Statement from Keith Brooks, Programs Director

Toronto | Traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabeg, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat – Despite the announcement from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) that Ontario is moving ahead with contracting a new gas plant in Napanee, this represents a win for Ontarians. The IESO has come up short of its stated goal of procuring 1500 Megawatts (MW) of new polluting gas plants in the midst of a climate crisis because Ontario’s communities said “no.” This is a win for electricity ratepayers, for communities and for the climate. Natural gas fired electricity generation comes at a high cost to both the public and the environment, especially when there are cheaper and cleaner alternatives available.

The IESO’s move to contract this new gas plant is at odds with Canada’s commitment to a net-zero grid by 2035. Canada’s forthcoming Clean Electricity Regulations are expected to effectively phase out fossil fuel generation by 2035, meaning this plant will not be able to operate, though Ontarians will be forced to pay for it to sit idle. We urge the IESO to rethink this procurement and for Canada to finalize its Clean Electricity Regulations and deliver on the promise of a net-zero grid. 

Thank you to the citizens and municipal leaders in Halton Hills, Thorold and Loyalist Township for voting against gas plants. You have had a real impact on the province and Canada’s efforts to decarbonize our economy. 

Rather than building new gas plants and expanding existing facilities, Ontario needs to plan for the future and invest in affordable clean energy solutions which will reduce the province’s emissions and make electricity more affordable for people. 

Background Information:

Today’s announcement by the IESO on the Long-term Request for Proposals confirms a shortfall of almost 500 MW or ⅓ less polluting gas plants in Ontario.  

The IESO’s Procurement Acquisitions and Contracts release shows: 

    1. The IESO has offered contracts to new gas plants in Napanee, Windsor and St. Clair Township resulting in 723.5 MW of new capacity if they are all built. 
    2. Natural gas expansion of existing plants (e.g. Halton Hills, Goreway and Portlands) will result in additional 286.4 MW of gas-fired electricity capacity.  
    3. When combining the newly procured facilities coupled with the expansion of existing plants, the IESO was only able to contract 1010 MW of gas-fired capacity. 
    4. In addition to contracting new facilities, the IESO has extended the contracts for a number of gas plants, including the Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto, where opposition is growing due to plans to redevelop the Portlands area and the fact that the gas plant is running almost 21 hours a day. 

While natural gas prices have skyrocketed in the last year and will remain volatile, wind and solar are now the cheapest form of new electricity generation and offer lower rates for the consumer. Numerous reports show that Ontario can meet its growing electricity needs with renewable energy which can be combined with storage technologies that allow the energy to be used during peak demand.

Find out more about Ontario’s gas problem here:

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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For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

Tamara Latinovic, Environmental Defence,