The Ontario government’s recent announcement that new nuclear reactors will not be part of Ontario’s long-term electricity plan is good news for health, the environment, and the economy. We don’t need to spend over $26 billion (plus inevitable cost over-runs) when electricity demand decreased by 10% between 2005 and 2012. Building two huge, centralized base-load plants that are very difficult to turn down or off would have posed a massive disincentive to conservation. It would also be a huge burden on Ontario ratepayers for decades to come — on top of the payments we are still making for Darlington.
Instead, Ontario has a fantastic opportunity to amp up investment in the cheapest source of energy: conservation and renewables. The Province can also create a resilient, low-carbon energy system to drive the economy. This is consistent with the governments recently-announced commitment to “conservation first”.
There are numerous ways to advance conservation: codes and standards, various types of incentives, and strategic approaches to mobilizing investment in conservation. TAF has spearheaded several innovative investing methods, including the Green Condo Loan for new construction and our non-debt Energy Savings Performance Agreement (ESPA), which allows a building owner to retrofit their building without financial risk and repay the funding using energy savings.
Not putting billions into new nuclear and investing in cleaner, less centralized, and more cost-effective ways to meet Ontario’s energy needs is the smart thing for the government to do.