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Ontario contracts for climate-wrecking gas power

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In Climate Change
May 18th, 2023
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By Angela Bischoff, Director, Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Ontario is officially getting gassier with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) announcing it is contracting for almost 600 megawatts of new gas-fired generation projects in the GTA, the Niagara peninsula, Windsor and St. Clair Township.

Despite Energy Minister Todd Smith’s clear direction that municipal approval is required for new gas-fired generation projects, the IESO has approved plans to expand the Goreway (Brampton), Halton Hills (Halton) and Portlands (Toronto) gas plants without municipal council approval. In fact, Toronto city council just passed a motion opposing any increase in gas-fired generation in the city.

The IESO has chosen the most polluting and climate damaging approach to meeting our energy needs despite having many better options. It has been obvious for quite some time that the IESO is determined to pursue greater gas use simply because it prefers to stick with an expensive gas/nuclear system rather than joining the rest of the world in aggressively pursuing energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable energy sources like wind, water and solar.

And while the IESO has finally started to acquire some energy storage resources, its big bet on gas shows that the agency really doesn’t understand where the future of energy lies. Instead of ramping up smog-causing emissions in areas like Brampton and Riverdale (Toronto), the IESO could have contracted for clean waterpower imports from Quebec, energy efficiency and demand response to meet our summer peaks – at a fraction of the financial cost of new gas-fired generation.

Please send a letter to Premier Ford, Energy Minister Todd Smith and your MPP here: tell them that you don’t support their dangerous plans to build new gas plants and ramp up greenhouse gas pollution by 700% by 2043. Please ask them to invest in the cleanest and lowest cost options to keep our lights on, namely, energy efficiency, demand response, wind, solar and waterpower.

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