May 2, 2012

Nuclear Forty-Five, Renewables Six

In his recent Globe and Mail column, Gwyn Morgan, chairman of nuke builder SNC-Lavalin, lamented the fact that green energy is pushing up Ontario’s electricity prices. What Mr. Gwyn 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 report by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) provides much needed context for the emotional debate about why our electricity prices are spiraling upwards. According to the OEB, since 2006, 45% of the increase in our electricity generation costs has been due to subsidies for the nuclear industry, while only 6% of the increase is due to subsidies for green energy.

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

According to OPG, the Darlington Re-Build will cost $8.5 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 Re-Build project will be $21 to $35 billion. Meanwhile, we are still paying down the $20 billion stranded debt from previous nuclear fiascos.

Please email Premier McGuinty (and cc me) and ask him to develop a new long-term electricity plan which will lower our electricity bills by increasing the proportion of our future electricity needs that are met by hydro-electric imports from Quebec and by investing in energy efficiency and natural gas-fired combined heat and power plants instead of high-cost nuclear power.

Thank you.

Angela Bischoff

p.s. If you haven’t already done so, please order our new leaflet Let’s Cut Some Real Waste, with a postcard to Energy Minister Bentley – help get the word out to your friends and community.

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