Ontario's Green Future


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Big nuclear, big problems Doing more with less The efficiency advantage Resources

The efficiency advantage

Getting our act together - a recipe for a Green Future

There is a lot Ontario can do to reduce the climate, smog and health impact of electricity generation. And a lot of what we need is just common sense, like investing in efficiency before throwing more money at nuclear power. Here is a simple recipe for greening Ontario's electricity system.

Level the playing field

Eliminate special subsidies for nuclear power, such as the ability to pass on capital cost overruns to ratepayers and taxpayers. And make nuclear companies fully responsible for the costs of managing nuclear waste and decommissioing reactors. No other type of power producer can pass on these kinds of costs — it's time to end nuclear's free ride.

Build on success

Ontario's FIT program for renewable power has been a huge success, attracting more projects in one year than energy planning agencies projected would be available in 10. It's time to extend standard offer programs to energy efficiency and demand management programs and clean combined heat and power projects.

Take the lid off clean power

We also need to allow these programs to meet their full potential by removing caps on how much green power or efficiency we can accept.

Make nuclear the last choice, not the first

Break nuclear's monopoly by eliminating plans to reserve half of Ontario's future power supply mix exclusively for nuclear projects. Given its high costs, poor reliability and safety issues, the last thing we should do is bank on nuclear to provide the majority of our future power. Nuclear should be required to compete fairly with all other potential power sources to meet our electricity needs.

Here are some more specific recommendations for reforming Ontario's power plans:

Energy efficiency and demand management

  1. Direct the Ontario Power Authority to dramatically reduce the massive gap between its spending on new supply sources and efficiency programs and set far more ambitious annual targets for electricity conservation.

  2. Institute a Standard Offer Program for efficiency measures based on the real avoided cost of generating and transmitting more electricity and pay a premium for efficiency measures in areas where demand is growing or the transmission system is at or near capacity.

  3. Remove the existing limits on existing demand management programs (programs that pay power users to decrease or shift use during peak demand periods) and a pay a price closer to the actual cost of peak power for demand management actions. And make it mandatory to implement demand management programs (such as peaksaver) before importing dirty coal power on peak demand days.

Combined heat and power

  1. Establish a standard offer program for combined heat and power (CHP) and tri-generation plants. Such plants can help replace the need for baseload power from nuclear generating stations without requiring costly new transmission lines or radioactive waste management.

Closing the nuclear cost loopholes

  1. Eliminate the hidden subsidies for nuclear power and allow Ontario's electricity rates to reflect the real cost of producing power. This will provide a powerful incentive to increase efficiency and develop renewable power sources, while the money saved by eliminating subsidies can be used to create a consumer power rebate to protect avearage Ontarians. (For more on how Ontario can move to environmentally sound pricing, see the Ontario Clean Air Alliance report Tax Shift: Eliminating subsidies and moving to Full Cost Electricity Pricing).

Ontario's Green Future

Read the full recipe in our Ontario's Green Future report

Ontario's Green Future

We should seriously invest in energy efficiency and renewables before throwing more money at nuclear power.

Read the full recipe in our Ontario's Green Future report

Ontario's Green Future

Sign the petition for a Nuclear Cost Responsibility Act for Ontario

Every nuclear construction project in Ontario's history has gone massively over budget. And we are all on the hook for these runaway costs, paying a nuclear debt surcharge on every kilowatt of electricity we use. Renewable and natural gas generating projects are strictly prohibited from passing on cost overruns to consumers or taxpayers. It’s time to level the playing field and end nuclear’s free ride.

Read our recipe for Ontario's Green Future

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Ontario's Green Future

Ontario Clean Air AllianceThe Ontario Clean Air Alliance is a coalition of health and environmental organizations, faith communities, municipalities, utilities, unions, corporations and individuals working for cleaner air through a coal phase-out and a shift to a renewable electricity future.