June 9, 2006

The IESO versus Dalton McGuinty

June 9, 2006  –  Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) issued a report today which announced that due to changes in its “planning assumptions”, Premier McGuinty’s commitment to phase-out all of Ontario’s dirty coal-fired power plants “will require significant delays.”
But in reality, the IESO’s report confirms that Ontario can phase-out its coal-fired power plants by 2009.
Here are the facts:

  •  The IESO Report confirms that the McGuinty Government is on-track to close the Atikokan and Thunder Bay coal-fired power plants in 2007.
  •  The IESO Report confirms that the planned in-service dates for the two new high-efficiency natural gas-fired power plants  (Greenfield Energy Centre and St. Clair Generation Project), which will replace the Lambton coal-fired power plant, are 2008.  Therefore the Lambton coal-fired power plant can be phased-out in 2008 or 2009.

The IESO’s revised planning assumptions which reveal the need for  an additional 2,500 to 3,000 MW of peaking capacity (i.e., capacity that is needed during approximately 2% of the year) also does not entail the need to delay the phase-out of coal-burning at Nanticoke.  Rather, to meet this need for additional peaking capacity and to permit the phase-out of coal burning at Nanticoke by 2009, Premier McGuinty should:

  • Direct OPG to convert the Nanticoke coal-fired boilers to burn natural gas.  This will provide Ontario with an additional 4,000 MW of peaking capacity at a cost of only $80 to $240 million.
  • Direct the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) and Hydro One to aggressively promote energy conservation.

 In  June 2005 Energy Minister Dwight Duncan directed the OPA to implement a demand response program to pay electric utilities and large industrial, commercial and institutional customers to shift some of their electricity consumption from peak to off-peak periods on peak demand days.  Despite the fact that Ontario has already experienced 11 smog days in 2006, the OPA has still not implemented this program. Furthermore, while the OPA says it will have this program up and running by July 1st, it is not willing to pay Ontario consumers as much money to reduce their demand on smog days as the IESO is willing to pay U.S. power companies for dirty coal-fired electricity imports.

Meanwhile, Toronto Hydro has developed an innovative, voluntary peakSAVER program which cycles residential central air-conditioners on and off to reduce Ontario’s peak day electricity demands.  If every residential central air conditioner in Ontario were to enroll in a peakSAVER program like Toronto Hydro’s, we could reduce our peak day demands by up to 2,000 MW.  Unfortunately, Ontario’s largest electric utility, Hydro One, has still not established a peakSAVER program to help reduce Ontario’s peak day demands.

Please contact Premier McGuinty, at Dalton.Mcguinty@premier.gov.on.ca and ask him to keep his promise to phase-out our dirty coal-fired power plants by 2009.

Thank you,

Jack Gibbons

Ontario Clean Air Alliance
402-625 Church St, Toronto M4Y 2G1
Phone: 416-926-1907 ext. 245
Fax: 416-926-1601
Email: info@cleanair.web.ca
Website: www.cleanairalliance.org