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Is the IESO ready to get serious about phasing out gas power?

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In Community news
Oct 23rd, 2021
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By Angela Bischoff, Director of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Yesterday the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) acknowledged, in a follow-up to its recent report on the feasibility of a gas-fired electricity phase-out, that it has significant work to doWe couldn’t agree more and we thank Energy Minister Todd Smith for directing the IESO to come up with a plan for a full phase-out of fossil gas power.

To do this well, the IESO needs to remove its blinkers and examine options like using Quebec’s reservoirs to convert our wind and solar energy into firm 24/7 sources of baseload electricity. That means actually sitting down with their colleagues from Hydro Quebec to get a much clearer understanding of the power and storage options Quebec can provide.

It will also require looking much more closely at the synergistic benefits of combining renewable energy, conservation and efficiency, and electric vehicle storage instead of looking at each of these options in isolation. As the IESO staff themselves acknowledged, the world of energy is undergoing rapid change. The agency’s thinking needs to catch up.

Once again, the IESO ignored its own plans to ramp-up gas-fired power and greenhouse gas pollution by 500% or more by 2040, but this plan is a huge threat to achieving Ontario’s climate targets and must be stopped.

The IESO must immediately take the necessary actions to return our gas plants’ pollution to their 2017 levels ASAP as requested by Ontario’s municipalities.

The IESO can achieve this goal by taking the following three actions:

1.     Tripling our imports of low-cost Quebec water power using our existing transmission lines;

2.     Banning gas-fired electricity exports to the U.S.; and

3.     Buying all the energy savings and wind and solar energy that can keep our lights on at less than today’s price of nuclear energy (9.6 cents per kWh).

What you can do

Please contact Energy Minister Smith and ask him to direct the IESO to return the gas plants’ pollution to their 2017 level ASAP; and to achieve a complete gas plant phase-out by 2030.

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