Citing a surplus of power, the Wynne government pulled the plug Tuesday on its Large Renewable Procurement (LRP) process for acquiring wind and solar power at highly competitive prices.
But what the Minister of Energy didn’t mention was that the reason we have a glut of power is the government’s insistence on keeping high-cost nuclear plants running despite plenty of better options.
The Pickering Nuclear plant is an excellent case in point. Our new factsheet shows that Pickering’s power is just not needed. Almost half of the power the station produces is exported, often at a loss. The rest can easily be replaced with lower cost water power from Quebec, energy efficiency improvements, Ontario green power or some combination of all three. This is true even if one or more of the aging Darlington reactors are shut down for re-building.
Pickering’s power it is also more costly than these other options. Just last week, Ontario Power Generation was at the Ontario Energy Board seeking a 180% increase in the price it is paid for nuclear power. Water power from Quebec and energy efficiency savings are both substantially cheaper than power from Pickering today. Meanwhile, power from renewable sources just gets cheaper and cheaper, with wind power already more economical than power from Pickering (based on the last LRP round’s prices) and solar likely to be competitive in the near future.
What our factsheet makes clear is that there is no excuse for continuing to run a 45-year-old nuclear plant surrounded by two million people beyond its design lifetime. And now OPG is applying for a licence to run the station for another decade. This is not only reckless – it is economically backward because it is only going to lead to electricity bills going up and up, not down.
Please click here to sign our petition to close the Pickering Nuclear Station in 2018 when its licence expires.