By expanding its energy conservation and efficiency programs Enbridge can avoid the need for additional fracked gas imports, reduce our energy bills, create jobs in thousands of Ontario communities and help Ontario achieve its 2030 climate target.

On average, Enbridge’s 2019 energy efficiency programs are forecast to reduce its customers’ energy bills by $4.72 for every dollar spent by your utility. Your most cost-effective programs in the commercial sector are forecast to reduce your customers’ bills by $16.43 for every dollar spent by Enbridge.[2]

Therefore, by investing $204 million to expand your energy efficiency programs instead of the proposed Hamilton Pipeline, you can reduce your customers’ energy bills by $963 million to $3.4 billion.

You say the pipeline is needed because of increases in the demand for fracked gas. But, according to a recent study prepared for the Ontario Energy Board and the Independent Electricity System Operator, energy efficiency programs could cost-effectively reduce Ontario’s total gas consumption by 20% by 2038. [3] Why should Ontarians spend $204 million on a new pipeline when they could reduce their energy bills and reduce gas demand through energy efficiency instead?

Unfortunately, as you are well aware, due to the Ontario Energy Board’s outdated regulatory rules, building new fracked gas pipelines, not investing in energy efficiency, is Enbridge’s most profitable course of action. This doesn’t make sense. The Ontario Energy Board should change its regulatory rules to ensure that the pursuit of all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities is Enbridge’s most profitable course of action.

In conclusion, please provide the leadership that is urgently needed to align the interests of Enbridge’s customers and shareholders. Specifically: a) cancel your proposed Hamilton Pipeline; b) ramp up your cost-effective energy efficiency programs to their full potential asap; and c) ask the Ontario Energy Board to make the promotion of energy conservation and efficiency Enbridge’s most profitable course of action.

Yours sincerely,

Angela Bischoff



[1] According to page 16 of Enbridge’s Annual Gas Supply Plan Update (2020), “By 2025, [fracked] shale gas is projected to account for about 80% of all U.S. and Canadian gas production.”

[2] Ontario Energy Board Docket No. EB-2015-0049, Exhibit B, Tab 2, Schedule 3, page 6.

[3] Navigant Consulting Ltd., 2019 Integrated Ontario Electricity and Natural Gas Achievable Potential Study , (2019), pages iii, vii and ix.

 

Bruce Power ordered to reveal prices

 

The Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled that Bruce Power and the Ontario Government must come clean on the cost of power from rebuilt reactors noting that “the public has a right to know what the electricity cost will be from the multi-billion Bruce NGS [Nuclear Generating Station] project as they are paying for it and will be locked into paying for it for almost 50 years.”

In her response to an appeal by Bruce Power of an earlier decision, Adjudicator Diane Smith acknowledged that the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has the power to suppress this information, but ruled that the public right to know trumped this authority.

In ruling that the pricing information should be released, the Adjudicator reasoned that “the annual price of the Bruce NGS electricity options… would allow the public to assess and potentially advocate for alternative energy sources, such as conservation, demand response, hydro power imports from Quebec, renewable generation, and energy storage. Environmental advocates need the annual price of the nuclear option as soon as possible to advocate for alternatives that may take up to 10 years to implement.”

Bruce Nuclear StationFurther, the Adjudicator found the IESO and Bruce Power rationale for suppressing information about the price of power from rebuilt Bruce reactors to be without substance. She noted that contrary to the IESO’s assertions, “I find that the amount of information already disclosed is not adequate to address the public interest considerations.” She also found Bruce Power’s assertion that disclosing the information would somehow raise electricity prices rather baffling, noting “neither the IESO nor Bruce Power provided particulars that support their concerns about this.”

It’s important to note that pricing information for all renewable energy projects in Ontario is fully public and there is no need for citizens or environmental organizations to undertake long and costly Freedom of Information appeals to see this information. Similarly, Ontario Power Generation must publicly disclose all its costing information through the Ontario Energy Board. Only Bruce Power has had the special privilege of keeping all its pricing information firmly under wraps – until now.

