Greenpeace Canada

Greenpeace Canada
The Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute
Sierra Club of Canada

September 13, 2007 12:05 ET

WWF-Canada: Electricity Plan Will Short-Circuit All Parties' Climate Goals: Environmentalists

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 13, 2007) - Today, environmentalists said that the electricity plan submitted to the Ontario Energy Board two weeks ago will not achieve the level of greenhouse gas reductions necessary for any of the four major parties to achieve the climate change targets they've put into their platforms. The groups, who have put forward an alternative plan, have written to party leaders challenging them to tell voters what they would do to improve the plan so that their own climate goals can be met.

"We can keep the lights on without frying the planet," said Keith Stewart of WWF-Canada. "But the plan that is on the table today won't get the job done, so we are asking all of the parties what they would do to fix it."

Phasing out Ontario's coal plants is expected to provide the largest share of greenhouse gas reductions in the near future. The Ontario Government's 2007 Action Plan on Climate Change relies on the coal phase-out to provide at least 44% of greenhouse gas reductions by 2014 and at least 29% of reductions by 2020.

Yet according to the analysis in the Renewable is Doable report commissioned by WWF-Canada and the Pembina Institute, greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector in 2020 will be almost twice what the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) is forecasting. The report laid out a strategy based on pursuing all cost-effective conservation and a greater share of renewable energy that would ultimately cost consumers 11% less than the OPA Plan, and have half of its greenhouse gas emissions.

"Unfortunately the OPA plan is low-balling the real potential for renewable energy and energy efficiency to meet Ontario's electricity demand", says Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director with the Pembina Institute. "The nuclear-centred OPA plan precludes the opportunity to deploy clean renewable technology now and begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions today".

"Nuclear power is a dangerous distraction that won't shut down coal for years to come," said Shawn-Patrick Stensil of Greenpeace Canada. "If politicians are serious about shutting down coal they'll commit to clean, modern energy solutions that can be deployed today to shut down coal."

"Ontario is at an energy crossroads. We can invest in conservation and renewable electricity generation or nuclear," said Dan McDermott, Ontario Chapter Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. "There simply isn't enough money available to do both."

A copy of the letter to the party leaders, which explains how the calculations were done, is available at www.wwf.ca.

September 13, 2007

The Honourable Dalton McGuinty,
Leader of the Ontario Liberal Party

John Tory,
Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party

Howard Hampton,
Leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party

Frank De Jong,
Leader of the Green Party of Ontario

Dear Sirs:

Each of your parties has made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario from 1990 levels(1). As you are aware, phasing out coal in the electricity sector will be at the centre of any plan to achieve these targets in the short-and medium-term, because that is where reductions can be most quickly achieved. For example, the Ontario Government's 2007 Action Plan on Climate Change(2) relies on the electricity sector providing at least 44 per cent of greenhouse gas reductions by 2014 and at least 29 per cent of reductions by 2020, while the NDP's plan(3) forsees the electricity sector providing 49.5 per cent of reductions by 2012.

Unfortunately, the 20-year electricity plan(4) that has been submitted to the Ontario Energy Board will not achieve the level of reductions required to accomplish the climate goals that any of your parties have set for yourselves. According to the analysis in the Pembina Institute / WWF-Canada Renewable is Doable report(5), greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector in 2020 will be almost twice what the OPA is predicting(6).

The Renewable is Doable plan, on the other hand, would achieve greenhouse gas emissions in 6 - 7 megatonnes range in 2020 that are necessary to achieve your climate targets. By making smart, targeted investments in a diverse array of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, we can phase out coal by 2012 at the latest (rather than 2017, as is the most likely result of the current Plan) and achieve a 50 per cent reduction in climate change-causing pollution over the next twenty years relative to the current OPA Plan(7). The Renewable is Doable package also results in electricity costs that are 11 per cent lower than the OPA's Plan, while reducing Ontario's exposure to the unique financial, health, ecological and security risks associated with nuclear power.

This is realistic. According to the documents they have submitted to the Ontario Energy Board, the Ontario Power Authority's (OPA) Integrated Power Supply Plan pursues only 65 per cent of the conservation potential that they have identified as cost-effective and achievable, and caps renewable energy development at the minimum level of 15,700 megawatts. The filing asserts that the OPA will not consider going above this level for renewable power and ends all investment in new wind power and biomass in 2020 - seven years before the end of the Plan - in order to leave space for new nuclear power stations.

The question that we put to you is: If elected, will you direct the Ontario Power Authority to amend its Integrated Power Supply Plan to pursue the full conservation potential it has identified and to more aggressively pursue renewable power options in order to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction commitments made by Canada and your party?



Julia Langer, Director, Global Threats WWF-Canada

In cooperation with Greenpeace-Canada, the Pembina Institute, and the Sierra Club of Canada, Ontario Chapter.


(1) The following table is based on Party platforms and official statements:
Liberals Conservatives NDP Green
Climate targets - Kyoto (6%) - 10% by 2020. - Kyoto (6%) - Kyoto (6%)
(greenhouse gas by 2014. - 60% by 2050. by 2012. by 2010.
reductions from - 15% below - 25% by - 25% by 2020.
1990 levels) 1990 by 2020. 2020. - 50% by 2030.
- 80% by 2050. - 70% by 2040.
- 80% by 2050.

(2) Ontario Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets: A Technical Brief (Monday, June 18, 2007), available at www.gogreenontario.ca.

(3)Now or Never: NDP Plan to Meet Kyoto and Fight Global Warming, released September 6, 2007.

(4) Also known as the Integrated Power Supply Plan, and available at http://www.powerauthority.on.ca/IPSP.

(5) See www.renewableisdoable.ca for details.

(6) The OPA's Preliminary Plan predicted greenhouse gas emissions of less than 7 megatonnes in 2020 (the government used the Preliminary Plan's predictions in developing their climate plan and the final IPSP submitted to the Ontario Energy Board is virtually identical to the Preliminary Plan).

To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent of all of the non-coal emissions (i.e. from natural gas and oil used to generate electricity) in 2004, and one fifth of all greenhouse gas emission from the electricity sector in 2004 (once coal is included). So, in essence, the OPA is predicting that they will build a large number of gas-fired generating stations yet emissions from gas plants will go down relative to the 2001 - 2004 period.

One of the key drivers of this reduction is the assumption of a 20% improvement in the performance of Ontario's existing nuclear fleet relative to the historical average since 1971. When we modeled the sector for Renewable is Doable, we used the historic capacity factor for nuclear performance, with the shortfall being made up for with greater usage of coal and gas plants (as has happened since 8 reactors were closed in the 1995-1997 period. This resulted in predicted emissions of over 12 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. We believe that the assumption of no improvement in performance seems much more realistic, given that the two refurbished reactors at the Pickering A station have been off-line since early June and the plants are more likely to have unplanned outages as they age.

(7) Over the next 20 years, the OPA Plan will result in 383 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, whereas the Renewable is Doable 'Soft Green' package would result in only 192 megatonnes.

WWF-Canada is a federally registered charity (no. 11930 4954 RR0001), and an official national organization of World Wide Fund For Nature, headquartered in Gland, Switzerland. WWF is known as World Wildlife Fund in Canada and the US.

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