On October 26, Ontario’s Minister of Energy released the 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan – Delivering Fairness and Choice, an update of previous versions in 2010 and 2013. Clean Energy Canada states “Ontario’s long-term energy plan provides more direction than details, but it stays the course in building a modern, affordable and flexible energy system.” Others, such as the Ontario Clean Air Coalition, have concerns that the continuing commitment to nuclear power generation comes at the expense of development of renewables. While the policy seems to focus on the political task of making energy more affordable and giving consumers more energy options, some noteworthy goals relate to “ enhancing net metering by allowing more people the opportunity to produce clean energy and use it to power their homes and lower their electricity bills. ” … “Allowing utilities to intelligently and cost-effectively integrate electric vehicles into their grids, including smart charging in homes” … and increased oversight of fees charged by private providers “strengthening protection for vulnerable consumers in condominiums and apartments to protect them from energy disconnection in winter.” Key reading from the LTEP: Chapter 6 Responding to the challenge of climate change . The next step is for the Ontario Energy Board and the Independent Electricity System Operator to submit implementation plans to the Minister of Energy for approval.
The LTEP summarizes Ontario’s energy policies to date and forecasts demand for the future. For more detail and analysis on those aspects, see the CBC, or “Hydro Prices to keep rising just a bit more slowly” in the Ottawa Citizen (Oct. 26) which points out that the province is forecasting almost flat demand for electricity for the next 20 years, as conservation and efficiency savings are traded for increased demand for electric vehicles and transit. (the report assumes 2.4 million electric vehicles will be on the roads by 2035).
Controversy surrounds the role of nuclear power in the plan. The Power Workers Union, which continues to lobby for nuclear power , calls the new LTEP “good news for the environment and the economy” in their press release , stating: “Today’s latest provincial Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) confirms the pivotal role nuclear energy will play in Ontario’s clean energy future. Recognizing the significant environmental and economic benefits that this safe, reliable generation delivers, the provincial government remains committed to refurbishing all of Ontario’s publicly-owned nuclear reactors and to the four-year extension of the operations of the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station to 2024”. In contrast, the Ontario Clean Air Coalition reacted with “Ontario doubles down on obsolete nuclear – and you’re paying for it” , which states: “Ontario’s fixation with obsolete nuclear energy is to say the least puzzling, but what is clear is that this fixation is going to cost us dearly. Please sign our petition calling on Premier Wynne to make a deal with Quebec to lower our electricity costs and to open the way for a modern renewable energy system. ” In a similar vein, the David Suzuki Foundation press release states: “Ontario’s new Long-Term Energy Plan is both encouraging and worrisome. The former because it recognizes the importance of clean air and addressing climate change; the latter because of its embrace of nuclear power and its lack of a road map to expand renewable energy.” … “ the province’s continued reliance on nuclear for about half its power is troubling. In addition to concerns around uranium mining and waste disposal, nuclear has not proven to be cost-effective.”