Ontario’s Nuclear Dreams No Match For The Reality Of Falling Electricity Demand

“Oddly, the (province’s  Premier Kathleen Wynne and her Liberal) government shows no signs of recognizing the growing mismatch between its plans to spend billions of dollars on re-building aging nuclear reactors and the ever-decreasing need for the power they would produce.” – Ontario Clean Air Alliance 

A Message from the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, a province-wide citizens group based in Toronto

Posted January 22nd, 2018 on  Niagara At Large

Since 2005, demand for electricity in Ontario has been steadily falling.  In 2017, it fell a further 3.6% meaning that demand has dropped by 16% since 2005.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne would spend billions of dollars on nuclear plants like this Pickering facility on Lake Ontario when energy demand is dropping and there are other safer, greener energy alternatives.

That is the equivalent of taking 2.5 million homes off the grid –  like unplugging all the houses and apartments in the City of Toronto twice over.

Ontario is not alone in seeing a sustained drop in demand. This is a trend that has taken hold in many countries and provinces thanks to new technologies such as super-efficient LED lighting and smart controls, cost-effective energy efficiency programs, and economic changes.

In fact, reducing the need to generate electricity in the first place has become Ontario’s lowest cost way of addressing our energy needs – the province paid on average just 2.2 cents to save a kilowatt-hour of electricity in 2016.

But oddly, the Wynne government shows no signs of recognizing the growing mismatch between its plans to spend billions of dollars on re-building aging nuclear reactors and the ever-decreasing need for the power they would produce.

In fact, in order to justify continuing to operate the 47-year-old Pickering Nuclear Station – the highest cost nuclear plant in North America – the province is currently curtailing 26% of the potential annual output of our cleaner and safer wind and solar power plants.

Does it make sense to pay 7 times more to re-build aging nuclear reactors than to enhance energy efficiency? Should we rebuild nuclear reactors that have to run 24/7 when demand is falling and supply patterns are being rapidly changed by the introduction of increasingly low-cost renewable sources? These are questions the government seems determined to ignore.

Instead of simply ignoring the numbers, a far better way to act on these trends is to strike a deal with Quebec to import low-cost, flexible water power; continue to expand our cost-effective conservation programs; and embrace new renewable energy opportunities right here at home.

Please pass this message on to your friends and sign our petition to close the high-cost and unneeded Pickering Nuclear Station when its licence expires in August.

Thank you. Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director, Ontario Clean Air Alliance

To find out more about the Ontario  Clean Air Alliance and its public advocacy work, click onhttp://www.cleanairalliance.org/ ,

(A Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s apparent continued affinity for spending billions of dollars upgrading nuclear energy plants when there are safer, greener, less costly alternatives like purchasing hydro power from neighbouring Quebec and  moving forward with renewable technologies like solar and wind, as China, Germany and many other developed and rapidly developing regions are doing, is mindboggling and raises questions about what kind of secret deals she and her Liberal government have cut with the uranium industry and related businesses.

Her government’s mismanagement of the energy file in general, including the cost of electricity to consumers and all the shenanigans around closing down plans for coal-fired power plants in key Liberal ridings just before an election, may be one of the reasons for her possible undoing in this coming spring’s provincial election.)

To read another story Niagara At Large posted on this issue, click onhttps://niagaraatlarge.com/2017/12/31/ontarios-premier-defends-decision-to-opt-for-nuclear-reactors-over-water-power/ .

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders




One response to “Ontario’s Nuclear Dreams No Match For The Reality Of Falling Electricity Demand

  1. I urge anyone reading this to research the facts before responding. I think then you will discover the lies, deceptions and unsupported conclusions that are embedded in this article.

    For example Angela’s own reference, the IESO report, attributes the lower demand to 2017s wet and overcast summer, not to conservation (although that plays its part). If September’s record temperatures had hit us in August we would have had record high power demands not a reduction.

    The weather is not something I would gamble on and I certainly would not want to put the Province’s economy on this roulette table nor the lives of the people that would be threatened by a loss of power in a heat wave….especially when we expect temperatures to continue to rise.

    As to future declines in demand the Long Term Energy Plan expects reductions from efficiency to be balanced by increased demand to support electrification of things like cars. If we move to electrify heating (which we must if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) then demand could increase steeply. Or looked at another way we won’t be able to electrify heating unless we have power. So far as I can see the “Alliance” is actually lobbying against clean air!

    Also look at how they keep the cost of Pickering as an internal reference. Yes its an older less efficient plant but it is still our lowest cost emissions free option for keeping the lights on while the life of the rest of the fleet is extended.

    The comparison of the cost of new power when compared with energy efficiency is an interesting one. I agree more should be done on efficiency but the facts remains that the Government is responsible for making sure we have the power we need. You cannot do that with efficiency.

    Pickering is needed because it provides cost effective, emissions free power when we call on it. None of our other options do this.


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