March 16, 2006

Securing Toronto’s electricity future

Toronto is one of the largest cities in North America that has no significant electricity generation capacity within its own vicinity – the city generates just 1.2% of the power used within its boundaries while using close to 20% of the power produced in Ontario.

Currently, the central city south of Eglinton (between Hwy. 427 and Victoria Park) receives almost its entire electricity supply via two Hydro One transmission corridors.  This leaves the city highly reliant on large centralized supply sources outside of the city, such as the Pickering and Darlington nuclear stations and the giant Nanticoke coal-fired station on Lake Erie.

This tenuous power situation has led to two proposals to build new generation facilities on the eastern waterfront:

  • The Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) is a joint venture of Ontario Power Generation and TransCanada that is proposing to build a 550 megawatt (MW) combined-cycle natural gas power plant near the site of the mothballed Hearn Generating Station.
  • The Toronto Waterfront Clean Energy Centre (TWCEC) is a joint project of Toronto Hydro and Constellation Energy that is proposing to build a 291 MW simple-cycle natural gas plant within the existing Hearn structure.

Our new Air Quality Issues fact sheet, Meeting Toronto’s Electricity Supply Needs: A comparison of the Portlands Energy Centre and the Toronto Waterfront Clean Energy Centre, looks at these two proposals in terms of energy efficiency; air emissions; contribution  towards the phase-out of coal-burning at Nanticoke; and contribution towards increasing Toronto’s security of electricity supply.

We recommend that energy efficiency and conservation initiatives that are part of both proposals be aggressively pursued no matter which one actually proceeds, and that the City of Toronto work with Enwave Energy Corporation to ensure that the new plant can be made as efficient as possible by serving a district heating and/or cooling system through co- or tri-generation technology.  

We also recommend that the Ontario Power Authority consider both the net emission reductions and power replacement potential of the proposals vis-à-vis the Nanticoke Generating Station, Canada’s No. 1 air polluter and a major contributor to smog throughout Southern Ontario.

The fact sheet is available for viewing on our website at

Please pass this message on to your friends.

Thank you

Jessica Fracassi
Communications & Membership Manager
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601