Thanks to the Privacy Commissioner we are optimistic we will soon see just what kind of deal Bruce Power is really offering the people of Ontario. The nuclear industry loves to talk about how it supplies “low cost power” though the numbers tell a very different tale.

This matter should never have required a multi-year effort by an environmental NGO. If the Ontario government was serious about reducing hydro costs, it would have long since ordered this information be made public to allow a real comparison of the cost of different energy options. We cannot have an informed debate about the best options for Ontario when one powerful entity and our electricity system manager cling to secrecy.

-Angela Bischoff, Director

 

It’s time to phase-out Ontario’s gas-fired power plants to help protect our climate

The Ford Government wants to ramp up the greenhouse gas pollution from Ontario’s gas-fired power plants by more than 300% by 2025 and by more than 400% by 2040.

To help fuel this massive increase in fossil fuel electricity and climate threatening pollution, the provincial government recently purchased 3 gas plants (for $2.8 billion), and Enbridge hopes to build a new pipeline through Hamilton to import fracked gas from the U.S.

Ontario is set to throw away more than a third of the greenhouse gas reductions it achieved by phasing out dirty coal thanks to a power plan built around ramping up gas-fired generation to replace the output of the Pickering Nuclear Station (scheduled to close in 2024).

Fortunately, there is a better way to keep our lights on. We can meet our 2030 climate target and lower our electricity bills by phasing-out our gas-fired power plants by 2030 and embracing lower cost and cleaner options.

Here is how we can do it:

  • Reverse shortsighted cuts to energy efficiency programs and stop under-investing in this quick-to-deploy and low-cost resource. We can ensure we maximize efficiency efforts by paying up to the same price per kWh for energy efficiency measures as we are currently paying for power from nuclear plants (e.g., up to 9.5 cents per kWh).
  • Return Ontario to leadership in developing increasingly low-cost renewable energy resources. It makes no sense to ignore our lower cost options for keeping our lights on while investing in high-cost nuclear rebuilds. We should support renewable energy projects that have costs that are below what we are paying for nuclear power and work with communities to make the most of these economic opportunities.
  • Accept Quebec’s offer of low-cost 24/7 power from its massive waterpower system. Quebec has offered power at less than one-half the cost of re-building our aging Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Stations and Ontario can only benefit by making a long-term deal with its green energy-rich neighbour.  Quebec’s system of reservoirs can also be used like a giant battery to backstop made-in-Ontario renewable power, eliminating the need to use gas-fired power plants.
  • Put in place an interim cap of 2.5 megatonnes per year on our gas plants’ greenhouse gas pollution and develop a plan to phase out all gas-fired electricity generation by 2030 to ensure Ontario meets its climate targets.

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New York turns down pipeline. Ontario should too.

New York State is giving Ontario a lesson in weighing the costs and benefits of new natural gas infrastructure. The State just refused to approve a new fracked gas pipeline stating “New York is not prepared to sacrifice the State’s water quality for a project that is not only environmentally harmful but also unnecessary to meet New York’s energy needs.”

The exact same statement could be made about Enbridge’s proposal to build a new fracked gas pipeline through Hamilton. Cutting through environmentally sensitive wetland areas, this pipeline would have serious local impacts while also not being needed – Ontario can far more cost-effectively meet its needs with increased energy efficiency efforts, as New York is doing.

The New York government also noted that the proposed pipeline was not compatible with the state’s climate objectives. Enbridge’s Hamilton pipeline, meanwhile, will help fuel a 400% increase in greenhouse gas pollution from Ontario gas plants, blowing away the province’s climate targets.

The good news is that due to the uncertainties created by the Covid crisis, Enbridge’s application to the Ontario Energy Board has now been suspended (at the company’s request). We are hopeful that the company will use this pause to rethink its plans and see that what we don’t need is another gas pipeline and what we do need are deeper energy efficiency efforts.

