Renewable Energy Futures for Ontario

A new study by WWF Canada and the Pembina Institute identifies electricity scenarios for Ontario that would meet future power demands without the use of nuclear power and coal, and that would generate lower emissions than the plan currently proposed by the Ontario Power Authority (OPA).

The groups provide two alternatives to the OPA’s current plan that would replace coal and nuclear capacity with renewable energy sources, resulting in a plan that is both cheaper for consumers and better for the environment, the report concludes.

The report describes four scenarios, each including conservation and demand management (CDM) and supply resources. Included are the OPA Preliminary Plan according to assumptions provided by OPA, and revised projections of the plan with what the report calls “realistic assumptions about (the impact) the cost and reliability of nuclear power will have on overall plan costs and the phase-out of coal-fired generation”.

The two alternative scenarios provided are:

  • A ‘soft green’ plan that combines CDM measures with renewable energy, and combined heat and power (CHP), along with hydro power purchases from adjacent provinces, to eliminate any new investment in new or refurbished nuclear capacity; and

  • A ‘deep green’ plan which makes “CDM and renewable energy the cornerstones of Ontario’s future power system” to greatly reduce natural gas use and phase out nuclear and coal-fired power plants more quickly.

According to the report, the cost of the ‘deep green’ plan to Ontarians “will not be significant when compared to the benefits of creating this secure, reliable and clean energy future”.

The deep green plan includes substantial use of wind power; optimization of the Ontario electricity grid around primarily decentralized power sources; eventual deployment of solar power once costs are reduced; and greater development of hydroelectric capacity, as well as interconnection with Manitoba and Quebec to allow imports of hydro power.

The information used in the reports was then taken by Portfire Associates Inc. to generate alternative electricity production and peak demand scenarios using the WADE Economic Model, a computer model developed by the World Alliance for Decentralized Energy (WADE). The results are provided in a separate report entitled Analysis and Scenario Modelling of the Ontario Power System.

Both reports and further details are available from Renewable is Doable website

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