TIVERTON, ONT.—Yesterday marked a milestone in the revitalization of the Bruce Power nuclear complex: Unit 2 sent electricity to the Ontario power grid for the first time in almost 20 years.
“This gets us one step closer to the finish line and for the first time nearly two decades we’re in the midst of returning the site to its full operational capacity,” said Duncan Hawthorne, president and CEO. “With this project in the final stages of we can see a period of stable, steady operations ahead where Bruce Power plays a key role in keeping electricity costs low, the lights on and the air we breathe clean.”
After safety shutdown testing is conducted, Bruce Power says Unit 2 can be fully recommissioned. Unit 1 went back online in September. Soon the site will be back to its eight-unit operational capacity, producing enough electricity to power the cities of Ottawa, and London, Ont., combined.
A lot of changes have happened in Ontario’s energy industry since 1995, the last year Unit 2 was operational. In June that year, NDP leader Bob Rae was turfed from the premier’s office to make way for Progressive Conservative Mike Harris. Harris’s government was responsible for deregulating Ontario’s energy industry through the Ontario Energy Competition Act—the bill that ultimately enabled Bruce Power to lease the nuclear complex in 2001.
Two years later, Dalton McGuinty, who resigned this past Monday, led the Liberal Party to victory in Ontario. His government pledged to phase out coal power and invest in cleaner sources of energy.
“Ontario is building a modern, clean, reliable electricity system and nuclear energy is a critical part of our energy supply. Bruce Power’s revitalization program is an important step towards eliminating the use of coal-fired electricity by the end of 2014,” said Ontario Energy Minister, Chris Bentley.
At press time, figures from the Independent Electricity System Operator showed Ontario was generating 16,687 megawatts(MW) of power. Nuclear accounted for nearly 60 per cent at 9,698 MW compared to coal at just under six per cent at 941 MW. Wind produces nearly as much power for the province now as coal, at 899 MW.