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Quebec moves forward while Ontario races backwards

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In Blog
Nov 7th, 2023
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Ontario Clean Air Alliance

Quebec understands something Ontario doesn’t: How to build a modern energy system.

Our neighbours to the east have just announced they are going to meet 100% of their future electricity needs by investing in energy efficiency and renewables (wind, solar, waterpower and biogas).

Hydro Quebec will provide its customers with financial incentives to cover up to 50% of the cost of high-efficiency equipment such as heat pumps, smart thermostats and water heater controls. In addition, it will procure 10,000 megawatts of new wind power generation by 2035.

This is a plan that recognizes where the world is going: Toward highly efficient, zero-carbon systems that meet our needs while reducing our climate impacts. Ontario, meanwhile, blunders along with a plan to ramp up the use of polluting gas power by 700% by 2043 and build 8,000 MW of new, high-cost nuclear generation.

The Ford government, while enthusiastically endorsing the multi-billion-dollar pipe dreams of the fossil gas and nuclear industries, has refused to invest in lower cost and ready-to-deploy renewable technologies like wind and solar.

In many ways, Quebec is already ahead of the curve with the work it has done in creating a community-based power system in Lac-Mégantic. This town knows better than most the costs of fossil fuel dependence, having seen its downtown consumed by an oil train fireball in 2013.

As reported in the Energy Mix, the town is now home to “2,200 solar panels generating 800 kilowatts of power, 700 kilowatts of battery energy storage, a centralized control system, energy management tools, and a bidirectional electric vehicle charging station.” The Lac-Mégantic micro-grid is capable of islanding, or disconnecting and operating independently of Hydro-Quebec’s main power grid should there be a grid outage. Conversely, it allows Lac-Mégantic to supply its surplus power to the provincial grid.

While Quebec prepares for the future of energy, Ontario races toward the past to increase the profits of our three largest energy utilities: Ontario Power Generation, Enbridge Gas and Bruce Power.

This will be costly in many ways for the people of this province. First it will mean higher electricity bills as Ontario wastes money on high-cost fossil gas and new nuclear reactors instead of investing in lower cost renewable energy, efficiency and storage.

Second, it will make Ontario a less attractive location for businesses looking for affordable zero-carbon power.

Third, it will lead to more smog and climate damaging pollution.

Maybe it is time for Ontario to take a long hard look at what our neighbours are doing.

Please pass this message on to your friends. Thanks!

Angela Bischoff, Director
Ontario Clean Air Alliance

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