How should Ontario deal with its energy needs?
September 25, 2007 | 10:24 AM
As the party leaders enter the third week of the election campaign, the focus is starting to shift towards keeping the lights on in the province in years to come.
Ontario currently has a generating capacity of 31,000 MW of energy, which flows from the province's 108 plants through over 29,000 km of transmission lines to power up homes and businesses.
But demand is growing at 1.5 per cent annually according to the Independent Electrical System Operator. That increase, paired with plans to close the four coal-fired power plants and the need to refurbish or replace 80 per cent of the existing plants by 2020 means energy need is quickly outpacing generating capacity.
Shortages are already being felt. On Sept. 25, six of the province's nuclear reactors were offline for maintenance, which, when paired with soaring temperatures, meant the province had to import more than 2,000 MW from the United States and Quebec.
The parties all have very different plans to keep the province powered. The Liberals plan to shut down the coal-fired plants by 2014, refurbish two nuclear reactors and promote renewable sources. Under a PC government, coal scrubbers would be installed on the four coal plants and nuclear capacity would be expanded past the two reactors already in the works.
Meanwhile, the NDP and the Greens want to stop any nuclear expansion. The NDP platform promotes energy efficiency and would see the Nanticoke plant — considered the worst polluter of the four — closed by 2011, while the Green party would close the coal-fired plants by 2009, dependant on whether consumers could reach energy reduction targets.
Read moreabout Ontario's energy crunch.
Do you think the province is facing an energy crisis? What kind of mix would you like to see for Ontario's energy future?