Society of Energy Professionals

Society of Energy Professionals

November 23, 2010 16:28 ET

Energy Professionals to Energy Minister: Let's get on with the plan!

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, Energy Editor, News Editor, Tech/Telecomm Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2010) - Ontario's Energy Professionals welcomed today's announcement by the energy minister regarding Ontario's future electricity supply.

"Clean nuclear power and hydroelectricity are the foundation of Ontario's electricity supply," said Society of Energy Professionals President Rodney Sheppard. "This announcement signals a return to rational long-term planning in the government's electricity policies."

The Minister announced today:
* 10,000MW of nuclear capacity at Bruce Power and Darlington will be refurbished by 2020 or 2025
* Ontario's hydroelectric capacity will be increased to 9,000MW by 2018
* Atikokan Generating Station will be converted to burn biomass, and Thunder Bay will be converted to natural gas, and opportunities to convert coal-fired stations to natural gas will be explored
* The province will invest $2 billion by 2017 on new transmission projects to grow renewable sources of electricity, in addition to the Bruce-Milton line

"This is going to create a lot of jobs-good jobs-for a lot of people, the kind of jobs we all want our kids to get" said Sheppard. "Now that there's a plan, let's stick to it and let the system's managers put it in place."

Sheppard also noted that the plan will be good for consumers, especially in light of recent controversy about price increases. "It'll be expensive up front, like all long-term investments. But it's actually the most cost-efficient way to provide the reliable power consumers need, and the environmental sustainability we all want."

Sheppard noted that Canada's nuclear industries employ 70,000 persons. A recent study by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters showed that Refurbishing Ontario's nuclear generators will create 25,000 more, and building new units 3,500 more. "These are knowledge-based jobs for highly-skilled, well-paid workers-scientists, engineers, very highly skilled trades, etc."

"The government's made some tough decisions here, decisions successive governments have seen fit to avoid, to the detriment of us all," said Sheppard. "This is an entirely necessary investment in our future, and, while expensive, it's worth it." He noted that nuclear operations are essentially zero-greenhouse-gas emitting; even on a life-cycle basis, including uranium extraction, processing, and transportation, nuclear power has essentially the same footprint as wind, and considerably less than solar.

The Society is especially pleased that First Nations will be encouraged to partner in new hydroelectric and transmission projects, he said. But he warned the Minister that it won't take place overnight. "We're very glad that First Nations want to partner with us, because our record with them isn't exactly spotless. But to build successful relationships we'll have to respect their cultures, their traditional knowledge, and their decision-making procedures. It may be slow, but it'll be worth it."

Sheppard called on the federal government to get its nuclear act in order. "The uncertainty around the sale of AECL has got to be resolved," he said. "By working together, Ontario could become a world hub of nuclear development, with spin-offs in R&D, partnerships with universities, exports, and on and on."

The Society of Energy Professionals represents more than 8,000 engineers, telecommunications and information technology professionals, scientists, supervisors, and others who for generations have designed, built, operated, and helped safeguard Ontario's vast electricity system. These women and men manage our electricity system and ensure our power is there when we need it, reliably and safely. The Society's members work for Ontario Power Generation, Hydro One, Bruce Power, the IESO, the OEB, the ESA and other key electricity sector employers.
/For further information: please contact Brian Robinson at (416) 716-6438 or Rod Sheppard at (416) 670-6835/ IN: ENERGY, LABOUR

Contact Information

  • Brian Robinson, Communications Officer, Society of Energy Professionals
    Primary Phone: 416-716-6438
    E-mail: brian@thesociety.ca