Quebec electricity would save Ontario consumers $14 billion
The OCAA's newly released review of the province's Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP) points to a number of opportunities and problems:
Electricity demand down, economic growth up
Today, Ontario is producing 21% more goods and services for every kilowatt hour of electricity consumed than it was in 2005. Since the depths of the 2008-09 recession our economy has steadily recovered while electricity demand has remained largely flat. Better technology, such as LED lighting -- which has now leaped ahead of even fluorescent lighting in its energy efficiency -- computerized pumps and motors that adjust to workloads, and more efficient computer data centres are examples of the technologies driving this trend.
But Ontario continues to under invest in energy efficiency and remains fixated on spending tens of billions of dollars to re-build increasingly unnecessary nuclear reactors. For every dollar the province has budgeted for energy conservation efforts in the next six years, it is planning to spend at least $5.40 on re-building the Darlington Nuclear Station.
To learn more about these two trends, read our new factsheets:
High cost jobs
This new factsheet looks at the cost of creating jobs in the auto manufacturing sector compared to creating jobs through the rebuilding of the Darlington Nuclear Plant. For government, there is no question which approach offers greater bang for the job creation buck.
A picture is worth billions
The graph in our new factsheet explains in one image why Ontario should be pursuing water power imports from Quebec instead of re-building our aging nuclear reactors. Combined with energy efficiency, Quebec imports are far cheaper than nuclear electricity, even under Ontario Power Generation’s most optimistic estimates. Even if we lock into a long-term contract at double the spot market price for Quebec water power, we will still come out ahead by billions of dollars. It really is that simple.
Dear Mr. Clark: Avoid the OPG debt trap
Premier Kathleen Wynne has asked TD Bank President Ed Clark how the province can “optimize” assets like the LCBO and Ontario Power Generation (OPG) in order to help slay the province’s deficit. When it comes to OPG, we had a few words of advice for Mr. Clark: Stop this underperforming crown corporation from wasting more money on bloated nuclear projects. In our submission to Mr. Clark, we pointed out that all the dividends and income taxes paid by OPG and Hydro One over the last 15 years have gone to paying down the debt left by Ontario Hydro’s nuclear cost debacles instead of paying for transit, school repairs or better health care. It's time to get OPG off the nuclear debt treadmill and back to focusing on its real crown jewels: The 54 low-cost water power generating stations it inherited from the old Ontario Hydro. Read our full submission.
Greater electricity trade can help both Ontario and Quebec
Our new report makes it clear that there are enormous benefits for both Ontario and Quebec that would flow from increased cooperation on electricity. Ontario could import power from Quebec at a fraction of the cost of rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear Station. Quebec could increase both its export prices and volumes and diversify its export markets. Quebec could import Ontario wind power in winter to help meet its peak demand. Ontario could use Quebec wind and water power in summer to help meet peak demand. Both provinces will end up with lower debt thanks to either lower system costs or increased revenues. It's a win-win deal just waiting to happen.
Higher fixed charges not the answer
The Ontario Energy Board is proposing to as much as double the fixed monthly charge residential customers pay on their monthly hydro bill. Such an increase would reduce customers' incentive to use electricity efficiently by further straining the link between actual consumption and costs. Utilities can continue to maintain reliable systems without a whopping increase in the fixed monthly charge, argues our new factsheet.
Nuclear generation up, electricity costs up
The amount of power supplied by nuclear plants in Ontario has increased by 44% since 2003. Over the same period, the wholesale cost of electricity has also risen by 50% — just more evidence that high cost, high risk nuclear power is no bargain. With OPG requesting a 30% price increase for its nuclear plants, in part to start paying for the costly rebuilding of its aging Darlington Nuclear Station, there has never been a better time to negotiate a much lower cost power import deal with Quebec. In fact, a recent poll shows that Ontarians would prefer to import hydro power from Quebec than rebuild Darlington even if power from Darlington cost the same as power from Quebec!
