November 30, 2010
“The McGuinty Liberals are sacrificing cost-efficient options such as conservation, emerging renewable technologies, and cogeneration for nuclear power,” said Tabuns. “The McGuinty government says its plan is about creating a clean and healthy future for families, but it is really about dumping a legacy of nuclear debt and radioactive waste on future generations.”
– Peter Tabuns, NDP Energy Critic in reference to the McGuinty’s new energy plan
30 second Action 1: Do you support the Liberals's nuclear expansion plans? Vote in Now Magazine's poll. http://now.uz/dONlQq
30 second Action 2: Click here to send an email to Premier McGuinty. Congratulate him on speeding up the coal phase-out, but please also tell him that you don’t want Ontario to spend $83 billion or more on risky nuclear. Tell him that we can keep our lights on at a lower cost with a combination of energy conservation and efficiency, water power from Quebec and small-scale, high-efficiency combined heat and power plants.
Thank you for helping shift Ontario’s energy policy.
The McGuinty Government released their new 20-year electricity plan today. This plan is a big slice of “Back to the future” with a major emphasis on costly, risky and completely unnecessary nuclear projects.
Here are its key features:
The good news: The Government of Ontario is speeding up the coal phase-out.
These are important steps in the right direction given that Ontario has more than enough generation available to end coal use now.
Ontario’s demand for electricity has fallen by 7% since 2006, yet our electricity consumption per person is still 35% higher than New York State’s. But instead of ramping up conservation efforts to cut waste and improve efficiency, the McGuinty plan calls for a massive supply increase – Ontario’s total electricity generation capacity in 2030 (40,900 MW) will be 63% greater than our peak demand in 2010. Apparently, the Premier has little faith in his government’s ability to truly create “a culture of conservation.”
According to the McGuinty Plan, wind, solar and bio-energy will provide Ontario with 15% of its electricity supply in 2030, up from up from 3% today.
New Peaker Plant for Kitchener-Waterloo
The McGuinty Plan calls for the construction of a large new, inefficient gas-fired peaker plant in Kitchener-Waterloo despite the fact that the region’s electricity needs can be met at a much lower cost with an integrated combination of energy efficiency, demand response and combined heat and power. Will it be Oakville all over again?
Combined Heat and Power
The McGuinty Plan directs the Ontario Power Authority to establish a combined heat and power (CHP) standard offer program for projects of 20 MW or less. However, new CHP procurement is capped at approximately 500 MW despite the fact that its cost per kWh is less than one-third that of new nuclear and Ontario’s total CHP potential is greater than 11,000 MW. Why are we artificially capping cleaner, safer power sources?
The McGuinty Government’s plan will double residential hydro bills over the next 20 years to pay for high-cost new nuclear power. This doesn’t make sense. Ontario’s electricity needs can be met at a much lower cost with an integrated combination of energy conservation and efficiency, water power imports from Quebec, and small-scale, high-efficiency combined heat and power plants.
Review the gov’t’s proposal here, and then submit your comments by clicking on the “submit comment” button on the right. Deadline for comments is Jan 7, 2011. All comments will be considered as part of the decision-making process by the Ministry of Energy.
The McGuinty government is low-balling the cost of modernizing Ontario’s fleet of nuclear reactors, critics say, calling into question its own projection that consumers’ hydro bills will double by 2030. The government pegs the cost of building two new reactors and refurbishing 10 existing units at $33-billion in its long-term energy plan released on Tuesday. But opposition members and industry observers said the figure is not realistic. For starters, they said, the government shelved a deal to build two reactors last year, citing the exorbitant price tag of $26-billion. As well, they said, the refit of two mothballed reactors at the Bruce Power nuclear station on Lake Huron is now likely to be $4.8-billion, $2-billion more than the original estimate.
Jack Gibbons, chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, says that bio-mass and wind power are still likely to be less expensive than rebuilding nuclear facilities, although conservation and efficiency are the best ways to solve energy issues.
But he said in an interview that Quebec produces huge amounts of renewable power from its hydro-electric plants: “In terms of new renewable, water power imports from Quebec are lower cost than any of the made in Ontario options.” That would have to be negotiated with Quebec, but Gibbons says Ontario should take the initiative. “It’s low-cost, it’s very reliable, it’s a base load supply of power, it’s not intermittent,” he said.
This week’s release of Ontario’s long-term electricity plan raises anew the debate about coal and renewables’ impact on health and the environment. But in the midst of this ruckus, there’s an often-missed and very important distinction to be made: Coal plants are inherently harmful while wind turbines are not.
A speedy end to coal would be Ontario’s gift to the world, the single largest GHG reduction project in North America and a powerful precedent capable of pushing other jurisdictions into action.
For all his flaws, Adam Beck built an engineering marvel at Niagara which has produced pristine, 24/7 power since 1921. Some fought that project fiercely. Some predicted it would bankrupt the province. Rival politicians condemned it as a reckless descent into 'socialism'. Today, we can bless Beck's dynamic vision. It brought Ontario the cheapest, cleanest, most reliable power on the Planet.
By contrast, our generation's public utility will leave behind some 40,000 tonnes of OPG nuclear wastes that will remain latently lethal for centuries, and a related fiscal time-bomb for entombing retired reactors, for which we are likely to be cursed.
If it takes investing in 21st Century green power at an added cost of a few bucks more per household each month, and sucking up our own failure to pay for past mistakes, perhaps it’s time to start paying these debts forward.
I will leave you with a final question: What do you imagine our grandchildren might implore us to do if they could?
Read the full text of this FANTASTIC speech about Ontario’s electricity history given at the Community Power Conference by Paul McKay, author of Atomic Accomplice: http://cpconference.ca/Page.asp?PageID=924&ContentID=2830
Impact on the environment, Inuit way of life and NTI policies discussed
What could Canada achieve then? Here's the jaw-dropping answer.
$30 billion in public money spent burning natural gas in the oil sands this decade could instead incentivize more than 80,000 MW of new renewable generation capacity -- about 60 per cent of all electricity sources in the country combined.
South Korea's defence minister today raised the possibility that US nuclear weapons could be deployed in his country for the first time in nearly 20 years, after it was revealed that Pyongyang had built an advanced uranium enrichment plant.
GREEN SCREENS presents:
UP THE YANGTZE
Wednesday December 1 at 7pm, FREE
National Film Board, 150 John St (at Richmond St W), Toronto
A luxury cruise boat motors up the Yangtze — navigating the mythic waterway known in China simply as “The River.” The Yangtze is about to be transformed by the biggest hydroelectric dam in history. The Three Gorges Dam - contested symbol of the Chinese economic miracle - provides the epic backdrop for Up the Yangtze, a dramatic feature documentary on life inside the 21st century Chinese dream.
Watch the trailer: http://films.nfb.ca/up-the-yangtze/
A 2010 documentary about the escalating nuclear arms race.
Thursday, December 2, 7 pm
Revue Cinema, 400 Roncesvalles Avenue (Dundas West subway station), Toronto
$10 adult or pay what you can/ $5 student or pwyc
Watch the trailer here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1572769/
This screening is a fundraiser for a local group, Seriously, Time to Stop, which is raising awareness about nuclear weapons through presentations to high school students and video contests. For more information: 416 532 5697 email@example.com
Ontario Clean Air Alliance
Tel: 416 926 1907 x 246
625 Church Street, #402
Toronto, ON M4Y 2G1
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