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Ontario doubles down on climate denial

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In Blog
Dec 3rd, 2023
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Ontario doubles down on climate denial

The Ford Government is making it clearer than ever that it has no interest in addressing climate change, despite record global temperatures and a summer of fires that blanketed much of this province in choking smoke.

Using the “Independent” Electricity System Operator (IESO) to defend the province’s commitment to burning more gas, the Ford government is pushing the federal government to water down its draft Clean Electricity Regulations by extending the 2035 deadline for phasing out gas plants.

If the federal government were to accept the province’s position, the existing Portlands and Halton Hills gas plants in the GTA would be able to operate at full capacity until 2039 and 2040 respectively. And Ontario’s third-largest gas-fired power plant, the 900 MW Napanee Generating Station, could operate at full capacity until 2050!

This is what climate change denial looks like. And it is sadly being embraced by an agency that has blindly dug in on the idea that the only way to address peak demand in summer months is by firing up gas plants.

The IESO’s favourite contention is that nothing can replace the services provided by the gas plants.

It is a statement that has been undercut by study after studyjurisdiction after jurisdiction.

There are, of course, any number of ways to deal with these short-lived spikes in electricity demand while avoiding increased climate damage and air pollution: Paying consumers and businesses to shift demand to off-peak periods, relying more on solar energy that peaks on hot summer days, importing surplus waterpower from Quebec (whose system peaks in winter), or storing power in anything from EV batteriesQuebec reservoirs or compressed air storage are a few. We could even lift the pointless moratorium on offshore wind power in the Great Lakes, a resource that could meet this province’s entire electricity demand.

But if all you can think about is gas plants, keeping these polluting giants running on our worst air quality days is the answer you keep coming up with.

With more and more municipalities sensibly saying “no thanks” to gas burning in their communities, the IESO’s response is to commit to actively lobbying municipalities with more misleading statements and fearmongering, while our publicly owned utility – Ontario Power Generation – dangles fat cheques for municipalities that will support its outdated vision of a high-cost gas & nuclear future that is completely out of step with the rest of the world.

Of course, the federal draft regulations already contain a provision to allow all of Ontario’s gas plants to be used in emergency situations post 2035. This is a sensible compromise that simply isn’t good enough for a provincial government that wants unfettered gas burning despite the health and climate costs.

Please send a message to the CEO of the IESO and ask her to get polluting gas out of our electricity system.

Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Director

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