Statement from Keith Brooks, Programs Director, Environmental Defence

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – The Ontario Ministry of Energy’s hydrogen announcement this morning is truly ridiculous. The ministry’s plan is nothing but an elaborate scheme to greenwash its efforts to ramp up polluting gas generation across the province. Their plan is to turn clean, hydro power from Niagara Falls into hydrogen, transport it by truck over 100 kilometres to Halton Hills  only to blend it with gas to generate electricity. 

It’s hard to imagine a better way to make clean electricity dirty. 

This will not bring the plant anywhere close to net zero. Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is planning to blend in hydrogen at a maximum rate of 15 per cent on a volume basis.  But hydrogen is less energy dense, so the effective blending ratio is even lower. This hydrogen plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by just 2.2 per cent. And that is in OPG’s best case scenario. Furthermore, OPG itself admits that the technology to fully convert gas plants to 100 per cent hydrogen doesn’t exist. 

This is more wasteful spending from the Ontario government. Add this $4.1 million  to the $231 million wasted in canceling green energy projects in 2019 and the billions this government is planning to waste by contracting new gas plants that will have to close in 2035 due to incoming Federal regulations. Additionally, Ontario ratepayers will have to pay hundreds of millions to these plants even after they are effectively shuttered because of directions given by the Minister of Energy. 

It’s not a coincidence that this proposal comes at the exact moment Ontario is seeking to gain community support for new gas plants. Atura Power is desperately seeking community resolutions in Napanee and Halton Hills in the coming weeks. The Minister of Energy has said that communities must give their blessing in order for new gas plants to get contracts. This announcement is, in no doubt, intended to influence that vote in Halton Hills. 

This isn’t energy innovation. It’s overly complicated “Rube Goldberg” energy planning from this government. 

It’s time for Ontario to stop wasting our money, stop playing pretend on climate and actually build some clean energy like wind and solar.

ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE ( 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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