The Record
May 10, 2012
Jack Gibbons


Nuclear costs dwarf impact of green energy

Re: The expensive failure of green energy — May 4

In this column, Gwyn Morgan, chair of nuclear power plant builder SNC-Lavalin, laments the fact that green energy is pushing up Ontario’s electricity prices.

What Morgan failed to mention is that the impact of green energy on Ontario’s electricity prices is dwarfed by the impact of high-cost and unreliable nuclear power.

A recent Ontario Energy Board report provides much needed context for the emotional debate about why our electricity prices are spiralling upwards. According to the energy board, since 2006, 45 per cent of the increase in our electricity generation costs has been due to subsidies for the nuclear industry, while only six per cent of the increase is due to subsidies for green energy.

Nuclear subsidies will rise dramatically if Premier Dalton McGuinty proceeds with his proposed $33-billion nuclear spending program. Already, Ontario Power Generation has announced that it signed a secret, sole-source $600-million contract with SNC-Lavalin to develop a plan to rebuild its Darlington Nuclear Station.

According to Ontario Power Generation, the Darlington rebuild will cost $8.5 billion to $14 billion. However, every nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone massively over budget — on average by 2.5 times the original cost estimates.

If history repeats itself, the real cost of the Darlington rebuild project will be $21 billion to $35 billion. Meanwhile, we are still paying down the $20-billion stranded debt from previous nuclear fiascos.

Jack Gibbons
Chair, Ontario Clean Air Alliance