TORONTO, Dec. 20, 2016 /CNW/ - The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) and its partners have released a report on Ontario's electricity system – titled 'Ontario's Long-Term Energy Plan: Understanding Carbon Emissions, the Role of Nuclear and Electricity Trade with Quebec' – which finds nuclear energy is a critical source of reliable electricity to maintain system reliability, achieve climate change targets and enabling electricity trade with Quebec.
"The ongoing Life-Extension Program at Bruce Power, refurbishment at Darlington and the operation of Pickering to 2024 are the necessary and most affordable first steps in a shift towards an electricity system that will be increasingly dependent on nuclear generation and increased nuclear capacity as a source of safe, reliable and low-cost power for decades," said Mark Fisher, CGLR President and CEO. "The report summarizes the important role nuclear energy will continue to play in providing clean, low-cost electricity for Ontario families and businesses now and over the long term and also supporting Quebec's energy needs in the winter when they are often short of power."
The CGLR report is based on studies conducted in 2016 by Strategic Policy Economics (Strapolec Inc.), which examined future electricity demand in Ontario, as well as the options for meeting this demand in a cost-effective and environmentally prudent manner. One area the report focused on was interprovincial sharing of electricity between Ontario and Quebec.
"The report finds that imports from Quebec and the development of new hydro options are complementary to, but not a substitute for, a continued commitment to nuclear in Ontario," Fisher said. "Quebec currently has no excess winter supply available for export and will have little surplus capacity to share within the next 10 years, so increasing trade with Quebec as a substitute for clean, emissions-free generation within the province should be focused in the summer months as outlined in recent announcements."
The report highlights that both provinces meet their respective peak supply needs with fossil-fired generation and the need to reduce this to achieve climate change targets. The electricity swap arrangement recognizes both provinces can have greater electricity trade when their respective markets are short of electricity.
In addition to the low-cost electricity the long-term investment programs underway across Ontario's nuclear fleet will provide, there is also a benefit derived from the avoided costs of carbon pricing by using clean nuclear. In fact, between 2017 and 2064 – the estimated end-of-life of the Bruce Power units – clean nuclear, when compared to alternatives, will avoid between $12 billion and $63 billion in carbon costs that ratepayers would have to fund if this output was replaced by fossil fuels, the report also outlines.
"Through the refurbishment at Darlington and Life-Extension Program at Bruce Power, as well as operating the Pickering station until 2024 as previously planned, the region will continue to benefit from low-cost, clean and reliable power for generations while supporting economic growth and job creation over the coming decades," Fisher said.
The combination of announcements made over the last twelve months, and reinforced in the Speech from the Throne, to life extend Bruce Power's units, refurbish Darlington and operate Pickering to 2024, combined with the announcement recently with Quebec, demonstrate a strong link between the two provinces to build on the strengths of both jurisdictions in a practical way, while maintaining system reliability.
The CGLR partnered with the Power Workers' Union, the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries, Hydrogenics, PowerStream, Plug 'n Drive and Bruce Power on the report.
SOURCE Council of the Great Lakes Region
For further information: Mark Fisher, President and CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region, (613) 668-2044; Marc Brouillette, Principal Consultant, Strategic Policy Economics Inc., www.strapolec.ca, (416) 564-4185