The IESO is planning to contract for more gas-fired power
Ontario Energy Minister, Todd Smith
By Angela Bischoff, Director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance
This fall, Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is planning to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for 75O megawatts (MW) of generation commencing in 2026. The purpose of this RFP is to allow the IESO to re-contract with gas-fired power plants in Mississauga, Windsor and Sarnia whose existing contracts expire before May 1, 2026.
In addition, the IESO is planning to hold a capacity auction on Dec. 1, 2021 that will likely result in it acquiring more gas-fired power to meet our peak hour electricity needs during the summer of 2022 and the winter of 2022-23.
The proposed capacity auction and RFP are the next steps in the IESO’s plan to increase the output of Ontario’s gas plants by more than 300% by 2030 and by 500% of more by 2040.
The IESO’s plan is environmentally and economically reckless. It will mean turning back close to 40% of the greenhouse gas emission reductions we achieved by phasing out coal and missing our already inadequate provincial climate targets.
Instead of moving Ontario backwards by increasing our dependence on fracked gas, the IESO should reduce our greenhouse gas pollution, create good jobs, and lower our energy costs by investing in zero emission technologies as recommended by the International Energy Agency and 30 Ontario municipalities that represent more than 50% of Ontario’s population.
Specifically, the IESO should procure 100% of the additional electricity it believes we need from zero emission options like energy efficiency, demand response, wind and solar energy, vehicle to grid integration (V2G), storage and Quebec waterpower.
We need strong political leadership to turn the IESO around!
In March 2001, then Minister of the Environment, Elizabeth Witmer, initiated Ontario’s coal phase-out by directing Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to shut down its Lakeview coal-fired power plant in Mississauga. One year later, when Ms. Witmer was Deputy Premier in the Ernie Eves government, the government made a commitment to phase-out all of our dirty coal plants by 2015. As a result, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in the world to phase-out coal-fired electricity to achieve public health and environmental goals.
Ontario’s new Minister of Energy, Todd Smith, should follow his predecessor’s lead and take the next step to clean-up Ontario’s electricity grid by directing the IESO to use its Fall 2021 RFP and December 2021 capacity auction to purchase only zero emission resources to meet our incremental electricity needs.
Please click here to ask Energy Minister Todd Smith to be a climate leader by directing the IESO to use its RFP and capacity auction to move Ontario towards a zero-emissions electricity grid, not increased dependency on climate harming fracked gas.