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Ontario will miss climate change targets without new nuclear generation, report says

The report shows that Ontario faces an electricity supply shortage and reliability risks in the next four to eight years.

August 20, 2021  by CM Staff

Ontario will not meet its climate change targets without building new nuclear generation, a new report released by the Power Workers’ Union (PWU) says.

The report, by Strategic Policy Economics (Strapolec) entitled Electrification Pathways for Ontario to Reduce Emissions, shows that Ontario faces an electricity supply shortage and reliability risks in the next four to eight years, PWU says, and will not meet net zero objectives without building new low-emission, nuclear generation starting as soon as possible.

“Since 2013, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) has been forecasting a significant gap in the province’s electricity supply due to anticipated closure of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, now scheduled for 2025,” PWU said. “The province will lose 3,000 megawatts (MW) or 15% of Ontario’s low-cost, low-carbon 24/7 electricity.”

Compounding the resulting supply gap, PWU said, the IESO has been underestimating the electricity required to reduce emissions in the transportation, building and industrial sectors. “Strapolec’s analysis indicates the electrification of the economy will increase the province’s electricity demand by 136%,” it said. “Combined, these two drivers could increase Ontario’s need for more electricity capacity by 55 gigawatts (GW) in less than 30 years. Of this, the required new incremental baseload supply is equivalent to doubling Ontario’s existing nuclear and hydro generation capacity.”

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Strapolec is a Toronto-based technology, market, and government policy consulting firm.

“This report clearly shows that Ontario cannot sustain the low-carbon status of its hydro and nuclear based electricity system, decarbonize its economy and meet its carbon reduction targets without new nuclear,” said PWU president Jeff Parnell. “Most disturbing is the fact that we are already well behind and needed to start planning for this capacity yesterday.”


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