Last night Windsor City Council voted 8 to 2 to support Capital Power’s proposal to build a new gas-fired power plant in Windsor.
Mayor Dilkens and Windsor City Council chose to listen to a fossil fuel power developer rather than the citizens of Windsor, who reminded them that the city has declared a climate emergency and has endorsed the call for the province to phase-out gas fired power.
Councilors voting for the polluting new gas plant were taken in by Capital Power’s bizarre argument that the plant wasn’t really needed and would be rarely used and therefore wouldn’t have a major climate impact. Instead of rationally embracing the fact that the city has many better zero carbon options, the councillors latched onto Capital Power’s fearmongering about industry not having enough power.
Of course, the problem is the exact opposite: What modern industry, including automakers, want is zero carbon power, not more polluting gas. That Windsor council has failed to grasp this fundamental shift in economic direction does not speak well for its readiness to position Windsor to succeed in a new green technology era.
Instead, Windsor is supporting the provincial government’s highly misguided strategy of massively increasing gas use for electricity production – by more than 300% by 2030 and by more than 700% by 2043. Under Premier Ford’s plan, more than 25% of Ontario’s electricity will be produced by fossil gas in 2043.
Councillors in favour of the new gas plant failed to seriously probe Capital Power’s sudden shift from proposing a large battery storage facility to a new gas plant in the wake of the Independent Electricity System Operator putting out a call for more gas last fall. It is council’s job to look at who really benefits from this switch, and the answer is very plainly Capital Power, not Windsor.
Councillors Fabio Costante and Angelo Marignani had the good sense to oppose the motion and point out the weak justification for Capital Power’s proposal.
As Councillor Constante noted, “There’s no question that we’re in an environmental crisis, not just locally, but across the globe. I’m failing to see in a very conclusive way the urgency… When we’re looking at the balancing act, I’m not convinced that this is the way forward. I think we can do a better job leading on this front. I’m not convinced that this is going to jeopardize economic development — in fact, there are some really good arguments in the alternative.”
For more information on how Ontario can avoid the need for new gas plants and lower its electricity bills, please click here.
What you can do
Please contact Prime Minister Trudeau and ask him to establish federal Clean Electricity Regulations that will prohibit the building of Capital Power’s proposed new gas plant and require Ontario to phase-out gas power by 2030.
Send your message here