Ontario’s plan to replace electricity generation when an aging nuclear plant closes in 2025 has critics saying the province didn’t get the memo on the growing dangers of climate change. Of six new contracts announced by the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) on Tuesday, four are for power to be generated by burning natural gas, while the other two — for wind and energy storage — account for less than 10 per cent of the 764 megawatts under contract.
Energy Minister Todd Smith defended the procurement, made in the wake of last year’s IESO warning that phasing out gas-fired power plants before 2030 would result in rotating blackouts and higher electricity bills because alternate supply and transmission lines could not be built in time.
“It’s been a competitive procurement that’s resulted in us recontracting existing generators at a 30 per cent savings to the ratepayers,” Smith told reporters after the legislature’s daily question period.
“We have to make sure that our system is reliable. We can’t experience brownouts that will discourage any investment in our province, which is why we need to ensure that any energy that we’re procuring is going to be there when we need it.”