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Ontario takes baby steps on renewable energy instead of a big leap

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In AWARE News Network
Jan 12th, 2024
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ONTARIO CLEAN AIR ALLIANCE

Ontario takes baby steps on renewable energy instead of a big leap

For the last five years, Ontario has been treading water on renewable energy – not contracting for one kilowatt since the election of 2018 – while the rest of the world has surged forward.

Now the province says it wants to get back in the game with a target of contracting for 5,000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy capacity.

But, as with everything the Ford Government does, the devil is in the details. What the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is actually proposing is a mix of renewing contracts with existing wind and solar power facilities and contracting for some new supply.

This means that Ontario could meet its 5,000 MW target while adding only a token amount of new renewable energy to its grid.

By our calculation, the IESO could meet its target by adding just 850 MW of capacity at existing wind and solar projects. That represents a very underwhelming 10% increase in Ontario’s total wind and solar energy supplies. Meanwhile, the province continues full steam ahead with its efforts to add 1,500 MW of new gas-fired generation capacity and 6,000 MW of new nuclear capacity at the Bruce and Darlington Nuclear Stations.

We believe that rather than making a token effort to jump on the rapidly accelerating renewable energy bandwagon, the Ford Government should join with the 130 national governments, including Canada, that have endorsed the COP28 climate conference’s call for the world to triple its renewable energy generation capacity.

If Ontario tripled its solar and wind capacity, it would be able to fully phase out gas for power production by 2035 while meeting the future growth in demand for power projected by the IESO. Better yet, tripling wind and solar capacity is the lowest cost way to meet this growth in electricity demand. And instead of increasing greenhouse gas emissions with more gas burning, or waiting 15 to 25 years for new nuclear, we can reduce our climate impact now.

There is no question that tripling solar and wind in Ontario is doable. The technology is ready, the cost is attractive, and storage options are plentiful – from stationary batteries to Quebec reservoirs to using the batteries in EVs. Great Lakes offshore wind power alone could meet all of Ontario’s electricity needs.

We need a real commitment to renewable energy in Ontario – not window dressing. Please send a message to Premier Ford, Energy Minister Todd Smith, party leaders and your MPP, and tell them you want to see a tripling of wind and solar in this province by 2035.

To learn more, please click here to read our submission to the IESO.

Thank you!

Angela Bischoff, Director

P.S. We’ve moved to the Centre for Social Innovation at 192 Spadina Ave, #406, Toronto M5T 2C2

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