McGuinty energy plan: Wrong direction for Ontario - The world's biggest nuclear building boom

    TORONTO, Aug. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The future of green energy in Ontario is
in peril, says Greenpeace in response to the release of the McGuinty
government's final detailed electricity plan, which depends on a massive
expansion of nuclear power.
    "This is Dalton McGuinty's legacy-the biggest nuclear building boom in
the world," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil, energy campaigner with Greenpeace
Canada. "Ontario will be a world leader in 1970s nuclear technology in 2025,
and a green power laggard."
    The 20-year electricity plan, released today by the Ontario Power
Authority (OPA), follows the directives given to the agency by the McGuinty
government in June 2006. Central to the plan is building an astonishing
14,000 megawatts (MW) of new nuclear capacity worth $46 billion. Currently,
there is only 17,000 MW of nuclear generation under actual construction in the
world today.
    Greenpeace is outraged that the McGuinty government has limited the
long-term development of new low-impact renewable energy in Ontario to less
than 5,000 MW, in order to ensure there is demand for electricity from nuclear
plants when they come online in 2018-2019. The OPA confirmed in its media
briefing that the plan does not even include Ontario's abundant offshore wind
capacity.  Worse, the plan actually reduces the amount of wind generation in
the electricity mix, as compared to the OPA's own November 2006 plan.
    "The McGuinty plan is ass-backward. It considers clean energy a last
resort and nuclear mega-projects a priority," said Stensil. "This is not the
type of plan Ontarians want."
    Stensil noted that even the OPA doubts the viability of its plans. The
OPA outlines a scenario in which Pickering B's four nuclear reactors are not
rebuilt due to high cost. Instead of ramping up conservation, renewable energy
and local generation to replace the reactors when they shut down in 2014, the
OPA proposes to increase generation at large gas plants to fill the gap. The
more likely scenario, however, is that coal power plants would continue to run
in what amounts to a planned failure of the coal phase-out by 2014.
    "Waiting for nuclear plants to be built 10 or 15 years from now is a
dangerous distraction from lowering greenhouse gas emissions," said Stensil.
"Conservation, renewable energy and local generation are cleaner and quicker
to deploy than nuclear mega-projects, and they will be a lot easier on our
wallets and our environment."

For further information:

For further information: Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Greenpeace energy
campaigner, (416) 884-7053; Joslyn Higginson, Greenpeace energy consultant,
(416) 996-5679

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