Ontario energy report calls for generation mix, but no to coal

13 December 2005

The recommendations call for an increase in the share of renewable sources, maintain the share of nuclear generation, and replace coal by increasing the share of gas-fired generation and renewable resources.

The report presents OPA recommendations to the Minister of Energy on options for the future development of Ontario’s electricity system in response to a May request for advice on the appropriate energy mix out to 2025.

The report predicts a province-wide capacity shortfall later this decade which grows rapidly over time. The shortfall stems primarily from Ontario’s shrinking supply as a result of a lack of investment over the past decade, with growth in demand as an important secondary factor.

“With supply already tight as a result of this under-investment, the sector faces the loss of a major part of its current supply mix as most units of its nuclear fleet reach the end of their design life over the next several years’” the report says, adding : “The loss of nuclear generation would come immediately on the heels of replacement of coal-fired stations, scheduled for completion by 2009. Together, the combination of demand growth and generation retirements would create a gap of roughly 24,000 MW by 2025, equivalent to about 80% of Ontario’s current capacity.”

The report calls for decisions to be made soon and to ensure a combination of resources and technologies and concludes that energy policy should maximise conservation, pursue an aggressive course for renewables, adopt a “smart gas” strategy that takes advantage of the benefits of natural gas-fired generation but limits exposure to its price and supply risks, and benefit from supply options that need long lead times, such as nuclear, large-scale wind generation, hydro imports and gasification.

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