Ontario is in the middle of a review of its 2010 Long-Term Energy Plan LTEP. Many observers have speculated that with slower than forecasted growth in energy demand in Ontario, building out the full capacity contemplated by the LTEP could result in higher than anticipated costs to ratepayers and an unacceptably large surplus of power generation capacity. New decisions on the future supply mix for Ontario may have to be contemplated.
To inform the LTEP review, the Power Workers' Union PWU and the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries OCI commissioned Strategic Policy Economics Inc. Strapolec to assess the economic and GHG emission impacts associated with two supply mix options. One scenario - Retained Wind − assumes that planned new wind generation goes forward while investments in nuclear power generation are curtailed.
Under this scenario, additional gas-fired generation is needed as a backstop to the intermittency of wind generation. The other scenario - Retained Nuclear − assumes that the planned refurbishment of existing nuclear reactors and the building of new reactors would proceed while the proposed development of new wind generation would not.
The study shows that retaining the nuclear generation capacity as planned in the 2010 LTEP while reducing contemplated wind generation would:
- Produce $56 billion in direct benefits to Ontario's economy through $27 billion in savings to ratepayers and $29 billion in direct investment in Ontario. This represents a $60 billion net incremental benefit to Ontario as compared to the Retain Wind scenario.
- Generate $9 billion in greater direct employment income benefits than the Retained Wind scenario including the creation of more than 100,000 full-time jobs in Ontario, many in the advanced manufacturing sector.
- Reduce greenhouse gas GHG emissions by more than 108 million tonnes, or 80 percent less, compared to the Retained Wind scenario.
"We commissioned this study to help ensure that Ontarians have as much information as possible to make these important decisions about our energy future," said PWU President Don MacKinnon. "The study confirms that focusing our investments in nuclear power generation will lead to lower electricity costs and greater investment in Ontario while delivering some $60 billion in greater direct benefit to Ontario's economy".
"This rigorous and fact-based comparative analysis shows independently that continued reliance on reliable and cost effective nuclear base load generation is a good decision for Ontario," added OCI President Dr. Ron Oberth. "Sticking with the planned investment in nuclear power generation will result in more than 100,000 additional quality jobs for people in Ontario while contributing substantially to our province's commitment to reducing GHG emissions as part of Canada's initiative to mitigate the risks of climate change".