Is Ontario entering a clean power renaissance? Why there’s still hope for a turnaround – by David Olive (Toronto Star – July 13, 2023)

Business opportunities — or the loss of them — are driving Doug Ford’s new energy strategy, David Olive writes.

In the space of just a few days, Ontario has unveiled a thoroughly holistic new approach to securing the province’s energy future. Last week, the Ford government committed to building as many as five additional reactors at Ontario’s Bruce Power nuclear facility.

That could expand Bruce Power’s electricity generating capacity by as much as 76 per cent, with the first new reactors coming onstream in the 2030s. Bruce Power, near Kincardine, about 240 kilometres northwest of Toronto on the shores of Lake Huron, is already one of the world’s biggest nuclear power plants.

The roughly 6,300 megawatts (MW) of power now generated by Bruce Power’s eight reactors provide about 30 per cent of Ontario’s total electricity consumption. Last week, Ontario also said it will quadruple the number of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) at the Darlington nuclear power plant near Clarington, to four from the existing single SMR at the site.

SMRs generate up to 300 MW of power, compared with conventional reactors that have generating capacity of 7,000 MW or more. SMRs are an unproven technology. The task at Darlington is to determine the practicality of SMRs in commercial-service deployment across the province and elsewhere. And to export that SMR technology if it proves itself.

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