TORONTO – Today, the Ontario Energy Association (OEA), released a report produced by Power Advisory LLC examining the implications for Ontarians of shutting down all of Ontario’s natural gas-fired generators by 2030.
The OEA is committed to Canada’s goal of achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050 (NZ2050). Seventy-six per cent of Ontario’s GHG emissions stem from energy use. However, only 2.3 per cent of emissions currently come from the electricity system. Therefore, the path to NZ2050 will necessarily involve a major transformation of Ontario’s energy system.
The OEA’s intention is to leverage our expertise to assist all levels of government and their agencies to find the optimal pathway to NZ2050 while ensuring that our customers maintain access to affordable and reliable energy. It is through this lens that the OEA asked Power Advisory to examine this proposal to eliminate natural gas-fired generators by 2030, which is being publicly promoted by some organizations.
The report underscores the need to maintain Ontario’s natural-gas fired generation fleet to ensure Ontario homes and businesses have a reliable electricity supply both today, and as Ontario refurbishes it’s nuclear fleet over the coming years.
The report is titled Implications of Shutting Down Ontario’s Gas-Fired Generators by 2030. It found that natural gas-fired generators, which currently provide 11,000 MW or about one third of Ontario’s generation capacity, will play an essential role over the next decade in maintaining power system reliability. Maintaining these critical facilities will avoid at least a $60 billion increase in electricity costs for residential and business electricity customers across the province.
Other key conclusions of the report include:
- No one form of alternative supply is singly capable of replacing all gas-fired generation in the next decade
- The infrastructure needed to replace the 11,000 MW of capacity currently provided by gas-fired generation does not exist today and replacing it will cost electricity customers more than $60 billion
- Replacing gas fired generators with supply from Hydro Quebec is not feasible by 2030
- Upgrading existing transmission lines will not provide enough capacity
- New transmission lines across Ontario and Quebec would be required, necessitating lead times beyond 2030
- Hydro Quebec has never offered Ontario the “firm” capacity that would be necessary to replace the role of the gas generators
- Hydro Quebec has forecasted it will have its own ‘deficit’ over the next decade, limiting the firm capacity it can offer Ontari
- Gas-fired generators will be necessary for peaking capacity and system reliability past 2030
- To support the variable energy supply from wind and solar generators
- To support the large nuclear refurbishment until completion in the 2030s
- The IESO’s “Resource Adequacy” framework will require gas plants coming off contract to face competition from alternatives, providing opportunities for zero emissions alternatives to come forward in a rationally planned process
- Gas-fired generation will be needed to enable the expansion of Ontario’s already low-emissions electricity system to meet future climate change objectives
“OEA members strongly support the federal government’s objective to achieve a net zero economy by 2050,” said Vince Brescia, President & CEO of the Ontario Energy Association. “The OEA’s intention is to leverage our expertise to assist governments and agencies to find the optimal pathway to NZ2050 while ensuring that our customers maintain access to affordable and reliable energy. This report highlights that meeting net-zero emissions by 2050 is going to take researched and thoughtful planning. It demonstrates that our natural gas generation facilities have played a critical backup role, enabling Ontario to achieve one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world. That role will become even more important as Ontario looks to expand its electricity system to meet climate change objectives. Achieving net zero 2050 will require comprehensive, detailed and realistic analyses of the pathways, potential technologies and costs that will ensure our success. With careful, transparent and fully informed planning we can make prudent choices that ensure we meet climate goals, minimize disruption to people’s lives, and maintain an affordable and reliable energy supply for our customers,” added Mr. Brescia.
The Power Advisory report examining the role of gas-fired generators in Ontario’s electricity market can be found by visiting www.energyontario.ca.
About the Ontario Energy Association:
The Ontario Energy Association (OEA) is the credible and trusted voice of the energy sector. We earn our reputation by being an integral and influential part of energy policy development and decision making in Ontario. We represent Ontario’s energy leaders that span the full diversity of the energy industry. Learn more at www.energyontario.ca.