On October 26, the Ministry of Energy released the Ontario’s 2017 Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). While there was no mention of building new nuclear reactors, the Ontario government maintains its commitment to refurbishing ten nuclear units at Darlington and Bruce, and committing to keeping Pickering open until 2024. Absent was any discussion about nuclear waste and storage. Further committing to nuclear power is unnecessary, puts the public at risk, and the cost savings are questionable at a time when the cost of renewables continue to decrease.
Ontario also needs to continue on the path towards going 100 per cent renewable. It is encouraging that the 2017 LTEP acknowledges the work of Oxford County in going 100 per cent renewable. Ontario should continue supporting communities in becoming innovators in energy independence.
There were some encouraging commitments in the 2017 relating to suite-metering, net metering and the Fair Hydro Plan. The government is proposing that third party providers be able to own and operate net-metered renewable generation systems. Additionally, the Ontario Energy Board will be able to regulate sub-metering in multi-residential buildings and condos to ensure that fees and charges are just and reasonable. Finally, CELA supports the inclusion of the Fair Hydro Plan in the LTEP, which will continue to provide low-income, northern and rural households with assistance. It also expands the eligibility criteria for the Ontario Electricity Support Program, provides a First Nations Delivery Credit for customers living on reserves, and improves the availability of support programs to improve energy efficiency of homes.
The plan also predicts that despite demand and supply growth being projected to be relatively flat, residential electricity rates will increase by 52% over the next 18 years (from $127 in 2017 to $193 in 2035 for the average residential customers who consume 750kWh monthly). This would not be the case if Ontario decided to buy hydro power from Quebec at a fraction of the cost of refurbishing Darlington and Bruce and keeping the Pickering plant open (see options comparison prepared by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance).
Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan: Delivering Fairness and Choice can be found here.