Toronto | Traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Chippewas and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – In the midst of climate catastrophes across Canada and around the world, it’s unfathomable for a government agency to be recommending the construction and recontracting of polluting gas plants to generate electricity, especially when we have countless renewable alternatives.
Already greenhouse gas emissions from Ontario’s gas plants are set to increase by almost 400 per cent by 2030 and by more than 600 per cent by 2040 (compared to the 2017 level). Extending existing gas plant contracts and procuring additional gas plants will add to the skyrocketing emissions from the electricity sector, at a time when emissions need to be brought way down.
While it’s true that electricity demand is growing, it’s simply not the case that Ontario needs additional gas plants to meet its energy needs. There are a myriad of renewable options, storage technologies, and local distributed energy opportunities that could provide cheap and reliable electricity for the whole province.
Wind and solar are the cheapest forms of new electricity generation. With natural gas prices skyrocketing and prone to continued volatility, we’re much better off building and using renewable energy which is more financially stable and affordable for the end consumer.
Electrification in all sectors is essential in order for Ontario to decarbonize its economy. But if we don’t have a clean electricity supply, then we aren’t actually decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
If Ontario continues to expand fossil gas use, the province will no longer be able to claim a relatively clean energy grid. Ontario will also lose the interest of businesses which want to use clean electricity, struggle to meet the province’s own emissions reduction targets, and will be left with stranded assets as the global norm turns to renewables.
ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE (environmentaldefence.ca): Environmental Defence is a leading Canadian environmental advocacy organization that works with government, industry and individuals to defend clean water, a safe climate and healthy communities.
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For more information or to request an interview, please contact: Allen Braude, Environmental Defence, email@example.com