This morning Ottawa City Council voted to support the call for a phase-out of gas-fired electricity by 2030. The council was not swayed by the Independent Electricity System Operator’s recent report rejecting the feasibility of a gas phase-out and instead reiterated that phasing out gas is a must if we are to achieve critical climate targets.

 

Thanks to everyone in the Ottawa community who rallied to support our continued call for a gas plant phase-out, and to The Atmospheric Fund who produced an insightful blog on what the IESO overlooked in its weak and incomplete analysis. Now, 32 municipalities representing almost 60% of the people in Ontario have endorsed phasing out gas.

This sends an important message to both the IESO and the provincial government that the people of Ontario want to see action on climate – not excuses. It is now on the IESO to come up with a much more robust analysis of how Ontario can eliminate fossil fuels from the province’s electricity system, not if it should do so.

Right now, instead of taking the need to eliminate fossil fuels seriously, the IESO is planning to transform our gas fleet from a largely “peaking” resource used infrequently on high electricity demand days to a 24/7 source of power to replace retiring and offline nuclear units and to serve a growing demand for power. In fact, the IESO sees us continuing to rely heavily on gas right up until 2040, well after refurbished nuclear units are supposed to return to service. 

What this points to is the complete failure of Ontario to develop readily available low-cost alternatives – solar and wind, energy efficiency and waterpower imports from Quebec. York University Professor Mark Winfield does a good job of explaining how Ontario’s inaction has paved the way for increasing instead of reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Of course, the IESO’s report is in many ways is “back to the future.” In 2006, it also did its best to portray the coal phase out as not doable. Ontario led the world in phasing out coal. Now we have to catch up to major world players like the U.S. and the UK when it comes to phasing out gas.

What You Can Do

The IESO is holding a public engagement webinar on Oct. 21st to discuss its report. This is your chance to tell the IESO that they need to get serious about phasing out gas. Email engagement@ieso.ca to get details on how to participate.

And if you haven’t already done so, please send a message to Ontario’s Energy Minister Todd Smith and your MPP (click here) asking them to direct the IESO to develop a serious plan to phase-out gas power by 2030.

Thank you!

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