Ottawa

Ontario doesn't need planned nuclear plants: study

By counting on interprovincial energy imports, stepping renewable power generation and encouraging energy conservation, Ontario could eliminate the need for two planned new nuclear plants, two national environmental groups say.

Ontario could eliminate the need for two planned new nuclear plants by counting on interprovincial energy imports, stepping up renewable power generation and encouraging energy conservation, two national environmental groups say.

The Pembina Institute and World Wildlife Fund want to make the proposed plants an issue in this fall's election and on Wednesday opened the debate by presenting a computer modelling study showing how Ontario could meet future energy needs without the new plants and how it could shut down its two coal plants before the current 2014 deadline.

"You'd have economic incentives to get rid of your old energy pigs," said Keith Stewart, climate change campaign manager for the World Wildlife Federation. "We'd start seeing things like people having solar panels on their roofs."

The plan outlines two possible energy production scenarios for the province between 2007 and 2027,using on data from the Ontario Power Authority and U.S. and European power projects. In those scenarios, the province could:

  • Implement all conservation and efficiency resources identified by the Ontario Power Authority as cost effective and achievable.
  • Import extra hydroelectric power from Quebec and Manitoba.
  • Invest in renewable power such aswind farms, biofuel generators and solar panels.
  • Harnesswaste heat from industrial and commercial sites.
  • Cut back on power from coal, nuclear and natural gas sources.

Spokespeople for both the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Energy Association have called the plan impractical.

"The province's industrial plants, potential new automotive investments, new high tech investments, the millions of jobs these industries support — they all need to know Ontario has clean, reliable and competitively priced baseload power," said Shane Pospisil, head of the OEA, which represents companies involved in energy transmission, distribution and marketing in the province.

Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced in June 2006 that the province will likely build two new nuclear reactors. This past May, the government announced it had hired consultants to conduct a $3 million study of available nuclear reactor technology.

The Ontario election is scheduled for Oct. 10.

now