Risk of blackouts, higher bills if Ontario sets 2030 target to phase out natural gas, report says – by Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail – October 8, 2021)


Phasing out Ontario’s natural gas power plants by the end of this decade is not feasible and would lead to rolling blackouts and soaring electricity bills, the body in charge of planning and operating the province’s power system said Thursday in a report that gas opponents have criticized as too pessimistic.

In the report, which responds to demands from municipalities to phase out natural gas by 2030, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) estimates it would cost $27-billion to build alternative generating facilities and transmission lines, plus additional operating costs of $5.7-billion a year, causing a typical homeowner’s monthly bill to skyrocket by an average of $100, or 60 per cent.

Power shortfalls would lead to rotating outages during periods of high demand. And that, the report says, is a best-case scenario.

“The key message is that the 2030 timeline really just didn’t provide us with enough runway” to replace natural gas, said David Devereaux, the IESO’s senior manager of resource and plan assessments, during a technical briefing with reporters.

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