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.
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.
Quebec imports can save us $1 billion per year
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.
Why Ontario needs to put conservation first (and nuclear last)
The Ontario Government is currently reviewing its Long Term Energy Plan (LTEP). Unfortunately, the discussion paper issued by the government seems to repeat the mistake of previous plans: over estimating future electricity demand while under estimating the costs of nuclear power. We need more innovative thinking about the best ways to meet our energy needs, including more community-based solutions and energy trading with our neighbours in Quebec and Manitoba to increase the efficiency of renewable power production in all provinces. Fortunately, the government has also released a discussion paper on powering up our energy conservation efforts, which will be critical to keeping electricity costs down and productivity up.
Put the hammer down: Why nuclear power is a poor fit for Ontario
Shut down Pickering!
Despite a long history of poor performance and safety concerns that led to four of its reactors being shutdown in the late '90s (with only two of these ever re-started), Ontario Power Generation wants to continue operating this station past the point where it was intended to be shutdown. Pickering is one of North America's costliest nuclear plants to operate and is located closer to a major urban centre (Toronto) than any other nuclear station in North America. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has given OPG permission to operate the plant for another five years, but it is really up the provincial government of Premier Kathleen Wynne to decide whether operating this old plant makes any sense. Sign our petition calling on Premier Wynne to make the sensible decision and order the shutdown of Pickering by 2014.
Fracked gas is not the answer
Enbridge Gas Distribution is seeking permission from the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) to build a $623.7 million natural gas pipeline in the Greater Toronto Area. This pipeline will bring gas developed through fracking — the injection of water, sand and chemicals into rock -- in areas like Pennsylvania and New York. But there is a better answer: By investing half as much in energy conservation and efficiency — including gas alternatives like geothermal and solar water heating -- Enbridge could save its customers $1.4 billion per year while cutting dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and making its pipeline system safer by lowering pressure during peak periods.
Submissions to the OEB
Council of Canadians submissions
Green Energy Coalition (David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club of Canada, Greenpeace, WWF) submissions:
Trans Canada Pipelines submission:
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.
A 7 point energy plan for Premier Wynne
The OCAA has seven ideas for how Premier Wynne can remake Ontario’s electricity system as a lean and efficient service machine. The seven points range from reducing peak demand by increasing participation in the underused peaksaver program to increasing use of combined heat and power technology. These seven steps are the key to unlocking both cost savings and increased productivity in Ontario and we hope the Premier will act on each and every one of them.
Our new report outlines how by shutting down dirty coal plants today and phasing out the expensive and aging Pickering Nuclear Station, Ontario can save more than a billion dollars on its annual electricity bill. With a large electricity generation surplus, this is the perfect time to get rid of these money losing plants and start down the road to a clean, green future.
Update: The Ontario Government has announced it will close all major coal plants in 2013!
Ontario can reap multi-billion dollar electricity savings: Ontario's electricity bills can be reduced by $1.7 billion to $9.1 billion per year by 2030 by importing water power from Quebec and investing in energy efficiency and natural gas-fired combined heat and power plants instead of continued wasteful spending on nuclear power. Read all about it in OCAA’s new report: Energizing the Drummond Report: How Ontario can reap multi-billion dollar electricity savings.
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 our nuclear power
OCAA Chair Jack Gibbons on how Ontario can phase out nuclear power:
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
The Ontario Government has announced that is moving up the deadline for phasing out coal burning to 2013. All units at the giant Nanticoke plant in Southern Ontario will be closed by the end of this year. Coal burning has already ceased at the Lambton plant near Sarnia (closed in October) and the Atikokan coal plant in northern Ontario (now converted to biomass), while the Lakeview coal plant, once the largest air polluter in the GTA, was demolished in 2006. Two units at a small plant in Thunder Bay will remain available for use until the end of 2014, but will probably see little if any actual coal burning given the large surplus of hydroelectricity in this region.
This is a huge victory for the people of Ontario, representing the largest single greenhouse gas emissions reduction action in North America and the elimination of a huge source of smog and toxic emissions. The Ontario Clean Air Alliance led the fight for the coal phase out and said it could be done ahead of the government's official deadline of Dec. 31, 2014. Now, we are working to ensure that Ontario builds a clean and green energy future. Please support one of the most effective clean energy champions in Ontario!
Ontario will breathe better without coal!
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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.