November 23, 2010

Nuclear heavy energy plan will double residential electricity bills

The McGuinty Government released their new 20-year electricity plan today. This plan is a big slice of “Back to the future” with a major emphasis on costly, risky and completely unnecessary nuclear projects.

Here are its key features:

Coal phase-out

The good news: The Government of Ontario is speeding up the coal phase-out.

  • 2 of Nanticoke’s 6 remaining coal boilers will be shut down in 2011.
  • The Atikokan coal plant will be converted to biomass by 2013.
  • The Thunder Bay coal plant will be converted to run on natural gas and potentially also biomass.
  • The Government will make a decision in 2012 on the conversion of some or all of the remaining coal units at Nanticoke and Lambton to natural gas.

These are important steps in the right direction given that Ontario has more than enough generation available to end coal use now.


  • The Government plans to move forward with re-building the aging Darlington and Bruce Nuclear Stations and building two new nuclear reactors at Darlington.
  • According to the Government, its nuclear plan will cost $33 billion. However, every nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone massively over budget – on average by 2.5 times. Therefore the real cost of McGuinty’s nuclear plan will almost certainly be $83 billion or more. That means the total cost of McGuinty’s 20 year electricity plan will be $137 billion or more.
  • According to McGuinty’s plan, in 2030 Ontario will obtain 55% of its electricity from costly nuclear power.


Ontario’s demand for electricity has fallen by 7% since 2006, yet our electricity consumption per person is still 35% higher than New York State’s. But instead of ramping up conservation efforts to cut waste and improve efficiency, the McGuinty plan calls for a massive supply increase – Ontario’s total electricity generation capacity in 2030 (40,900 MW) will be 63% greater than our peak demand in 2010. Apparently, the Premier has little faith in his government’s ability to truly create “a culture of conservation.”

Green Energy

According to the McGuinty Plan, wind, solar and bio-energy will provide Ontario with 15% of its electricity supply in 2030, up from up from 3% today.

New Peaker Plant for Kitchener-Waterloo

The McGuinty Plan calls for the construction of a large new, inefficient gas-fired peaker plant in Kitchener-Waterloo despite the fact that the region’s electricity needs can be met at a much lower cost with an integrated combination of energy efficiency, demand response and combined heat and power. Will it be Oakville all over again?

Combined Heat and Power

The McGuinty Plan directs the Ontario Power Authority to establish a combined heat and power (CHP) standard offer program for projects of 20 MW or less. However, new CHP procurement is capped at approximately 500 MW despite the fact that its cost per kWh is less than one-third that of new nuclear and Ontario’s total CHP potential is greater than 11,000 MW. Why are we artificially capping cleaner, safer power sources?

Our Conclusion

The McGuinty Government’s plan will double residential hydro bills over the next 20 years to pay for high-cost new nuclear power. This doesn’t make sense. Ontario’s electricity needs can be met at a much lower cost with an integrated combination of energy conservation and efficiency, water power imports from Quebec, and small-scale, high-efficiency combined heat and power plants.

Click here to send an email to Premier McGuinty. Congratulate him on speeding up the coal phase-out, but please also tell him that you don’t want Ontario to spend $83 billion or more on risky nuclear. Tell him that we can keep our lights on at a lower cost with a combination of energy conservation and efficiency, water power from Quebec and small-scale, high-efficiency combined heat and power plants.

Thank you for helping shift Ontario’s energy policy.

Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 246
Clean Air Alliance
Ontario’s Green Future
No Nukes News
Health Power

P.S. Order free postcards/leaflets to distribute to your friends and neighbours!