Celebrating the coal phase out
On Feb. 27th, the OCAA was joined at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto by 300 guests to celebrate Ontario's groundbreaking coal phase out. It took 17 years and a relentless effort to eliminate the single largest source of air pollution, toxins and greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario, but we did it! At the event we presented "Clean Air and Climate Champion Awards" to Bruce Lourie, president of the Ivey Foundation, Dr. Ted Boadway from the Ontario Medical Association, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, and Premier Kathleen Wynne.. View event photos.
We also heard from Premier Kathleen Wynne, who committed to continued action to address smog and climate change.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is seeking permission from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to raise its rates for nuclear electricity by 30% in 2014. This rate increase will cost electricity consumers $755.6 million per year.Sign our petition opposing OPG's 30% rate increase request!
Clearly, OPG’s proposal to raise its rates is inconsistent with Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli’s goal of bending the cost curve down for the province’s electricity consumers. Fortunately, there are three actions that Minister Chiarelli can take to dramatically reduce our electricity rates and bills:
Read our new factsheet: Ontario Power Generation's Money Grab.
As our new pamphlet explains, importing clean hydro power from Quebec is a much cheaper way to meet our electricity needs than re-building the Darlington Nuclear Plant. Even using the most optimistic estimates for the Darlington rebuild project, power from Quebec is 50% cheaper. And Quebec has plenty of power to export. When its two latest hydro projects are completed in the near future, it will be looking to sell an additional 17 billion kWh of electricity per year.
If you think saving more than $1 billion a year on our electricity bills just makes sense, then order our new pamphlet to distribute to your friends, family and colleagues. We need to get the word out about this brighter solution to Ontario's energy needs!
Read our factsheet for more details on the great deal Quebec is offering.
Victory - Coal phase out a major climate achievement
Why Ontario needs to put conservation first (and nuclear last)
The Ontario Government has released a new Long Term Energy Plan. The good news is that plan includes a commitment to put conservation first for both electricity and natural gas in Ontario and opens the door to importing low-cost water power from Quebec. The bad news is that it continues to call for spending tens of billions of dollars on re-building unneeded nuclear reactors.
Efficient Growth: Breaking the link between economic growth and rising electricity usage
During the 20th century, economic growth in Ontario equaled growing demand for electricity. In the last seven years, however, a dramatic rise in our level of electricity productivity has led to a falling demand for electricity despite the fact that our population and economy continue to grow. And according to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), this trend is going to continue until at least 2017.
This trend makes it all the more important for Ontario to move away from large, inflexible energy mega-projects, like rebuilding the Darlington Nuclear Station, and embrace a high-efficiency future instead.
Making energy efficiency work for Ontario's economy
How Ontario can create thousands of new jobs, reduce government deficits and grow its economy by embracing energy efficiency
Read the accompanying analysis of the economic impact of increased energy efficiency produced by the Centre for Spatial Economics, one of Ontario's top economic forecasters.
Conservation vs. New Supply factsheet: This factsheet summarizes the Ontario Power Authority's spending on new supply sources compared to its spending on efficiency and conservation methods.
The case for phasing out nuclear power
OCAA Chair Jack Gibbons on how Ontario can phase out nuclear power and why we should import water power from Quebec:
OPG is seeking permission from the Ontario Energy Board to raise its rates commencing March 2011 to start paying for the Darlington Re-Build project. According to OPG, its proposal to extend the operating life of Darlington by 30 years will cost $8.5 to $14 billion. However, as this OCAA report notes, every single nuclear project in Ontario’s history has gone over budget and the actual costs of Ontario’s nuclear projects have been 2.5 times greater than the original cost estimates.
Billions still owing on debt racked up by old Ontario Hydro on costly nuclear projects
Hydro Quebec’s profits will fall by 24% and its rates will rise by 8% according to this new report released by Equiterre and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA). Having developed all of the province’s low-cost hydro-electric resources, Hydro Quebec can no longer increase its profits and lower its rates by building new low-cost hydro facilities.