It’s time for Ontario to take a page from the New York playbook and make it clear that a new gas supply pipeline through southern Ontario is going nowhere, permanently.

Sign our petitions to oppose the pipeline and to phase out gas plants in Ontario. Also please write to Enbridge President Al Monaco (al.monaco@enbridge.com and cc: angela@cleanairalliance.org) and encourage him to shelve the Hamilton fracked gas pipeline permanently.

-Angela Bischoff, Director

Ford Government Pays $2.8 Billion for 3 Fossil Power Plants

Ontario Power Generation — 100% owned by the Government of Ontario — has just spent $2.8 billion to buy three gas-fired power plants

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) projects that under the Ford government’s electricity plan, emissions from gas-fired power plants will rise by more than 300%. This is essentially throwing away one-third of the climate pollution reductions Ontario achieved by phasing out coal-fired power.

There are far better ways to keep our lights on, starting with maximizing our energy efficiency efforts, making a deal with Quebec for low-cost water power and developing cost-effective renewable energy projects right here in Ontario.

These actions would allow Ontario to phase out polluting gas-fired power and create a strong foundation for a green economic recovery from our current covid-19 crisis. Instead of spending $2.8 billion to increase greenhouse gas pollution, Ontario should be embracing the opportunity to develop a 100% renewable electricity system.

We recently looked at this better approach in a Zoom webinar you can watch, or view the powerpoint slides here. We have also spelled out how Ontario can phase out its gas plants in a new report.

If you think we have better ways to spend $2.8 billion than buying polluting gas plants, send a letter to Doug Ford and the leaders of the opposition parties here: OntarioClimateAction.ca.

Thank you for making the time.

-Angela Bischoff, Director

Time for gas to go

Ontario’s greenhouse gas pollution will rise sharply in the future – due in part to a return to business as usual post-COVID-19, but also because the Ford government plans to ramp up the use of polluting gas plants by more than 400% to replace the Pickering Nuclear Station and to meet future demand.

If we stick with Doug Ford’s plan, Ontario will not reach its 2030 climate target and electricity costs for Ontario consumers will continue to rise as costly nuclear rebuild projects proceed.

Fortunately, our new report, Phasing-Out Ontario’s Gas-Fired Power Plants, outlines a better solution – an integrated combination of clean waterpower imports from Quebec, with strong energy efficiency efforts in Ontario and the development of cost-effective wind power in both provinces. This combination can supply more than enough energy to keep our lights on while also allowing us to phase out the use of gas-fired electricity.

Quebec has the low-cost renewable power Ontario needs and is keen to sell it to us. Building a new 20 km transmission line (along an existing transmission corridor) in Ottawa will cost but a fraction of what Ontario is planning to spend on nuclear rebuilds, saving us billions of dollars. Plus, Quebec can use its extensive waterpower reservoir system to act like a giant battery to turn intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar into firm 24/7 power.

We don’t need to build a giant new fracked gas pipeline through sensitive natural areas in Hamilton to meet our electricity needs – the better answer is to work with Quebec and to restore energy efficiency programs right here in Ontario.

  • Webinar: We’ll explain more in our Zoom webinar on Thursday April 23, 2 p.m. EST – email me (angela@cleanairalliance.org) for the link.
  • Petition: And sign our petition calling for the phase-out of Ontario’s gas-fired power plants.

Thank you and stay healthy! Please pass this onto your friends.

Angela Bischoff, Director

 

Helping our climate by phasing-out Ontario’s gas plants

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.

To help fuel the planned ramp up of Ontario’s gas plants, Enbridge is seeking permission from the Ontario Energy Board to build a large pipeline in Hamilton to enable it to import more fracked gas from Pennsylvania.

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.

  1. Direct the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to maximize its spot market purchases of Quebec water power before it dispatches gas-fired generation.
  2. Direct the IESO to stop spot market gas-fired electricity exports (except for emergency exports).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).

Read our report on how Ontario can phase out gas-fired generation.

 Sign our petition to phase out Ontario’s gas plants.